summer tomato tart + some exciting news!

This could turn out to be the most exciting summer of our lives. There have been so many changes around here that I don’t think our heads have stopped spinning. We have been through a whirlwind of travel and will continue to be dictated by the jet stream well into the beginning of fall. It has been such a glorious couple of months, most of which I hope to share with you sooner rather than later. For me, this time has been marked by a whole lot of soul searching and healthy doses of reality. I mentioned recently that I tend to jump right to the most extreme reaches of a situation and need to feel the pull of my tether (whom I warmly refer to as my husband). Thankfully, he keeps me grounded when the world is rushing around us.

There is actually one piece of news I would love to share with all of you, and since I tend to be a little impatient with all this good news rolling around in my head, at least this one can slip out, right? Well, come this September, I will be teaching cooking classes! This is something I am deeply looking forward to. They will be held in my home to begin with and will hopefully branch out to others homes, as well as new, inspiring venues. We will start by focusing on the basics of every day cooking and will eventually move on to more intensive subjects like tackling the always cumbersome Thanksgiving menu. My hope is that people who are not as confident as they would like to be in the kitchen will leave our home feeling well equipped in front of their own stove. Our first class will be Monday, September 10th at 6:30pm. We will be learning how to season food. Although that sounds simple, it is quite possibly your most powerful tool in the kitchen. I am always amazed by what a little salt can do.

If you are interested in taking a class, please contact me at and I will put you on the list to receive a calendar when one becomes available. Our first few classes will have limited space, so sign up soon if you’re interested. We are going to have a great time!

Now, on to this summer tomato tart. Normally, I try to avoid turning my oven on during the warm summer months. I do my best to plan meals around dishes that don’t need much cooking, or can be cooked outdoors on the grill. Our apartment has no air conditioning and it’s on the top floor. Just by putting two and two together you can imagine that equals a toasty home on really warm days. Adding the heat of a 400 degree oven usually doesn’t make it into that equation. However, I had some tart dough that was defrosted in the fridge that needed a filling, and well, there were these amazing little tomatoes at the market and raw tart dough is quite unpleasant to eat even with amazing tomatoes, so on went the oven…

This little tart comes together in no time flat as long as you have chilled tart dough ready to go. A purchased pie crust will work beautifully here as well if you don’t have any dough lingering in your fridge. If you plan ahead though, you might want to try making the crust at home. The recipe makes enough for two of these tarts, so freeze one and the next tomato tart you make will come together rather quickly.



August 1, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . baking, quick and easy, summer, vegetarian, Whole Wheat. 18 comments.

tomato and corn salad followed by ridiculously good strawberry shortcake.

strawberry shortcake

Fathers Day is synonymous with grilling. I tried for days to come up with a menu that didn’t include the grill, but really that would just go against all things man, or Dad as it were. I don’t mind grilling, in fact it’s a wonderful way to cut calories, and get incredible taste out of so many things. I just love to do new things, but when you’re cooking to honor someone else, it’s good to make something you know they’ll like. So, I decided on hamburgers (always a hit) with a tomato and corn salad, some smashed potatoes, and to top it all off, fresh strawberry shortcake. It all turned out to be fantastic, especially the dessert, which is of course, the most important part.


The burgers were pretty normal as far as burgers go. Some sirloin, some chuck, a little garlic along with a few splashes of Worcestershire. I can’t actually tell you if they were good, because I made myself a little turkey burger (I don’t  really eat red meat if I can help it),  but everyone seemed to like ’em. The shining stars of the evening were undoubtedly the so-good-you-have-to-take-a-doggy-bag strawberry shortcake and the succulent tomato and corn salad.

tomato and corn salad

This tomato and corn salad is extremely easy and can be tweaked in so many ways. I think I’ll add some feta next time, because as you’ll learn, it’s basically my favorite thing on earth.

P.S. This being kind of a special day, I really didn’t take inventory of the calories for any given dish. I did lighten my meal by using a whole wheat bun, and having turkey instead of beef. The tomato and corn salad is something that is definitely on the lower side of caloric consideration. The strawberry shortcakes however, can be as bad as they want because something that good can just be that way, and we’ll let it.

Tomato and Corn Salad

serves 6


3 ears corn

3 pints cherry tomatoes

1 bunch chives, finely chopped

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for brushing

juice of half a lemon

salt and pepper to taste


1. Pre-heat the grill to high heat.

2. Shuck the corn and remove all of the hair like things (real name anyone?).

3. Brush the corn with a bit of olive oil.

4. Place corn on the grill, turning occasionally to avoid burning, roughly about 8-10 minutes.

5. While the corn is cooking to perfection, cut all of the tomatoes in half, crosswise. Place into medium size bowl.

6. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the corn. Mix to incorporate.

7. Once the corn is done, let it cool a bit. Then with a knife, remove the kernels by slicing down the cob. Try not to slice too deep or you’ll get the tough stuff underneath.

8. Mix well.

This salad can be made up to an hour or two ahead of time. Letting it rest a bit helps all of the juices to blend well.

Strawberry Shortcakes

Parade, May 2008


serves 6



  • 4 pints strawberries, lightly rinsed, hulled and halved*
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar**
  • 2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 shortcakes (see recipe below), for serving
  • 6 whole strawberries, for garnish


  • 2 cups self-rising flour***
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoon heavy (whipping) cream


For the shortcakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a baking sheet.

2. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl.

3. Add the butter. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, rub it into the dry ingredients until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in the milk until a very soft dough is formed. Do not overwork.

4. Drop the dough in 6 equal portions onto the prepared baking sheet. Lightly pat the dough into rounds—3 to 3 1/2 inches in diameter—and lightly brush the tops with the cream.

5. Bake the shortcakes in the center of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

For the Strawberries:
1. Place strawberries in a bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice and sugar, then gently toss with a rubber spatula. Let rest for 1 1/2 to 2 hours for juices to develop.

2. Just before serving, whip cream with 1 Tbsp sugar until it holds soft peaks.

3. To serve, slice off the top third of each shortcake. Place the bottoms on 6 dessert plates and top with 1/3 cup of the prepared berries and juice, plus a spoonful of whipped cream. Cover with the top. Spoon over more berries and juice, then dollop with whipped cream. Garnish each with a whole berry and drizzle with any remaining juice.

*This seems like a lot of strawberries, but I promise you’ll want at least this much. You may even want to make extra so that you can have some on your cereal, or on oatmeal, or on ice cream. Oh the possibilities are endless.

**I definitely like my whip cream a little sweeter than this. I used about 2 1/2 tablespoons of sugar and also added a splash of vanilla. To me, without those things, it just tastes like fluffy milk, which is less sweet than what I was going for.

***I could not find self-rising flour, so my husband, being the extremely resourceful one that he is, figured out that all that means is they have already added baking powder and salt for you. So, we just added our own to the mix. For this recipe I used 3 teaspoons of baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt in addition to the salt that the recipe already called for.

June 22, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , . dessert, quick and easy, salads, sides, vegetarian. 6 comments.