adventures in tomatoes: warm tomato tart

photographic feats of brillance

the actual name of this tart is a “warm tomato, mustard and gruyére tart” but all of that wouldn’t fit neatly into the title of the post. yes.

there isn’t a lot to say about the preparation other than it was amazingly quick and easy. the most strenuous work was walking out into the garden to pick a pepper and tomatoes.

the "yeah, you're jealous" shot

last week while weeding and tending the garden i noticed a very green tomato had fallen off the vine. it had been sitting in the window sill for a few days, staying very green when housemate sliced part of it up for a sandwich. after testing a sliver of the still very green tomato i decided to decorate the very top of the tart with a little pyramid of green tomato. this was a good choice.

warm tomato, mustard  & gruyére tart (bbc.com)

1 red pepper sliced
1 onion, peeled, halved and sliced into 1/2 moons
olive oil
2T dijon mustard [i used more than that…]
100g gruyére, grated
4-5 vine tomatoes, thinly sliced [or if you have massive heirlooms like i do, just the one will do]
a handful of black pitted olives, halved
small handful basil leaves

pastry
200 g flour (~1 cup)
100 g butter (~1/2 cup)
50 g grana padano, finely grated (rapasan or parmasan also works just fine.)
1 egg

1. to make the pastry, whizz the flour and butter in a food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs. stir in the grana padano, then the egg and bring together to make a dough. wrap in clingflim and chill for 20 minutes.

2. to make the filling cook the peppers and onion in 1 T olive oil until very soft, about 15 minutes. then season (salt and pepper)

3. heat the oven to 190C. roll out the pastry to 20p thickness (about as thick as a nickle). line a shallow tart tin (i used a spring form as that is the closest thing we have…) with the pastry and fill with baking parchment and beans and blind bake for 10 minutes. take out the paper and bake for another 5 minutes.

4. allow to cool a little, then spread base with the dijon and sprinkle over the gruyére. top with the pepper/onion mix, then a layer of tomato slices and the olives. season really well and put back into the oven for 15-20 minutes until the tomatoes are tender and the pastry is cooked through and crisp. scatter over basil before serving.

adventures in tomatoes: curried tomato bisque

as my garden is currently bursting with four (yes, 4) varieties of heirloom tomatoes (thanks m&d!) there have been numerous adventures in tomatoes in our little kotido kitchen the past few days/week/month. these adventures in tomatoes have not totally ousted the adventures in besan flour (as a matter of fact the heirloom tomato was the unsung hero of the besan pizza). all that to say that shortly we shall return to our regularly scheduled besan adventures.

back to the bisque.

so, we have all these tomatoes that we’re trying to eat them and have them not rot on the vine or ground. therefore the past three (at least) meals have been very tomato based.

that still wasn’t about the bisque.
back to the bisque, for real this time.

the recipe for the bisque appeared to me while i was on an internet-wide down-the-rabbit-hole-of-research recipe bent i tumbled down last week. the really exciting thing about finding recipes that i want to try while living in kotido is actually having access to all of the ingredients. this is one of those instances. (its from real simple.com for those of you keeping track at home  and the full recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.)

while i do have access to all the ingredients for the bisque i DO lack one key player in a perfect bisque: a food processor and/or blender. we’ll come back to that.

something that drives me a bit batty about a lot of recipes is when they call for something like, say– a 28oz can of whole tomatoes when i have actual whole heirloom tomatoes which tend to be bigger than one’s average plain tomato. i pulled out the handy chefmate 3-cup measure and did my best to estimate 46oz (i doubled the recipe) of tomato. (if you really want to know: i chunked up the massive heirlooms into quarters and kind of smooshed them into the measure and hoped for the best!)

most everything else went according to plan–onions and garlic, check. olive oil, check. curry powder, double check. we’re working on using some “special” (that’s its name) curry powder with garlic that i procured in kampala mostly because it said “special” and has garlic in it AND the actual brand is taj mahal. triple win. its also darn tasty curry powder.

rather than wizz the soup up in the food processor/blender i don’t have, housemate assisted by taking the potato masher to the bubbling soup attempting to moosh it as mushy as possible.

technically before when is aid that i had all the ingredients i suppose i was kind of lying. when serving this bisque one is supposed to add a dollop of greek yogurt to one’s own bowl of soup. we don’t have greek yogurt. we DO have regular yogurt. but we also have coconut milk, which is even better in this humble cook’s opinion.

the curried tomato bisque, with a healthy dollop of coconut milk and garnished with cilantro (THAT I GREW) was quite delicious, if i do say so myself. there was a serving left over after dinner last night and i just consumed it straight from the fridge–still amazingly delicious! the left over coconut milk has been resting in the bisque overnight and was really quite delightful cold! (and this coming from someone who doesn’t really enjoy gazpacho!)

my cilantro growing in a USAID oil can

as an accompaniment to the bisque i also made some tomato and mozzarella quesadillas with a basil, walnut and olive oil salad/topping. why, yes, i did make the tortillas myself!and, yes, goodness how did you know that i also grew the basil and cinnamon basil? (this straight forward recipe is also below.)

stay tuned for continued adventures and recipes in tomatoes! (you know you want to know about the warm tomato tart that was amazingly delicious!)

curried tomato bisque (real simple.com)
this is the non-doubled version. the doubled version fed 5 adults with one bowl left over

1 T olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
1 t curry powder
1 28oz can whole tomatoes
greek yogurt
cilantro for garnish

1. heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat

2. add the onion, garlic, 1/2t salt and 1/4t pepper and cook until soft (3-5 minutes) add curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant. add tomatoes and juices. add 1/2 c water and boil.

3. in a blender puree until smooth. top with yogurt and cilantro.

tomato and mozzarella quesadillas with basil (real simple.com)

8 8 inch flour tortillas
12 oz grated or sliced mozzarella
2 tomatoes sliced 1/4inch thick
1/2 t + 1/8t salt (lets be real, i eyeballed this as i usually do salt and pepper)
1/2 t fresh black pepper
fresh basil
1/4c tasted pine nuts (we used raw walnuts as that’s what we have. it was tasty!)
4t olive oil

1. heat grill to medium. place 4 of the tortillas on the cutting board and top with the cheese and tomato leaving a 1 inch border.

2. season with 1/2t salt (or you know, shake some salt on them if you want.when using amazing heirloom prudence purples i didn’t add any salt or pepper) and pepper, top with remaining tortillas

3. in a medium bowl combine basil, pine nuts, oil and remaining salt. set aside.

4. cook quesadillas around the perimeter of the grill until the cheese melts and the edges are crisp (~2 minutes per side) [unless you live in kotido then heat your flat square griddle and cook them one at a time. which was convenient as the griddle was already hot for the tortilla making…]

5. immediately cut the quesadillas into wedges and serve with the basil salad.

flour tortillas (extending the table)

combine in mixing bowl:
2c flour (500ml)
1t salt (5 ml)

cut in with pastry blender:
1/4 cup shortening (50 ml)

when particles are fine, add gradually:
1/2 c lukewarm water (125 ml)

toss with fork to make stiff dough. form into ball and knead thoroughly on lightly floured board until smooth and flecked with air bubbles. to make dough easier to handle, grease surface, cover tightly and refrigerate 4-24 hours [i NEVER do that] before using. let dough return to room temperature before rolling out.

divide dough into 8 balls for large tortillas, 11 balls for 8″ sized. roll as thin as possible on lightly floured board or between sheets of waxed paper. drop onto very hot ungreased griddle. bake until freckled on 1 side, about 20 seconds. lift edge, turn and bake on second side. wrap in a clean tea towel to keep warm. refrigerate or freeze leftover tortillas in airtight wrap. [or cut them into triangles and bake them for chips!]

your humble blogger in her humble housedress