Things have gone back to the new normal here in the Spy Test Kitchens. Last Friday, after a week of enforced cool meals, the gas oven was successfully repaired. I sat at the kitchen counter and yakked away with the repair man as he worked. (It was odd, sitting in my own kitchen wearing a mask, but he was thoughtful enough to wear his, too.) I must admit that before calling the repair service number I had Googled “gas oven not working”, only to be confronted with myriad choices for what could possibly be wrong; the ignitor being the most popular YouTube answer. But who knows exactly where that little piece of equipment lurks? Luckily, the repair guy thought the ignitor was the likely cause (Go, Google!) and he actually knew where in the depths of the oven it resided. Many screws off and on, a couple of layers of metal shelving removed and replaced, and soon we were back in business. Friday night pizza went off without a hitch.
The repair was a complicated process to the uninitiated. Not at all like when we had to replace the ignitor on the outdoor gas grill: it was the doohickey located right behind the instrument panel. Google came in handy that time for that DIY home repair. I will be ready for the next ignitor failure, now. It is sometimes like that with new recipes. Many steps and starts and measurements are made the first time you prepare a dish for the first time. Then, happily, forever after, you can knock it out with much less faltering.
Mr. Friday found the recipe that he thought we should try, now that we were able to bake again. It is filled with our favorite ingredients, which we have in rotation for several meals a week: tomatoes, garlic, basil and cheese. Luckily for us, the window sill was newly brimming with sun-warm farmers’ market tomatoes, garnered in our latest hunting and gathering trip. In fact, this would be a tasty appetizer or hors d’oeuvre – if we ever get to socialize again. What a concept!
Please keep in mind that you can eyeball these ingredients – I think this must have been a party-sized recipe, when we were only baking for two. I used one pie crust, which gave me enough dough for three 6-inch mini tarts – which was more than plenty.
2 packages refrigerated store-bought pie crust – or make your own if you have time to kill and want to show off
4 tablespoons of EV olive oil
4 green onions, sliced
2 large cloves of garlic, sliced
1/2 teaspoon Maldon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus a generous heap of shaved Parm (I used the vegetable peeler)
4 ounces goat cheese
3 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
6 to 8 large fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
Dash of balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
I used the 6-inch tart pans I had bought for Thanksgiving, back when I thought I would be baking oodles of pies and tarts. It turns out all anyone wanted that year was pumpkin pie – no one craved Sweet Potato–Miso Pie with Chocolate-Sesame Crust or yearned for Pear Pie with Red Wine and Rosemary . Philistines.
I rolled out one pie crust just to get a little more acreage out of the thinner dough. I used a 6-inch saucer as a template, and cut out 3 rounds, which I inelegantly plopped into the shallow tart pans. I put the pans on a cookie sheet.
Heat some of the olive oil in a skillet, and lightly sauté the onions and garlic, until the onions are translucent, but remove before the garlic browns. Add salt and pepper.
Sprinkle about a tablespoon of the grated Parmesan in the center of each tart pan. Divvy up the onion and garlic mixture, and spoon into each tart pan. Place one or two slices of tomato in each, drizzling them with olive oil, and then sprinkle the basil shred,and some more salt and pepper. Shave Parmesan lovingly over each pan. Crimp the sides of the dough, to make a retaining wall so none of the cheesy goodness can ooze away. Bake about 20 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown. We ate ours cooled, as a side dish.
Imagine doing this in mini muffin pans, using puff pastry. Served warm. Yumsters.
This week we have made: pizza (tomatoes, garlic, basil and cheese), panzanella salad (tomatoes, onions, cukes, garlic, basil and cubes of fresh mozzarella cheese), a BLT salad (lettuce, tomatoes, garlic, bacon, croutons), tomato sandwiches (tomatoes and mayonnaise) and cheeseburgers (cheese, tomatoes, onion slices). It is a glorious summer rut.
Here’s a recipe that will make sure you never waste another tomato: https://www.davidlebovitz.com/tomato-tart-recipe-fresh-herbs/
“Again and again, the cicada’s untiring cry pierced the sultry summer air like a needle at work on thick cotton cloth.”
― Yukio Mishima