The days have visibly shortened and the end of summer is just around the corner. I console myself with the late season bounty of tomatoes and the appearance of Italian prune plums and best of all, Plum Tart. The recipe will appear soon in another post!
The fall rush of concerts and teaching has started, but I was determined to sneak in a few more spontaneous walks and hikes.
Case in point: Hallockville Pond in Dubuque State Forest in Hawley, Massachusetts. It was a bright beautiful morning with low humidity; I got my practicing and concert work out the way and we decided to hit the road. One last free day! Dubuque State Forest is a bit of a slog to get to, but well worth the effort. I wanted to remember the beauty of summer; the gift of time.
We met our friends Peter and Caroline at the park and took off for a leisurely walk around Hallockville Pond.
Fragrant pine needles lined the forest floor with views of the peaceful pond peeking through the trees. I held back from the others to take pictures and listened to their exuberant voices echoing through the woods as they discussed philosophy, economics and coffee.
This summer the water level in the pond was very low with interesting grasses and algae that sprouted up around the pond.
In the spring we often come to the pond to see the early trilliums and other wildflowers. On our late summer walk, we were surprised to come across trillium plants with bright red berries. I discovered the following from an article by Annie Reid from the
Westborough Community Land Trust: Nodding trillium spreads slowly in its woodland setting. The flower develops into a single red berry with many seeds. Birds may spread a few of the colorful berries, but most berries simply split open and drop the seeds on the ground. Ants then spread the seeds, as they find them and carry them to their nests to feed on tasty parts on the outside of the seeds.
I will look forward to seeing the first trillium blooms next May!
I am not much of a gardener; my excuse is that we have too much shade, deer and groundhogs! Luckily I know several talented gardeners and I am the grateful recipient of their summer bounty! Recently I was gifted many sweet cherry tomatoes and zucchini. What to make??
Tomato Pie immediately came to mind. I always remember fondly the tomato pie that the late writer Laurie Colwin wrote about in her book Home Cooking. Mary O’Brien served the savory delicious pie for many years in her iconic teahouse Chaiwalla in Salisbury, CT. I decided to make my own version of tomato pie with a favorite vegan biscuit crust.
I caramelized an onion, broiled some zucchini slices with olive oil and layered this over the spelt biscuit crust with halved cherry tomatoes, toasted walnuts, feta and fresh rosemary. I drizzled olive oil over the top and baked the tart in a hot oven until the tomatoes burst and browned lightly. We ate this with a green salad and it was so good; the tomatoes so sweet, that I almost forgot to be sad that summer was over!
End of Summer Tomato Tart
1 cup spelt flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup hot water
1/3 cup canola oil
13-14 ripe cherry tomatoes- cut in half
1 medium onion thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini sliced into thin rounds
1/4 cup toasted walnuts (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4-1/2 cup feta cheese- crumbled
freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
To Make Tart:
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium pan, add sliced onion and cook until onions are soft and lightly browned; about 20 minutes. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F.
Place zucchini slices on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, 1 teaspoon dried thyme and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Bake in oven until soft and starting to brown. Set aside.
Make Biscuit crust:
Combine flours, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Add canola oil and hot water. Stir until just combined.
Lightly grease a round baking dish or glass pie plate with butter. Press biscuit mixture into bottom of the dish.
Reduce Oven to 350 Degrees F.
Sprinkle onion mixture over crust. Place zucchini rounds and cherry tomato halves over onions. Sprinkle walnuts, feta cheese and chopped fresh rosemary on top. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and more freshly ground pepper.
Bake about 30 minutes until tomatoes start to brown and burst and the top is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes.
AND: Here is the “Tree of the Week”!
HAPPY END OF SUMMER! STAY SAFE!