Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Summer's Last Hurrah

Goat Cheese & Tomato Tart
Next summer, when we have more tomatoes than we'll know what to do with*... I'll know exactly what to do with them. I will make this tart. I will make this tart over and over and over, all summer long... and we will never tire of it. It's that good. There is so much going on in this tart I can't even begin to describe it. So I won't. I'll just let the ingredients speak for themselves: some homegrown tomatoes, fresh herbs, a smear of homemade mustard, a drizzle of olive oil, tangy goat cheese, a touch of honey... all caramelized, concentrated, cozy and warm, and in the loving arms of a crisp pastry shell.

I rolled the pastry dough out quite thin so I could make two tarts and use up all the tomatoes we had picked. We'll still get more tomatoes over the next few weeks, but not in this quantity. This was summer's last hurrah. Here, baked together in a tart shell, were our Sungold, Early Girl, Juliette, and Sun Kiss, snuggled up cheek-to-cheek.*

We ate tomato tart with dinner last night, for breakfast this morning, and the rest was polished off with tonight's meal. Our restraint was considerable. Hubs wouldn't stop raving about it and told me it was "one of the most fantastic concoctions" I've ever made. Seriously, those were his words. I had to agree, but as I was simply the executor, and not the creator, I hereby officially and publicly want to say "Thank you David Lebovitz for posting this amazing recipe. Each bite tastes of everything that is good and glorious about summer"...
My Notes: Made the pastry dough in the food processor. Rolled it out right away and pressed into tart pans, then refrigerated them while I sliced the tomatoes. I layered the tomato slices on paper towels while I sliced the 11 oz. goat cheese log (with dental floss). Sprinkled fresh thyme, basil and rosemary. Lavender might be interesting too, will try that next summer. Drizzled the optional honey over just one of the tarts. After tasting both, we couldn't decide which way we liked better.

But First, The Mustard 
The tomato tart has a layer of mustard in the bottom of the tart shell (brilliant), but I had just used the last of that wonderfully zippy Guinness Mustard in the marinade for the chicken we were going to grill. We've enjoyed that mustard a lot, but I had hoped to try a different recipe out this time. Most of the ones I'd bookmarked required a resting time of 8-24 hours, but due to poor planning on my part, I needed the mustard now. Only one of the recipes I had would work...
My Notes: I followed the directions, except for being able to grind up the mustard seed. I don't have a spice grinder (yet) and so Hubs and I took turns on the doll-sized mortar and pestle that I have. It's terribly cute, but I can't imagine that it was ever meant to be functional. Still we tried. Even after blending an extra couple of minutes, the mustard was still quite thin. It would probably set up more as it cooled, but I was impatient and nuked it for another minute, then blended it some more. I let it cool completely, then lidded it and stuck it in the fridge. It has thickened up considerably and I'm very happy with it. The flavor is really great: not too hot, more like a traditional yellow mustard... but way better. Will happily make it again (after I get a spice grinder).

* Positive thinking in it's purest form.
** For the record, this is what we purchased, planted and watered: 2 Sun Gold (cherry), 1 Early Girl (beefsteak), 1 Roma (paste), 1 Sweet-100 (cherry). Surprise, surprise! The Roma grew up to be a petite Juliette ("baby Roma") grape tomato, and the Sweet-100 transformed into a big beautiful orange-hued Sun Kiss (beef steak). It was like magic... or bad labeling. Maybe next year we'll start our tomatoes from seed.
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  1. Oooh, I love Alton's recipes. I shall check out what he has to say about mustard.

  2. Kristin: I haven't made a lot of Alton Brown's recipes before... any favorites?

    His mustard has quite the list of ingredients, but that's what gives it such great flavor. It's funny how I was never that into mustard until I started making it myself!


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