“It’s the best time of the year!”
If you have children, had children, or simply remember being a child, you know that this time of the year is filled with the rush of buying needed school supplies, the excitement (for the children) and exasperation (for the parents) of replacing worn or outgrown clothing and shoes, and either the sadness or the joy, depending on the type of children and parents, of going back to school.
I’m one of those parents who is always sad when the new school year begins because I prefer the lazy days of summer when the children and I don’t need to rush anywhere, can play games, and no one is stressed by homework and relational angst. So, when school resumes I need to find ways to cheer myself up, and fortunately for me, this is also the time of year when some of nature’s best gifts present themselves.
I’m talking about tomatoes. Large, fresh, sweet, home or local farm grown, deep red, yellow and even purple organic tomatoes. True fact about me: I only eat large tomatoes in August and September when I can get them fresh from the garden. I will not purchase store tomatoes which have yet to fully turn their color and have very little taste. Life’s too short to insult my taste buds.
So, when tomatoes are in season, I make as many different types of dishes as I can because I know it’ll be another year before I can enjoy their taste again. One of my family’s favorite dishes is tomato tarts. A simple crust, layers of lovely, tasty fresh tomatoes, and an egg custard. I recently made some tomato tarts using fresh tomatoes to serve at a brunch for my husband’s family forest, and they were an absolutely hit. Fortunately, I had made several of them so that when people went back for even thirds, we had enough!
Now, a warning: Yes, you can make these tarts with any tomatoes, but you have to trust me when I tell you that there’s nothing like the sweet taste of a freshly picked tomato to enhance these tarts. So, if you can, swing by your local farm and get a basket full. Your taste buds will thank you!
1 1/2 cup your favorite flour (I use gluten free flours like garbanzo or fava bean or oat or sorghum but whole wheat works, too)
1/2 tsp ground onion powder
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt (your taste preference)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup safflower oil
3 tbsp your favorite milk (cow, soy, flax, quinoa, rice, etc…)
1/2 cup your favorite milk (cow, soy, flax, quinoa, rice, etc…)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt, pepper and oregano
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix the flour with the onion powder, salt, oregano and pepper.
- Whisk the safflower oil with the milk until it’s creamy. Pour into the flour mixture and stir with a fork until a dough ball forms.
- Press the crust into a 8 or 9 inch pie pan, using your clean hands to form an even crust along the bottom and sides of the pan. Set aside.
- Whisk the eggs with the milk, pepper and oregano. Set aside.
- Thinly slice the tomatoes, allowing some of the juices to drain out in a colander. Then layer the tomato slices in the prepared crust, sprinkling some salt, pepper and oregano on each layer before putting on the next. How much you put in is up to you, but I like to layer them up to the top of the crust.
- Carefully pour the egg custard over the tomato layers. If you find that you’ve layered so many tomatoes that your egg custard doesn’t cover the tomatoes as you’d like, whisk another egg with a tablespoon of milk and add it.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the eggs are set. How long will vary on how thick your tomato layers are as well as which type of milk you ended up using. I suggest you set the timer for 15 minutes and go from there. The longest it’s ever taken for me is 30 minutes.