This is what we do…We cook

I’m very reticent to call myself a food blogger, but I do sometimes keep a blog and I mostly blog about what I’ve cooked or baked, so I suppose in some slackery universe I am a food blogger.

Today I checked in on a blog (here) I read regularly of someone who is a real world food blogger and I discovered she had suddenly lost her husband.  Her beautiful words to us in this worst of all times, was encouraging us to make a peanut butter pie (her husband’s favorite) and share it with those we love.

Life is fleeting, it flies by before we know it.  So often we put off the things we most love and cherish for another day.  I think “I’ll paint tomorrow, or I’ll see him next week”, I’m too busy with work and school, there isn’t time for the extras.  The possibilities are always there unraveling into the future like an intangible savings bond that we hope to cash one day.

Only sometimes that day doesn’t come.  You delay and delay so often that fate, or God or the universe intervenes and it is gone- forever out of grasp.

Time is precious, and so often we squander it caught up in the minutia of daily life. I know that’s “living life”, but I think we should do a better job of jam-packing our lives with what’s vital, cherishing the people we love and enjoying the things that fill us with joy.  Maybe that means a missed deadline or a messy kitchen, but I somehow doubt we’ll regret filling our lives with substance.

And so while I can’t comfort Jenny personally I can do what I love and share it with people who are important to me, like she asked.  And as I see my twitter feed fill up other food bloggers, cooks and just plain good folks are baking pies today, I see I’m not alone.  You see we can’t always fix everything, sometimes we can’t fix anything , but we can cook.

It’s what we do.

I made mini peanut butter pies, more love to spread around.

Free-Form Tomato Tart

So I was inspired by this.  Usually I don’t like tomato tarts, either they’re too soupy or dry or made with puff pastry which I don’t love from the freezer section and can’t make myself.  I had some beautiful tomatoes from the farmer’s market and saw David’s recipe and thought I’d give it my own spin.

I did use the crust he has there and it was very easy to work with (mine was a bit damp with our humidity, but it ended up fine).  I also felt mine needed a chill in the freezer after it came together or it would have been too soft.  Also, I added some cracked black pepper to the crust, but really there’s no reason you couldn’t do readymade for the crust, but I’m just a freak, gotta make my own.

One other bit of prep I did before I assembled.  I sliced the tomatoes and put them on some paper towels and gently pressed, changing the towels once or twice.  Nothing’s worse than a soggy crust, and while it didn’t completely get eliminate the sog, it was good enough for me.  I left them on towels for about  half hour while the dough chilled off.

I rolled out the dough and spread some Dijon on the bottom in a thin layer.  I had a bit of dry ricotta I got from Prairie Fruits Farm, but I’d skip this or use some other dry-ish cheese.  Regular ricotta is too wet and then again we are dealing with soggy crust.  I arranged the sliced tomatoes in a pretty pattern and topped with some minced garlic, salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. I also sprinkled some fresh chèvre again from Prairie Fruits on top with some torn up basil.

I folded the crust up along the edges to make a little free form tart or galette.

My crust was pretty thin and I think I baked it at 425 for 25-28 minutes.  I’d check on it, you want it golden brown and feeling pie crusty on the sides and the tomatoes baked and soft inside.

It was pretty darn good, tasted summery.

By the way David Leibovitz has both awesome recipes and great food bloggy information, and he lives in Paris so you hear the inside track from a smart, funny ex-pat.