Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fruits of Labor : summer tomato tart

Finally! the tomatoes are ready. The sun has been bright enough and hot enough to plump them up and they are delicious. I cant get enough. 
I have been eating them every which way, but this little tart is something special. Its quite easy, even with its made from scratch flaky crust. I love the presentation too - for a weeknight dinner, hot or cold, or so pretty for an occasion with friends. 
I like to mix and match varieties of tomatoes for texture, color and presentation. You can use any little molds you may have, just be sure to lightly grease the bottom & sides.  A larger tarte tin works well too. 
Bon Appetit!
For the Crust: 
      1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
      1/4 teaspoon sugar
      fine sea salt
     1/2 cup cold unsalted butter. cut into 1/2 inch dice 
    1/4 cup ice water 

***try to process & touch this dough as little as possible. that will keep it tender 

in a food processor (i use my hand blender attachment) combine the flour, sugar & 1/4 teaspoon salt. pulse to mix. 
add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. If you are using a food processor keep the dough in the machine and slowly drizzle in the ice water. If not, I dump the mixture out into a stainless bowl and very gently mix with my hand as I add the ice water. When the dough forms a loose ball turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to overnight. 
Remove dough from refrigerator about 20 mins before rolling it out. 

For the Filling:
5 oz of fresh goat cheese. crumbled 
2-3 medium heirloom tomatoes. ripe. or substitute in some cherry tomatoes. cut into 1/4 inch thick slices. 
1 teaspoon of fresh basil. cut into strips 
1 teaspoon lemon thyme 
1 tablespoon EVOO. 
salt & pepper 

Preheat oven to 425°
Lightly flour your work surface and begin to gently roll out your dough. Dough should be about 1/8 of an inch thick or about 11" round if using a tarte pan. Cut dough to fit and press gently into into greased molds. Trim any overhanging edges. Place dough lined molds on a baking sheet, cover with tinfoil and press lightly over the dough. You can use pie weights here if you wish. Bake about 10 minutes. Then remove foil and bake and additional 2 minutes or until crust is a light golden color. 
cool slightly. 

Reduce oven temperature to 400° 
Distribute goat cheese over the bottom of the crust and arrange tomato slices in a pretty fan shape. top with cherry tomatoes if using. Sprinkle basil, thyme, salt & pepper and a drizzle of EVOO over the top of each tart. 
Bake until tomatoes are slightly shriveled around the edges and the crust is golden. 30-40 minutes. 
transfer to a wire rack and cool. gently remove from pan and serve. 

I like to accompany mine with a lightly dressed frisee salad & soft boiled egg. 

*recipe adapted from Rustic Italian. domenica marchetti. 2011. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hallway Inspiration

A defined entry has an important place in design. It should be welcoming, give a little hint of whats to come beyond the door and above all functional. 

When you move into a new place the possibilities seem endless and quite tangible, but then the newness wears off and you find yourself going day by day with things as they are. I think it takes a while of living somewhere to realize what problems there are to be solved and how to go about solving them. So its been a year and I have finally figured out how to remedy the little narrow hallway that leads into the house. (go here to see the paint before & after)

First I needed to understand what function the space had to serve.... storage, a place for shoes to go on and off, a spot for keys, extra light to shine into a dark closet and it all had to be 15" wide or less. 

So a year later and I finally have a bit of inspiration for the space!

tray, decorative boxes, lamp, console, storage, stool, basket 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Friday, August 3, 2012


on a hike at a beautiful spot in bodega bay overlooking horseshoe cove. 
  this happened........... (thanks to my cute friend for the note) 

 Now I cant stop smiling from ear to ear. 

Just wanted to share :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

fruits of labor

A delightfully easy recipe for those late summer berries that are now in abundance. One of my favorite morning treats is this blackberry apricot skillet cake. You can substitute almost any fruit into the cake and its a lovely thing to bring for a brunch. Its rustic and hearty but still light and it looks beautiful in the heavy cast iron skillet. The trick to this is to preheat your cast iron pan, that way the batter develops a wonderful crust on the bottom. 
Here I have also sprinkled the top with a lavender sugar that I brought back from Sweden but any course grain sugar will do. 


Blackberry Apricot Skillet Cake 

1/2 cup butter at room temperature 
1 1/4 cups sugar 
2 tablespoons of lavender sugar to sprinkle on top (any sugar can be substituted here)
2 eggs lightly beaten 
1 tablespoon of baking powder 
dash of salt
1/2 cup of milk 
2 cups of flour 
1 cup of blackberries 
1 1/2 cups of apricots sliced thinly 

cream together the butter and sugar 
add in the egg
sift in the dry ingredients (being careful not to over mix) 
add the milk 
carefully fold in the fruit. 

preheat your oven to 375 and place your 12" skillet in the oven. Remove skillet just before you are ready to pour in the batter. Butter sides and bottom of pan and pour batter in, it should sizzle a bit. Sprinkle lavender sugar over the entire top. 

Return pan to oven and bake 20-30 minutes or until cooked through.