Food

October 24 marks Food Day across the country a call to action to bring greater attention to how we grow the food we eat and what we decide to put on our plate. Across the country Food Day programs were hosted with hopes to inspire Americans to eat real food and improve food policies. This years Food Day theme was greener diets to inspire more plant based diets and less meat to support better health, animal welfare and the environment. From Savannah to Chicago to New Orleans over 300 organizations promoted green diets this year in conjunction with Food Day. 

The Art of the Tart
rustic tarts in the French style
Kate J.

Dear friend of tarts,

 

It feels as if — willy-nilly — we find ourselves enjoying rather autumnal weather.  One of the beauty parts of this is that it means apples!

It’s been several months since you’ve seen apple tarts on my table. And last season I discovered a new-ish variety of the species called Blondie, an apple that’s just as good eaten out of hand as it is in a tart. From the very beginning of The Art of the Tart I’ve been largely intractable about using Golden Delicious for tart purposes. A good balance of sweet and tart is important to me in an apple. I also demand crispness and an ability to hold body (no disintegrating with a little heat). But now that the Blondie has appeared, I waver. See what you think.

Also, the big, egg-shaped European plums have finally arrived and substantial roasted plum tarts will now grace the tart table. The diminutive, ninety-eight-pound-weakling plums are gone.

I’m continuing to grab every scrap of happiness (pace Noel Coward) on the tomato tart front; but be warned. This joy can’t go on forever. The season is on the wane.

 

 

Tarts on the table this week:

Celebrities rubbed elbows with crunchies at the opening of a new health food store on Mechanic Street in Amenia.

At the ‘soft’ opening friends and fans were served wheat grass juice, spanokopita, local cheeses and watermelon and fruit concoctions.

Ann Marie Pallan gave us a tour of the store showing us “Wholey Oats” granola bars , a business out of Wingdale, locally-produced honey by Alekie Apiaries in Sherman, coconut milk ice cream by a Hudson Valley confectioner, organic meats from Dashing Star farms and Meili’s.  

The list of businesses from the region went on with sheep milk yogurt from Chatham, local kimchee, salsas from Hyde Park, Mama’s Cheese breads and Hudson Valley skin care.  And the contractors,  a who renovated the store were from Amenia and Connecticut.

Marvin Scott, the award-winning reporter from WPIX Channel 11 was on hand as a friend, not as a reporter, and had the following to say:

This weekend is the first batch of purple plums over the threshold of Tart Central.  I may  be able to lay my hands on golden Mirabelles for the Mirabelle aficionados amongst you. The cherry tomatoes are going strong. Last Saturday I believe everyone who wanted a Mercandetti Tribute Tart got one. I’ll make the same again this Saturday. 

Tarts on the table this week:

 

the sweeties:

1) purple plums poached in sweet Marsala

2) apricots poached in saffron syrup

3) blueberries with fresh lemon zest

4) peaches poached in Riesling and mint

5) raspberry tartlets

 

the savory:

1) The Mercandetti Tribute Tart — cherry tomatoes slow-roasted with fresh herbs on a bed of coarse-grained mustard, toasted crushed cashews and garnished with lemon-thyme. 

Dear friend of tarts,

A week ago I came home with a mountain of peaches in preparation for the debut of the season’s peach tarts. I was full of pleasure at the prospect of first blanching, then slicing into eighths each juicy peach. I would then plunge the slices into hot, sweet Riesling in which I’d previously steeped a fat bunch of fresh spearmint. But I get ahead of myself:  return to the mountain of peaches…………to the first peach in fact, when I plunged in my opening knife-stroke, got nowhere much, and realized (after a fashion) that I had before me a mountain of cling peaches.  

July 20, 2015- A large serving vessel of an English-style bitter arrived at the Lantern Inn in Wassaic on Saturday, July 18, for a public tasting event.  It was rather quickly consumed by the large crowd of customers who had pleasing things to say about it.  A young Australian fellow who has worked in British pubs, Anthony Ferrier, who was up visiting friends in Millerton said that the bitters in England do not often taste as good as the ale he tasted at the Lantern:

“This tastes really smooth.  I like the fact that it is served cold, not warm as they usually are in England.  I am very familiar with this ale and it is actually better than what I often tasted in London pubs.”

Dear friend of tarts,

As our local apricots are now available, I’ve decided to bring them back for one market. As you may recall, I poach them in saffron syrup. They’re such beautiful fruit. And as peaches are about to begin in force, I just wanted this last apricot swan song before they do.

Also this week I’ve gotten ahold of local tart cherries. I’ll be interested to hear what you make of them versus the usual sweet cherries I use.

Finally, on the onion front, in my desperation to avoid spending another afternoon sealed in a fug of potent fumes, I decided this week to first roast whole onions in the oven and then to whiz them in the food processor. For the first hour in the oven I thought possibly my ship had come in; but let me announce here that the only way to get beautifully caramelized onions is to beautifully caramelize them. So after roasting and whizzing, I put the whole mess into the damned pan and began to sauté. Therefore, this week I’m offering twice-cooked onion tarts. 

 

Hey ho.

Tarts on the table this week:

? the sweeties:

July 9- My onion tart — or pissaladière — is a comestible that many of you worship; but as most of you by now know, making it is the bane of my existence. The sheer misery of attaching a snorkeling mask to my face and peeling and sautéeing mountains of onions over many hours is so disagreeable that over the years, the onion tart window of the season has grown narrower and narrower.

Recently my stalwart and husband Robert Webber halted me in full flow as I explained to a thwarted onion tart fan that of course onions are an autumn vegetable and as such they wouldn’t be making an appearance on my table for some time yet. I couldn’t help but notice Webber’s mien change to one of amusement — possibly including some incredulity. ”An autumn vegetable? An autumn vegetable?", he said to me later. "Is this what you’re now telling people? Codswallop!” 

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