Away for a week in gorgeous Watercolor Florida this summer, we rented a large beach house with colorful decor and cottage-like charm that I had been hoping would be well-equipped for a cook and baker. Though it had the major appliances I wanted, like a toaster and a blender and a microwave/range, it lacked a few things. Let’s just say I ended up rolling puff pastry with a plastic jug. Ugh!
Before leaving for our the road trip, I had clipped a few recipes from my recipe binder and grabbed my latest issue of Saveur magazine and Martha Stewart (yes I still subscribe to the latter, but rarely use the seemingly improperly tested recipes). I planned the meals for the week, and then some, a few nights before our departure. I wasn’t planning on making Indian food on our trip since I plenty it at home, and besides, I needed fairly quick meals for the hungry evenings after beach fun, not a 4 course Indian thali-style meal. As some of you may know by now, I still like to have several dishes together when dining on Indian cuisine, much like my classes are modeled.
I planned on utilizing the most of summer produce. But I didn’t know what kind of markets we would find near the resort. Luckily, the grocery store which was biking distance (as was everything else) and was well-stocked in produce and pantry goods, but there was not a farmer’s market in sight. I don’t often get a chance to go to the farmer’s markets in Austin, but I have been wanting to make that a goal of mine: to purchase more from the markets and cook Indian food locavore-style.
Here are a few meals we prepared during the week, most of which the kids immensely enjoyed as well. After all, their calorie expenditure swimming all day in the sun significantly outweighed any pickiness and particularities about food. Hardly any produce was wasted since I was able to find other uses later in the week, mostly in salads and breakfast egg dishes. We did waste some of the frozen stuff, like one sheet of puff pastry, some ice cream, and almost a half-gallon of milk. I also had 6 eggs left on the last day and I wanted to make coffee cake, but didn’t have enough butter. So the eggs got boiled. Overall, we made 4 trips to the store and spent almost $400 on groceries. But saved a lot of money by not eating at the resort. Besides, I love to cook and I despise “kids’ menus”, where everything is the same at every restaurant: chicken nuggets, grilled cheese, and quesadillas.
- Tomatos-on-the-Vine Tomato Basil Tart (from Whole Foods Culinary Center and Cook’s Illustrated)
- Navy Bean Salad with Cucumber and Zucchini Coins and Baguette Croutons
- Black Bean, Avocado, and Corn Salad with a Lime-Cilantro Dressing, recommended by Rabbit Food Rocks
- Boiled Egg and Watercress Sandwiches (from the latest Martha Stewart magazine)
- Garlic Shrimp with Garlicky Crostinis, (learned from my friends Lisa and Kush) and Chickpea Spinach Salad
- Sausage and Tri-colored Peppers and Pasta (adapted from the Silver Palate cookbook)
- Blueberry Cobbler (adapted from Epicurious)
- Migas and Bacon Tacos
- Veggie Dogs and Chili
- Black Bean Nachos
- Our friends the Vyas’s, owners of Doc Bollywood, who visited brought Weelicious’s Beet Cupcakes with Beet Frosting
- Scrambled Eggs with Chives and Avocado
- Granola and Fruit Parfaits
- and a multitude of snacks and fruits like juicy melons, soft velvety peaches, strawberries, celery sticks and baby carrots with peanut butter, apple slices, and…some junk food, since my husband would plead for the kids: “We’re on VACATION!” ….and I do occasionally like a few handfuls of (gasp) Cheetos!
Heirloom Tomato Tart
Thawing the frozen puff pastry in the refrigerator overnight will help prevent cracking while unfolding it. If you prefer to do some advanced preparation, the tart shell can be pre-baked through step 1, cooled to room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap, and kept at room temperature for up to two days before being topped and baked with the mozzarella and tomatoes.
Unbleached all-purpose flour for work surface Kosher salt
1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted in refrigerator overnight 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg, beaten 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese Freshly ground black pepper
4 heirloom plum tomatoes, cored and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch slices 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dust work surface with flour and unfold puff pastry onto work surface. Roll out the puff pastry to a 12×15 inch rectangle. From it, cut one 9×15 inch rectangle and three 1×15 inch strips (cutting one of those strips into two 1 x 7 inch strips). Place the rectangle on the prepared baking sheet and prick all over with a fork. Brush all the pastry strips with the egg wash and sprinkle Parmesan evenly over shell. Bake 13-15 minutes, then reduce oven to 350 degrees; continue to bake until golden brown adn crisp, 13-15 minutes longer. Transfer to wire rack; increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.
While shell bakes, place tomato slices in single layer on double layer paper towels and sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand 30 minutes. Place second double layer paper towels on top of tomatoes and press firmly to dry tomatoes. Combine garlic, olive oil, and pinch each of salt and pepper in small bowl; set aside.
Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over warm (or cool, if made ahead) baked shell. Shingle tomato slices widthwise on top of cheese (about 4 slices per row); brush tomatoes with garlic oil. Bake until shell is deep golden brown and cheese is melted, 15-17 minutes. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes, sprinkle with basil, slide onto cutting board or serving platter, cut into pieces, and serve.
Blog Links for other Savory Summer Tarts:
Heirloom Tomato Tart in a Parmesan Crust: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/000283.html
Savory Summer Pie: http://kellishouse.blogspot.com/2006/05/savory-summer-pie.html
Cherry Tomato, feta cheese and Summer Savory Tart: http://www.libertylondongirl.com/2010/10/03/recipe-cherry-tomato-feta-cheese-summer-savory-tart/
Savory Tomato, Roasted Garlic, and Mozzarella Tart: http://www.dishinanddishes.com/2009/06/19/2247/