Food blogging is one of those things which starts off fairly rationally ('oh, I'll just take a quick picture and copy/paste this recipe up for future reference') and ends up taking over your life and sanity ('NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO EAT UNTIL I'VE PHOTO'D THIS, AND I DON'T CARE HOW COLD IT IS. AND NO, YOU CAN DAMN WELL HAVE THE CHIPPED PLATE, I NEED THE WHITE ONE. NOW SHUT THE HELL UP WHILE I TRY TO THINK OF SOMETHING WITTY TO SAY'). It's maybe not the best hobby to take up if you want to make friends, although you'd be amazed at what eccentricities people will forgive when a tray of brownies is in it for them.
There are a few things which are incredibly frustrating to a blogger. One is a great recipe which photographs appallingly, especially if it involves seasonal produce. You know you're going to have to make it again, and then you can't get the fruit or whatever it is you need, and it's going to be another year before it's back in season - ugh. (I have a stunning rhubarb & orange cake sitting on my hard-drive - not literally; the crumbs would get on my keyboard - which embodies this very problem)
The other problem is similar, but less common. When you make something, and you photo it - and then you take it to a party and can't get pictures of the inside (oh cake, how you taunt me) before it's inhaled.
OR, when you make a kickass tomato and mozzarella tart in that tiny interval of time before the summer's tomatoes vanish forever, with a glut of tiny, perfect red-and-orange tomatoes donated by your charming and lovely friend Alex and her greenfingered father (who apparently has had great success with tomatoes and courgettes this season), and it's pretty much the cutest, most photogenic thing you've ever seen in your life. And then you go out for the night, and when you come back the next morning you find that the ENTIRE 10" TART has been ENGULFED by the THREE members of your family, IN ONE NIGHT.
Not that this has ever happened to me -- OH, WAIT.
But when am I ever going to see such adorable tomatoes again; in 2009, at least? I had to post it anyway. Because let's face it, I may not have personal feedback here - but the rate at which this tart vanished is, in itself, a pretty good review.
Don't miss me too much: I'm spending the next week in a tent in Scotland (in September. Yes, I know. Wettest holiday ever), so won't be around until next Sunday. Assuming your comments give me the will to survive the drowning hazard this camping trip entails (hinting, much?) I will be back soon with the sugar high you've been waiting for. Three clues for you: Chocolate. Peanut butter. Cake.
Okay, so they weren't so much 'clues' as the recipe title. Don't wait up!
Tomato & Mozzarella Tart with Basil-Garlic Crust
Adapted from Jack Bishop’s “The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook”
I know tomatoes are almost gone, but Alex had so many that I told myself it was okay to post this now - surely she can't be the only one with three giant ice cream tubs full of tomatoes at his time of year? Besides, that should just spur you all to hurry all the more to try this. If you're a Caprese salad fan, this is a much more fun and interesting way to get the same flavours; not to mention that the basil-garlic tart dough is charmingly green-hued before baking. Easily amused, moi?
1 recipe Basil-Garlic Tart Dough (recipe follows)
250g (8 oz) sliced mozzarella
500g (1 pound) ripe tomatoes - if fullsized, core and cut crosswise into thin slices. I used teeny ones, cut into halves.
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1. Prepare the dough, and press it into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
2. Preheat the oven to 190C. Line the bottom of the tart shell with mozzarella. Arrange the tomatoes over the cheese in a ring around the edge of the tart and a second ring in the center. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.
3. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has started to brown in spots, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a rack for at least 5 minutes before slicing. (The tart may be covered and kept at room temperature for 6 hours.)
Basil-Garlic Tart Dough
hanful (1/3 cup) fresh basil leaves
1 medium garlic clove
180g (1 1/4 cups) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 8 to 10 pieces
4-5 tablespoons ice water
1. Place the basil and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor. Process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until finely chopped. Add flour and salt; pulse to combine.
2. Add butter. Pulse about 10 times, or until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs.
3. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing several times after each addition. After 4 tablespoons water have been added, process the dough for several seconds to see if the mixture forms a ball. If not, add remaining water. Process until dough forms into a ball. Remove dough from processor.
4. Flatten the dough into a 5-inch disk. Wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The dough can be placed in a zipper-lock plastic bag and refrigerated for several days or frozen for 1 month. If frozen, defrost the dough in the refrigerator.)
5. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Lay the dough over the tart pan, and press it into the pan. Trim the dough, and proceed with the recipe as directed.