I promise, there will be no complaining or whining in this post! You've all been so dear with your pick~me~up comments and emails...at least I know this is the right place to come when I'm feeling blue! Maybe I subconsciously feel the end of summer coming and all the joy of being outdoors and at the lake coming to a slow halt. Certainly after last winter, most of us are regarding the cold months with apprehension. But I'm good...just taking everything one day at a time and counting my blessings.
So Layla may represent how I've felt these past few days, but actually, this is the mode she goes into when Tulo comes to visit, as he and son Jeff did today. Yes, I had a visitor! We sat on the patio and had coffee while Tulo and Milo wrestled in the grass. Tulo is twice the size of Milo, but The Mi is very muscular and strong, and he's the "older and wiser" of the two so he dominates. Very nice morning. Rain is predicted later today and all weekend. I'm starting to just ignore that little weather app on my phone, it's never right. And the last big bang at the lake? Almost everyone had to back out for various reasons. MC's family is preparing for a baby shower for sister Katie, which I will be going to next weekend. Another group of the family are doing some major landscaping during their time off from work. And the rest, I shooed them off to do other fun things...it just has to be all of us, our big jolly family group! I am suggesting a big fall get~together to go apple and pumpkin picking, and have bonfires...make some S'mores. Yes!
Alas, no S'mores right now...I'm dealing with the tomatoes (still) from my neighbor. And this doesn't count my own. I have about a half dozen juicy red ones and the rest were green but I had to pick them because the squirrels are running rampant in the backyard. It's walnut time and they are everywhere (the walnuts and the squirrels). And they decided my tomatoes were pretty tasty, too. So, the plants are in the composter (okay, I don't have a composter, they're in the trash. That just sounded better). And the squirrels are just making a mess with walnut shells.
I made the Tomato Tart as I spoke of in my last post. It was absolutely delish! The Pioneer Woman is very laid back and offers many options when she posts a recipe. She used small orange cherry type tomatoes in her recipe which are very cool. If you've ever roasted small tomatoes, they are so good when they've popped! So I am going to give you the low down on how I prepared this so you don't have to jump from link to link.
Saute 2 large onions, cut in half and then sliced, in 4 T butter. Keep the heat very low, be patient and let them caramelize, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile slice your tomatoes...I just used my big old red ones. You want about 3 cups. Grate three or four different cheeses to equal 2 cups. I used Swiss, Fontina, Monterey Jack and Parmesan. These cheeses really make the tart. The prepared pie crust is pressed into a sheet pan (I'll get to that), I used a large one and 4 of us ate only half of it. So use a half sheet pan or 2 pie or tart pans (these would actually be prettier). Sprinkle the cheese on in one layer, then the onions and finally the tomatoes. I sprinkled some S&P on over that and about 2 t. garlic powder. Brush the pie crust edges with a little egg/milk mixture and pop in the oven at 450 for about 15~20 minutes. Shred some fresh basil over the top when you take it out. Then let it sit for 5 minutes before you slice it in squares.
It looks more gooey than it is, it's just all that delicious cheese. And the pie crust saves it from tasting like regular old pizza. We just loved it!
The pie crust is something I am saving for last because 1) I LOVE making pies in the winter, and 2) You can freeze the dough! Yay! Can you imagine making your dough all in one swoop and then pulling it out of the freezer anytime you want to fling together a pie, quiche or tart? And this crust is tasty!! It was sent in to Rhee by a blog reader and she wholly recommends it. Here it is:
1 1/2 c Crisco Vegetable Shortening
3 c flour (I like King Arthur)
1 whole egg
5 T cold water
1 T white vinegar
1 t. salt.
Start with your Crisco and flour. Cut them in together with one of those dough cutters or use two knives like I do. When it's nice and crumbly, add the rest of the ingredients. Here is where I jumped the gun. I thought the dough looked too wet so I added another tablespoon of flour. No, no, no. It will be fine. I later had to add in water because it was cracking as I rolled it out. Knead it on a flour covered surface, separate into 3 balls, flatten and pop into freezer bags and into the freezer. For this recipe you will use all the dough after 15 minutes in the freezer. If you are a smart cookie, you can just keep on making dough to your hearts content (since you've already made a huge flour~y mess on the counters and floor). Then you'll be all set when those apples and pears and figs and whatever come in season this coming month! :)
Now on to the Great Outdoors. These popped up in my backyard a few weeks ago. Very pretty. I planted lots of flowers seeds this spring, yet I don't know if perhaps these are something my neighbor planted because her stuff leeches over to my side and vice versa. They are about 3~4 feet high.
One last reference to my previous whiny post. I mentioned I might join the gym again. Well, yesterday I marched right over and did that. Now I'm not trying to brag or toot my horn...if you just knew how much I hate to exercise, how in-athletic I am, coupled with a fear of commitment and regimens, you would see that this was a tremendous effort on my part. Okay, a free tee shirt was thrown into the mix, but I feel great about it. Not only did I rejoin, but I stayed and ran 2 miles on the track. With my only exercise in the recent past being a lot of walking on vacation and planting flowers, I was quite happy. My asthma makes me huff and puff, but otherwise I'm good. And by the way, that's dirt on my legs. I came home and planted some lilies I had left over from the lake. :)
One last thing, because I was going on and on with the recipe, and some of you might have just skipped over it, if you have a ton more tomatoes as I do, toss them in a big pot of boiling water. When the skin starts to crack, scoop them out into a strainer, let them cool, peel them and pop them into freezer bags. You can chop them up beforehand as well. Then you have a good months worth of tomatoes for sauce, salsa, chili, however you like them. Maybe a tomato tart? :)
Have a great and safe holiday weekend!