Saturday, August 6, 2011


I'm very disappointed in myself. I was too busy patting myself on the back for the best cinnamon rolls I've ever made--filled with walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, cloves, and brown sugar, and with mashed sweet potatoes in the dough, plus whole-wheat flour and olive oil for an extra infusion of "pretending to be abstemious"--to photograph them. It's a pity because I managed to get the icing to what I consider the perfect thickness as well, thanks to the inclusion of sour cream, so it was very attractively patterned on the top! Like I said, too much back-patting. Ah, well; you'll just have to trust me when I say that these are as attractive as they are delicious. Brush the dough with olive oil instead of spreading softened butter over it and you've really completed the delusion that they're good for you, allowing you to eat even more of them!

Which isn't to say, of course, that real butter isn't fantastic. Why, there's a whole three tablespoons of it in this crust!

Along with Parmesan, cashews, whole-wheat flour, and sesame seeds. The filling is whipped Fuerte avocado*, lemon juice, and basil, covered in a layer of chopped olives and raw corn kernels, and then layered with thinly sliced persimmon tomatoes. I chose this heirloom variety because a. they're pretty, b. they're huge, c. they're appropriately acidic but also somewhat sweeter than average, and d. they're $2.50/lb at the Union Square Greenmarket where other heirlooms run at $4.50/lb, if not more. Also, they show you what a tomato is supposed to taste like. The inside is more meat than juice, and that meat can only be described as silky, hearty like a supermarket beefsteak but without a hint of mealiness.

Andy had his with a fried egg on top.
I had mine with copious quantities of string beans in roasted
 garlic-white wine sauce.
I'm going back to reading Celestial Harmonies now. I really should have been done with it weeks ago, but since Andy helped me hop on the Game of Thrones bandwagon, I had to continue revisiting my childhood via trashy fantasy novels until I'd finished the series (those books of it that are out in paperback, that is). Alas, a return to Real Lit'retchah is past due.

Tomato avocado tart, recipe adapted from here
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup Parmesan, grated
1/4 cup cashews
1/3 cup cold butter cut into cubes (or 1/3 cup olive oil)
1-3 tablespoons ice water
1 enormous avocado, or two small ones
about 1 pound tomatoes, any variety that isn't crappy supermarket beefsteak or too-sweet cherry or grape
kernels from 1 ear corn, raw
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
red wine vinegar and olive oil for garnish, optional
1/4 cup chopped olives, optional (I could have done without them, honestly. Not that they were bad, but they just didn't add anything that a sprinkle of salt on top wouldn't have.)

To make the crust, pulse the flour, cheese, and nuts in a food processor until the mixture is blended. Add the cold butter or the olive oil and pulse until combined. Add ice water, a tablespoon at a time, until the crust just comes together in a ball. Chill for 10 to 15 minutes, then either roll out the dough and line a 9-inch tart pan with it, or just press it into the tart pan. Chill again for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork, line with aluminum foil or parchment paper, and fill with pie weights. Bake 10 minutes. Remove the weights and bake another 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the crust cool completely.

Meanwhile, whip the avocado with the lemon juice and enough olive oil to make the mixture smooth; I used an immersion blender and kept going until the mixture was fluffy and mousse-like. Fold in the chopped basil and corn kernels and spread the avocado mixture in the cooled pie crust. Sprinkle on the chopped olives, if you're using them. Thinly slice the tomatoes and layer them on top. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, and olive oil to taste (or not at all, if you don't find you need it). Chill at least minutes before serving. To make it really pretty, garnish with more basil and a curl of lemon zest.

*This is easily the biggest Fuerte I've ever seen: 

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