Tart Craving Mad

Have you ever totally botched lyrics? Like, “Blinded by the Light” will always be followed by, “Wrapped up like a blah nah nyeah na nuuuneenooonana.” Or like my brother, who used to think that the words “Transformers: Robots in disguise” were “Transformers: For the miss bee fied!”

Or how I still think that “stark raving mad” is “star craving mad” because there’ll always be an eight-year-old in me wishing she could hop on a unicorn and make rainbows before blasting off to a land where mermaids are real (I mean, they are) and tree houses were the only houses.

I hope I never lose that girl. She’s pretty rad.

Don’t even think about tomorrow, how you haven’t organized your closet or how dirty the soles of your feet are (they’re like, really dirty). Just remember that little kid who comes out every so often to smack you in the face with a dose of Take It Easy. Save yourself the blisters and take off your shoes.

Indulge in tart craziness.

Sometimes, food is just so beautiful.

Like, really, really beautiful. Heirloom cherry tomatoes are outrageous.

I made sweet and savory tarts because, let’s face it, I would’ve eaten all of the sweet ones for dinner.

Space the puff pastry squares (rectangles) a good inches apart. They poof (puff?) in the oven.

Also, don’t bake the mint or basil leaves. They’ll fizzle and die. Wait until the tarts have cooled a bit and just pop off the blackberry before slipping in a mint leaf or two.

Or just throw the leaves on however you please.

Opposites attract.

Blackberry, mint and lemon goat cheese tart / Heirloom tomato, basil and brie tart

For the blackberry tart:

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1/2 pint blackberries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a small bowl, toss the blackberries with the balsamic vinegary and let sit for 10 minutes. In another bowl, mix together the goat cheese, lemon zest, honey and milk with a fork until smooth.

Cut the puff pastry sheet into 12 2-3 inch rectangles and score with a sharp knife, being sure not to cut all the way through.

Scoop about 2 teaspoons-worth of goat cheese mixture onto each square and top off with the balsamic blackberries.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the goat cheese and puff pastry are brown. Once the tarts have cooled slightly, slip a mint leaf underneath each blackberry.

Makes 12 four-bite-sized tarts.

For the heirloom tomato tart:

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
brie cheese, thinly sliced (12 small pieces)
12 basil leaves
6 cherry heirloom tomatoes, cut in half

Same procedure as the blackberry tart, but without the frills. Cheese, tomato, basil. Boom.

Makes 12 tarts.

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Sweet Tea Bourbon

There’s a problem with today’s fashion trends.

They don’t cater to people with goofy bodies. Has this always been a thing? Because I can’t count how many times I’ve taken a spectacularly lacy dress or billowing shirt and gasped in horror at the Frumpy McFrumpster in the mirror. What’s with cinched waistlines? Why are skirts so short?

And how about the platform heels? Let me tell you something, shoe designers. Ladies who wear a size 10 1/2 shoe are not petit. They have to be at least 5’9″ and goodness knows are awkward enough trying to balance on their own two feet, let alone with an extra 5 inches.

I bump into things. All the time.

So as I sigh for the umpteenth time after realizing, yet again, that straight-lined suits simply don’t work on curves, it hits me: I am my own fashionista. I will forever wear my $2 old man cardigan. I will never stop believing that one day, twelve patterns at once is a good idea. That barefoot will be the new boot.

And that whiskey will always be in season.

Sweet Tea Bourbon.

1/4 cup brewed black tea (1 tablespoon loose leaf per 5 cups hot water or 2 bags per 5 cups)
4 ounces Bourbon
1 teaspoon raw sugar or honey
a few sprigs of mint
fresh lemon juice, to taste

While the tea is still hot, add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Tear up a few mint leaves and add to infuse while the liquid cools. Once warm to the touch, measure 1/4 cup tea and pour inside two cocktail glasses or mason jars. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice and ice before stirring vigorously.

Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Makes two well-deserved drinks.

A Really Good Salad

Sometimes you have to swan dive into the weekend. Punch your to-do list in the face. Friends inviting you out for a drink at midnight? You’re going. Hardware store has a sale on mason jars? You’re renting a car to take them home. Don’t even get me started on the Chemex coffee pot at the kitchen trinket store.

You’re going to paint your nails, pluck your eyebrows, sweep out under the bed, play the ukulele and dominate this weekend.

Wrestle with laziness until it lays there, panting, and before it gets back up for Round Two, it’s already Sunday night.

Boom.

Productive weekends always start with a light, delicious salad. You’ve graduated from plain old spinach, mesclun and, dare I say it, romaine. You’re in the major leagues now. You’ve got basil. You’ve got mint. And you’ve got sprouts. This salad is for big kids.

The best salads don’t need more than a sprinkling of extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese and a spritz of fresh lemon juice.

Hello, Friday. Eat my shorts.