Terrible Twos and Tomato Tarts

It's tomato season. Does anyone else have a tomato garden? Mine is positively overwhelmed with tomatoes and so I have been digging deeper than ever into my tomato recipe thinking place to come up with ways to use them. Tomato sauce is a great way to use tomatoes, and I've also been eating them sliced with lots and lots of salt.

Last week, though, I wanted to try something a little different, and since we had a family party, I came up with this tart. This tart was not only delicious, but it was the bright spot in my day that day. You see, my daughter has entered what I think can be officially dubbed "the terrible twos." She's so dang stubborn. She cannot be moved, compelled, or willed into anything.

And the day I made this tart, it was "one of those days." Boy, I felt like I was losing at the parenting game big-time. I had to give up on my night weaning efforts, I couldn't get her to brush her teeth, and for a number of days now, she's been running around with hair that--even when brushed--cannot be tamed. She absolutely refuses to let me put it in cute braids anymore. My poor heart... but two year olds, they are kind of like tomato tarts.

First you think you have a tomato problem, and then next thing you know, you've got this beautiful tart. Thank goodness for this tart. It came out right. It was wonderful. And dammit, this two year phase will pass and my child will puff up like pastry and come out right too...I just have to find a way to turn her tomatoes into a tart.

So if you have a two year old, a bunch of tomatoes and a need for something pretty, this recipe is for you (and everyone else too). I hope you like it!

Billie's Tomato Tart 

Time: 30 Minutes | Makes 1 Tart | Difficulty: Easy 

You will need

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed for 30 minutes 
2 tablespoons mayonnaise 
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
fresh basil, several leaves, chopped
small egg, beaten 
balsamic glaze to finish 

Method:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

On a greased cookie sheet lay out your puff pastry.

In a small bowl combine the garlic and mayonnaise. Spread the mixture over your puff pastry, leaving a nice edge for folding over.

Top with the sliced tomatoes and fresh basil.

Fold the sides over to make a bit of a "pocket" (see picture.)

Brush the puff pastry with the beaten egg.

Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry if puffed and golden.

Finish by drizzling the balsamic glaze.

Enjoy with a glass of wine and possibly your two year old.

The Shared Cooking Experience {Cooking with Fire}

So it's been FOREVER since I've posted, which is mostly because I have been very busy. You may be happy to know that one of the things I have been busy is actually cooking. I have been learning new techniques, once of which is cooking over the fire. I have also been cooking new recipes, which I am excited to share with you guys.

One of the things I have found since my daughter was born is that recipe development takes longer. And that time is so precious! I find myself wanting to be around the people I love more, and to that end, I have been cooking with people more.

Recently, I've been cooking with my friend Jenn, who is also Ruby's godmother, and her fiancé, Andy. We've been busting out some truly amazing meals together, and having a fabulous time doing it. It all started when Jenn and I wanted to tackle some ravioli together several months ago.

I love making ravioli, but it's so much better when you do it with a friend and make a ton of ravioli that you can freeze and enjoy for the next several weeks. (Check out my ravioli recipes here and here). So there we were: my best friend, my daughter and I, and we were facing down a pile of flour that would become our ravioli.


The ravioli that began it all. 


The experience of rolling out what seemed like a million little raviolis was a lot of fun, if not labor intensive. As it usually happens with my best friend and cooking, our little ravioli adventure sparked something larger. It was around the table later that evening, eating our ravioli with her fiancé and my husband, we concocted a plan to cook over the fire a couple of days later.

Over the spring, we cooked over the fire together several times, and now that we are into summer, our fire cooking sessions are getting more intricate and we've been inviting more people. There is something magical that happens when you share a cooking experience around a fire. It's primal, and it keeps us coming back and growing our venture to include more people, more tricks and, ultimately, more love.

This was a chicken and lemon recipe, one of our first fire cooks. 

You can take something so simple: cooking around a fire, and make it into a day long event that feeds you, body and soul. I find myself looking forward to these days with friends and family; they are their own event.

It was my husband's birthday in June, and Andy (Jenn's aforementioned fiancé) and Jenn got him this book: Seven Fires, Grilling the Argentine Way, written by Francis Mallman. It's become our fire cooking bible, and we are just loving it.

This was our "traditional" Sunday Asado. 


Food has always been a way that I have connected with people, and the older I get, the more this continues to be true for me in an evolutionary way. Now that I have a child, I am especially grateful for her to see people gathering, putting down their phones, looking into the flames of a fire, and cooking a meal together. I want her to know that even in a modern society, we are ancient people and we can practice being present and cooking slowly.

I watched Cooked, ( on Netflix, with Michael Pollan), and he talks about how cooking over a fire is the bridge between the humans and gods. I don't know if I believe in god, per say, but I certainly feel cosmic when I'm communing in this way. I feel responsible for the food in a way I don't when I cook over a stove. I feel connected in an experience that is wholly enriching. And I would like to encourage others who may be interested, to give it a try.