Tomato Tart with Caramelized Onions, Olives & Fontina

Tomato Tart with Caramelized Onions, Olives & Fontina Dinner conversation around my table usually follows a similar pattern: Matt’s office politics, my restaurant shenanigans, and what seemingly inedible item Sammy gulped down that day.  But when dinner’s really good, we bypass all that and focus on what’s really important: the food.

This tomato tart rendered both of us nearly speechless.  It’s a buttery crust filled with thick tomato slices, melty fontina cheese, black olives, and caramelized onions, with a few anchovies dancing across the top.  The ingredients meld together into a mess of salty-sweet pure deliciousness.  It’s exactly the tart we’d eat night or day, breakfast, lunch, or dinner, hot, warm, or stone-cold.  And even though I just ate the last piece, I’m already thinking of when I can make it again.

Get it?  I loved it; Matt loved it; it’s a dang good tomato tart.  I’ll show you how it goes together and, soon, you’ll be lovin’ it too.

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Peach Sour Cream Bundt Cake with Cardamom & Ginger

Peach Sour Cream Bundt Cake with Cardamom & GingerAbout this time last year, a tiny coffee shop in my neighborhood hung a “for rent” sign in its front window.  It sent me into a weeks-long fantasy about starting a new life as coffee shop owner.  I’d trade in all my grubby jeans for cute vintage dresses and adorable aprons.   I’d ride my bike to the shop at the crack of dawn and bake simple, homey cakes no one would be able to resist.  I’d work hard, but find immense pleasure in the little things: the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, the first morning sunlight, and the satisfaction of being my own boss.

Of course, you know, this never happened.  I kept the grubby jeans, never started wearing cute aprons, continued to serve in someone else’s restaurant, and started a blog instead.  But, don’t feel bad about my unrealized dream…I kept the best part of the plan intact:I kept on making the simple, homey baked goods.

And this way, I get to be the one eating the majority of them.  Talk about taking pleasure in the little things!

Here’s a particularly example: a peach sour cream bundt cake.  I could have centered my entire make-believe shop’s business plan around this beautiful bundt.  It’s a great anytime-of-day late summer treat, loaded with ripe peaches and spiced up with ginger and cardamom, finished with a drizzle of lemony glaze.

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Grilled Calamari with Sweet Corn, Tomato & Basil Salad

Grilled Calamari, Sweet Corn & Tomato Salad

The end of August always messes with me.  It used to be the pain of going back to school, now it’s the pain of losing access to my beloved summer produce.  This year it’s especially bad; even though it’s still hot and even though I just picked my first tomato a week ago, there’s that whisper of fall in the air.  I feel like I’m just getting started and it’s almost over.

But we shan’t dwell.  No, we’d best ignore the school buses practicing their routes, the saw bugs buzzing at dusk and dawn, the pumpkin-festooned covers of  magazines that have started arriving, and just go on and enjoy what we’ve got while it’s here.  We’d best make hay while the sun shines.

So let’s do this.  Let’s make another tasty salad jammed with summer flavors: ripe tomatoes from the garden, sweet corn, and basil.  It’s still too warm to cook indoors, so , obviously, we’ll have to put the grill to use.  Why don’t we add some calamari and take it from simple summer side dish to stunning summer entree?  Ready?  Let’s do this late-summer dinner dance.

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Roasted Plum & Ricotta Breakfast Bruschetta

Roasted Plum & Ricotta Bruschetta

Breakfast bruschetta.  When I came up with the idea, it felt like such a revelation.  Bruschetta in the morning?  Great idea.  Honey-roasted plums and fresh ricotta cheese on crisp, nutty bread?  Brilliant!

And then, a little later, I smacked myself on the head.  Breakfast bruschetta isn’t anything new, it’s just stuff on toast.  Toast.  As in breakfast 101.  As in we’ve all been there, done that, a million and a half times.

Well, ground-breaking or not, this plum and ricotta bruschetta is definitely worth making.  The roasted plums themselves are pretty special, sweetened slightly with honey, savoried (yes?  Yes.) with a pinch of sea salt, a twist of pepper, and a sprinkling of thyme leaves.  The base is seedy whole grain bread, toasted ’til it’s crunchy around the edges.  And, when you use fluffy fresh ricotta to bring the two together, you’ll officially enter breakfast heaven.

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Scallops with Bacon, Peaches & Radicchio Slaw

Sea Scallops with Bacon, Peaches & Radicchio Slaw

Summer 2013 will go down in the history of my life as the summer of the pig and the peach.  Let’s think about this–in the beginning of the summer, I became obsessed with chèvre-stuffed grilled peaches with prosciutto.  Then I moved on to nectarine (nearly a peach!) and bacon sandwiches.  Last week I grilled pork chops stuffed with bourbon and spice roasted peaches.

Am I sick of the combination?  Absolutely not!  I’m just getting started.

Sweet and juicy paired with salty-porky adds up to completely irresistible and today it’s going to be even better because bacon and peaches are teaming up with seared sea scallops to create the ultimate summer dinner trifecta.  Let’s get cooking!

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