For once in my life, I have a gazillion (and one) delicious recipes that are spectacular and ready to be shared with the world. And even a bunch of lovely photos to accompany them. I’ve been cooking up a storm with all the farm veggies because before long these veggies will be gone and how sad will I be if I let any go to waste?! (The answer = very, very sad). No, creativity has not been my issue lately. I’ve making variations on this and variations on that and so many batches of cookies (because fall means the end of bathing suit season and it’s okay to eat a million cookies, right?). My kitchen has been a very fun place lately.
But the time, you guys. Where does the time go?! It’s late September! The farm is ready to be deconstructed. It’s almost time to plant garlic?! How did we get here so quickly?! Wasn’t it just my hubby’s surprise 30th birthday party like yesterday!?
Oh, that’s right. My Carrot and I have been dreaming endlessly, day after day. Dreaming of home building and our first anniversary and growing mushrooms and being good farmers and committing to take not one, but possibly three winter vacations because hard-working farmers really need to rest and reset in the winter. Dreaming takes a lot of time and a lot of energy you guys. And strangely enough, in our case, also a lot of planning. Because apparently I won’t allow any of our dreams to not come true. Which is certainly not a bad thing! But is so very busy.
As the season continues to wind down and all my dreaming continues to ramp up, there will be much more to come on all of these mega life plans as they evolve.
But for now, as promised, some beautiful photos taken by my friend and co-worker Stacy from a dinner out at the farm a couple weeks ago. Again can we talk about how lucky I am that my parents loan out not only their land for our vegetable operation but also their kitchen and gigantic back patio for me to play hostess and cook up field goodness!
These Cornmeal Tomato Tarts (or pies or galettes, call them what you will) were the second course of this over-the-top 5-course meal and maybe my favorite of all the courses? I don’t know, I can’t chose between my children! I get inspiration from this recipe from one of my new favorite blogs, experimented with all kinds of heirloom tomatoes (green zebra, speckled roman & black krim were the clear winners) and yummy Wisconsin cheeses, and in the end decided that adding my bacon onion jam was just the amount of indulgence that this late summer meal needed.
I don’t say it often but what was created was utter perfection. My harsh food critic mother (she’s been cooking for over 30 years and does not dish out compliments lightly) said these things should win an award when I brought her one to sample. So there’s that.
Enjoy this weekend project! And happy dreaming everyone!
CORNMEAL TOMATO TART
Takes 1 hour, 30 minutes
1 cup shredded Fontina cheese (swiss or gruyere are comparable)
1 pound tomatoes, preferably heirlooms, cut into 1/4-inch round slices
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream (or whole milk)
1/4 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, cut into small cubes and put in the freezer until ready to use
1/4 cup ice-cold water
Bacon Onion Jam:
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 pieces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large red onion (or 2 medium), thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons water, as needed
Make the crust. Is everyone making pie dough in a food processor yet?! Because you should try it so you understand how easy pie crust can be. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in the food processor. Pulse once or twice to combine. Add butter. Pulse 10-12 times, until most butter is the size of a pea. Inconsistently-sized chunks of butter is what makes butter flaky. Don’t worry about the clumps! Add water slowly while the food processor is running. Continue running until dough comes together. Add another 1-2 tablespoons of water if it doesn’t come together within a minute of adding the first 1/4 cup. Remove dough from food processor and wrap in plastic. Chill in the freezer until ready to use. (If making 1-12 hours ahead of time, chill in the fridge).
Begin onion jam. Heat a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, allow to warm and add bacon. Cook for 5 minutes until it has begun to render it’s fat, but has not browned. Add sliced onions, salt and a good amount of pepper. Cook for 15 minutes until onions have released their liquid and begun to soften. You will need to watch them and stir at least every couple minutes. Add balsamic, honey and brown sugar. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for 15 minutes, again, stirring every couple minutes. Add water if mixture gets too thick or too dry.
Prepare tart. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove pie dough from freezer or fridge. (I cut into four pieces and made four personal-sized tarts, I’m sure this is more trouble than it’s worth). Roll out on a well-floured surface. It helps if you flour the top of the dough as well as the counter. Try and keep the shape generally round, but it doesn’t matter too much. Transfer to a baking sheet. (I do this by folding it in half and then in half again and then unfolding it on the baking sheet).
Spread bacon onion jam all over the dough, leaving an 1-1/2 inch border. Top bacon jam with Fontina cheese. Arrange sliced tomatoes over the top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold border of crust inward over the filling, pleating as you go.
Stir together egg yolk and cream (or milk). Brush crust with this mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan. Bake for 40-50 minutes until crust is golden brown.