"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

a fresh peach pie for two . . .

peach pie ready to go in the oven . . .

peach pie ready to go in the oven . . .

Even though it feels like I am cooking more these days, trying out new recipes, I have also consciously been making much smaller portions. It’s been fun, actually, scaling down recipes so that the end results are just meant for two.

Simplifying the steps has also been an outlet for being creative – no crusts for quiches, for example, but make them in an individual sized ramekin with organic eggs, cream, gruyere cheese, parmesan cheese, bits of leftover broccoli or asparagus tips, baked in a bain marie until they are golden brown, poufed up and slightly jiggly in the middle. Come to think of it, a crustless quiche is similar to a souffle, isn’t it? It’s so much fun to be served an individual souffle on your plate!

This afternoon, I had three fresh peaches left from the farmer’s market in the fridge. They had to be used up because they were beginning to show bruises and I thought that making a small scale peach crostada would be perfect. So, I reduced recipes for homemade crust and chilled the butter and crisco in the freezer. Then I took out the Cuisinart and measured a cup and a half of flour, spun the chilled butter (3/4 stick unsalted) and 1/4 cup cold Crisco using the pulse button until the flour mixture was mealy looking. Added a teaspoon of Maldon salt. Then about 5 tablespoons of ice water added gradually while continuing to pulse. The crust dough came together into a ball and was a little sticky when I took it out, but with just a smattering of a little more flour, was smooth as a baby’s bottom. Wrapped in parchment paper, it went into the fridge for over a half hour. During that time, I peeled the peaches – they were ripe enough so that the skin almost zipped off with a sharp paring knife; sliced them up into a small glass bowl, added a mixture of flour (a tablespoon plus; teaspoons of cinnamon, nutmeg and stevia (in place of sugar) respectively.

When ready to bake, I took out the Silit pad and floured it lightly, rolling out the crust with a very light touch because it was so tender to the touch – I folded it into quarters so I could lift it into a prepared tart pan, opened it up again and spooned the peach mixture into the center. I folded the crust into overlapping folds towards the center, brushed the crust with an egg wash and sprinkled the crust with turbinado sugar.

In a 400 degree preheated oven, I slid the pie in and set the timer for about half an hour. Turned the pie around almost towards the end to brown evenly. Left it in the turned off oven so that the crust would be crisp and not undercooked in the parts of the crust I could not see. There’s nothing worse than underdone crust to a pie that looks this glorious!

just out of the oven! . . .

just out of the oven! . . .




8-hour tomatoes . . .

3 hours so far in the oven . . . .

3 hours so far in the oven . . . .

Eight Hour Tomatoes . . .

Looking through one of the “Kinfolk” volumes, I came across a recipe for cooking tomatoes meant for “darn good sandwiches.” I have a few of the Kinfolk volumes and while some might view them as precious in the way that photographs are taken and articles written, it’s that very earnestness that wins me over. I love looking at them.

Anyhow, these sandwiches were composed (that’s the only word for it) of grilled/toasted hearty peasant bread brushed with olive oil and toasted on a heated grill pan until dark striations appeared on the toast. The inside ingredients included thick slices of cooked bacon and a fried egg, frisee lettuce coated in ranchy dressing and these 8-hour tomatoes.

My idea was to modify the sandwich recipe a bit, using Dietz and Watson thick-sliced turkey bacon which I already have for my breakfasts, no egg (too gooey) and lettuces instead of frisee. Have the creme fraiche vinaigrette that I used last night to dress the lettuce.

As the acid content from tomatoes can sometimes result in disagreeable reactions (mouth canker sores, for example) I thought that cooking them this way might reduce that troublesome aspect. Even if it doesn’t, with the August surfeit of luscious tomatoes approaching at local farm stands, this recipe’s an experiment worth trying. Leftover tomatoes are stored in a layer of olive oil and taken out when needed.

Preparation: use a fresh, ripe home grown or farm fresh tomato. Slice in half and then each half into 1/4 inch slices. Brush with olive oil. Cut up fresh garlic into bits and sprinkle on the tomatoes, along with sea salt and coarse pepper. Pick some fresh sprigs of thyme and strip the leaves, sprinkling them on the tomatoes.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees and roast the tomatoes for ten minutes. Turn the oven off and without opening the door, leave the tomatoes in the oven for eight hours. Refrain from peeking at them with the door open. Yep, that’s right. At first I thought I would make them overnight. But, on second thought, waited until the morning because when the eight hours are up, it’ll be time for supper.

Tonight’s supper will be filet of sole with meyer lemon, the rest of the patty pan squash that we had last night and these tomatoes. And for lunch sometime, how about spreading whole-milk ricotta on grilled bread with tomatoes, coarse pepper and fresh basil on top?

8 hour tomatoes 2

Postscript: We ate these tomatoes along with the sole and summer squash. They were flavorful from the garlic and the thyme, but the most memorable taste was a deep sweetness emanating from the tomato flesh itself. I think it’s from curing in the heated oven after it was turned off. Will definitely make again with bigger tomatoes – for that fresh ricotta on grilled bread sandwich on my wishlist!