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The Best Part

July 18, 2013


There’s lots about summer I find irksome: The oppressive heat, our overreliance on air conditioning, the doughy public’s exposed flesh. But as crabby as those things make me, there is something about summer I dearly love: The fruit and vegetable bounty to be found at local farmer’s markets. It doesn’t matter what side of the bed I’ve awakened on, or how irritatingly hot it is already, an early morning visit to Saturday’s far-mar is a guaranteed frown defuser. I just can’t stay cranky in the face of such colorful freshness, and so many tasty possibilities. Last week a cooking jones had me ending each day with one of my favorite cookbooks, Martha Stewart’s Pies & Tarts, and by Friday I couldn’t take anymore. Having pored over page upon page of delectably photographed pastry cradling all manner of delicious fillings, I decided I had to do some baking … and the fillings had to come from our downtown market. Above are two creations from Martha’s book (click names for recipes); a rustic Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella, and Zucchini Pie and a Berries and Cream Tart. But that wasn’t all …

… I also made an elegant Brie and Apple Custard Tart, and a Vanilla-Bean Pineapple Tart. Except for the pineapple, all produce and herbs used in each recipe came from our far-mar. Special thanks go to neighbors Christian and Elisa, from whose chickens came the pastel-shelled eggs used for the Brie and Apple Custard tart (I gifted it to them fresh out of the oven). All recipes were easy to prepare; however, as usual, some adjustments were made to suit my tastes and equipment: I added roasted red peppers and red pepper flakes to the cherry tomato pie; made a single large berries and cream tart instead of several smaller ones; used a round, instead of square, tart pan for the pineapple tart; substituted camembert for brie in the custard tart. One would think turning on the oven during a summer heatwave would make anyone a total crabapple but I was unaffected; it was fun! I got to satisfy my need for a cooking project, and it didn’t involve going out into the heat of the day. Also fun: Being treated like a superhero for sharing such tasty creations!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. carol permalink
    July 18, 2013 4:34 am

    Yum!!!!!! You ARE a super hero for baking all those beautiful dishes and desserts, especially in this heat. You are an artist in so many ways. I’m jealous!

    • Reuben Muñoz permalink*
      July 18, 2013 4:36 am

      Aw, thanks Carol! 😉

  2. July 18, 2013 8:39 pm

    How was the tomato/mozzarella/zucchini tart? It looks (and sounds) delish!

    • Reuben Muñoz permalink*
      July 18, 2013 9:42 pm

      You should make it, V! The cherry tomatoes become super juicy and mix with the basil and cheeses (there’s mozz and parmesan in the filling), and the whole thing is wrapped in a delicious buttery/cheesy crust (there’s parmesan in the crust, too). It’s super good … so good I made one for a dinner party on Saturday and another the next day just for home!

  3. July 19, 2013 1:13 pm

    These sound fabulous, especially the tomato tart. Hmmm… I guess I’ll have to have a dinner party soon!

    • Reuben Muñoz permalink*
      July 19, 2013 3:42 pm

      The tomato, etc., tart is amazing, WF … I served it with a refreshing salad that included avocado, grapefruit segments and thinly sliced red onion and it was a hit. Just the salad and the tart made for a perfect dinner! Dessert was a rum/pineapple tart … after all, what goes better with pie than another pie!

      • July 21, 2013 6:37 pm

        Okay, I’m convinced! I’m going to try the tomato tart tonight. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

      • Reuben Muñoz permalink*
        July 21, 2013 7:55 pm

        Yes! I’m sure it’ll be great 😉

  4. July 20, 2013 12:01 am

    These almost make me want to make one…..and that’s saying something!! I actually went so far as to read the recipe…….they look luscious….

    • Reuben Muñoz permalink*
      July 20, 2013 12:11 am

      It took me getting over my fear of crust-making; now I have to make similar tarts every summer. Buttery, flaky crust seems the optimum vehicle for summer’s delicious fruits and vegetables. Try one, Guida! and send pix…

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