Why, hello there! I know that I have been a bit absent as of late. Oh gosh, it is Summeritis and I have it bad. Plus, I also took an extra day or two off to celebrate the fact that I made it another year and can now wear the ripe ol' age (or young, depending on how you look at it) of 46 on my shoulder. Yes, I had a lovely day because I know that you will ask. And I am sending out a sincere thank you as well to those of you that sent me such kind and thoughtful wishes via the internet(s).
But what was that I was saying about ripe? Because if you are talking about tomatoes we have a whole lot of that around here. As in oodles...
...of different sizes shapes and textures.
Now. I tried to tell Remi that planting 22 pieds for just the two of us was a bit ridiculous but of course he just looked at me and nodded, then planted them anyway!
But amazingly, we haven't yet reached the "take my tomatoes please" level of overload where we are handing them out to all and sundry (save for certain of our neighbors ;) despite the numbers that have been rolling in steadily.
And the reason behind that is simply because we love eating them so much! Breakfast, lunch and dinner, it's all good.
Exhibit A: I think that we have well established that while a foodie, I am even more of a Food-E. If you don't know what I am talking about well then click: http://lostinarles.blogspot.fr/2013/10/food-e.html. I love that post if I may say so myself. What I am not so proud to admit, is that laziness can slide into obsessiveness mighty quickly. If something is delicious and of the smack your forehead "why didn't I think of that before variety" I won't be able to stop making it. Case in point? See above. You are looking grilled baguette topped with whipped feta (feta, cream cheese, maybe a splash of crème fraiche, a pinch of garlic powder and herbs de Provence), those 'matoes and a pinch of salt. Try and you will be addicted too. I'm sorry/not sorry.
Looking for something more old-school? How about this uber (no, not Uber) traditional Provençal tart? I had forgotten about its existence until the lovely Madame L in the village told me that she was serving it for a luncheon. Well, if it is elegant enough for her...you know the rest. Let's get started shall we? As I have said before, I buy ready-made pastry crust because a) I live in France and b) as we have already established, I am lazy. I like this best with a pâte brisèe or short pastry crust. Butter up your dish (yes, butter) roll out your dough and pre-bake for a few minutes at 200°C or 400°F. Remove and nap a goodly layer of Dijon mustard. I use Maille Fin Gourmets because it is fabulous and has a bit of whole grains in it which helps give the tart bite (or you could just make up your own combo of regular/whole grain Dijon but I am sorry kids, that bright yellow stuff just won't cut it here). Then shred a fair amount of emmenthal over the mustard, keeping in mind that this is a tart and not a pizza, which can be very hard for me to do. Then top with the star of the show, your hopefully ready to burst sunshine on a plate tomatoes, add a bit of black olives and maybe a crushed garlic clove in the center - top with some herbs de Provence and cook until the tomatoes get a touch brown which doesn't take long, say twenty minutes or so.
Is the above description too rambly for you? Would you like to make your own crust based on a Dorie Greenspan recipe? Then by all means please go visit my friend, the lovely Ann Mah, who recently did her own take on this exact same recipe which makes me look like a copy-cat plus as a bonus on the there is an excellent recipe for "Ratatouillaise" on the home page by our mutual friend, the gorgeous Kristin Espinasse!
Now, I hope you will forgive me if that sounds a little name-droppy. Come on, you know I am not like that! Geez. Ok, just for today because it is going to continue: next up, on the "how to use up crates of tomatoes" menu is an obvious one, tomato sauce! And I first realized the difference in roasting my tomatoes after making this super easy soup from the truly gorgeous and very funny Sharon Santoni. It rolls out kinda like this: Cover a roasting pan in two tablespoons or cuilière à soupe of olive oil. Sprinkle on top of the oil, a generous shake of herbs de Provence, coarse sea salt, a bit of sugar (half of a teaspoon) and four or so crushed and chopped garlic cloves. Warm up the oven to 200°C or 400°F (I honestly seem to cook everything at this temperature, do you?). Core and cut in two your tomatoes. Place them cut side down and roast them until the skin starts to peel away, say forty minutes. Let them cool and remove the skins (as I am impatient, I never wait long enough and so burn my fingertips). Put the tomatoes in a food processor with a steel blade and pulse, throw the garlic in and add the juicy olive oil in by batch to get it to the right consistency and voila. It really is that easy and is of course, better the next day. If I can actually stop eating all of the tomatoes in sight, I hope to freeze this as winter is right around the corner, my friends! (Please oh please oh please let this heatwave end.)
So, that just leaves gazpacho, right? Right. But. You see I gave my "recipe" - that is as equally long-winded and vague as the others here - to my divinely beautiful friend Ellie (last name drop ever, I swear!) at Have Some Decorum for her scheduled post on the subject but she up and decided to write a very moving tribute for her daughter's 20th birthday instead. The nerve! So I will just have to update the link when she posts. * Because I am pretty proud of my gazpacho. And apparently, Remi is pretty proud of his. You see, in our house I make all of the soups, pizzas, pastas, hummus/spreads, apéro tastiness and Remi cooks....everything else. It isn't so confusing that, is it? And yet, Mr. "Anything you can do I can do Better" has decided to step in on my gazpacho game, upping the ante. Then of course, I have to do the same in riposte. Welcome to the Gazpacho Wars.
Well, it may not be pretty but I will admit one thing, it is a mighty great way of using up the ultimate cure of Summeritis: tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes.
*Done! You can find it and some truly phenomenal other gazapachos (cucumber wasabi anyone?) by clicking Here.
And speaking of udpates...I know that a lot of you were interested in my friend Anthony's incredibly charming house that was for sale? Well, as I am superstitious I wanted to wait until it was a done deal but I am happy to say that it has been sold. Remi and I visited to say, "au revoir" to it the other day and it wasn't without sadness for I really do adore that house. But I can't wait to share with you his newest project, hopefully next month. But's lets just say as a teaser that onwards and upwards most certainly applies...
And since you have been kind enough to come back for this update (a new post tomorrow!), I wanted to thank you by sharing one of the great all time classics, played on repeat at our house during warm summer evenings or anytime of year:
I had a lot of fun putting this post together for you.
As always, thank you SO much for being here and for the insightful comments on my previous post.