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Burst cherry tomato tart

Or, post farmers’ market lunch with visiting Seattle friends.

Cherry tomato, zsummer squash & corn galette - my version of Smitten's

Cherry tomato, summer squash & corn galette – my version of Smitten’s – the basil got really black when baked

Joe and Terry were here because Joe was officiating at the wedding of one of his students – we started hearing about this in January during the ALA conference in Philadelphia, because he was looking for some kind of Internet ordination that he could do, and be sure was legal in Wisconsin. For awhile it looked like he was going to be speaking at a local library conference this trip, too, but that fell through, and that, as he says in his column, is another story.

We went to market Saturday morning, and got a few things that, along with what I’d already gotten in Thursday’s CSA box, could be made into an early lunch – on the schedule for the wedding it said something like “officiant arrives at 2:30″. Meredith recommended the burst tomato & corn & zucchini tart from Smitten Kitchen – I made my own version, and we ate it with a nice spicey salad – that had flat leaf parsley and celery greens mixed in with leaf lettuce from last week’s market and what I could salvage from a clam shell of organic herb mix greens purchased when Rach was here last week. And lots of fruit – cherries, strawberries, raspberries and melon – the last being from California by way of the grocery store, rather than the market, but good anyways.

DebS Burst Cherry Tomato, Summer Squash & Corn Galette (Smitten is Deb P.)

For starters, I made my own crust: 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 2 tsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1 stick of butter, 1 TBLS vegetable shortening, about 4 TBLS cold water. Combine the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer – or in a large mixing bowl.  Slice the butter and vegetable shorting into the bowl, and cut in the shortening until it resembles coarse crumbs using the paddle attachment for the mixer, or a pastry blender, or two knives or  your fingers. Switch to a fork if mixing by hand. Drizzle in the water a tablespoon at a time, mixing, until the dough clumps. Shape into a disk, either set aside if you’re making the galette right away (I just wrap it in my pastry cloth and set in a coolish place in the kitchen), or wrap in plastic and chill.

For the filling:
a good size glug – about 1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
big pinch of Kosher or coarse salt
1 small summer squash, cut into large dice
2 cloves of garlic, minced or put through a press
the kernals cut from 1 ear corn
freshly ground pepper
a few sprigs of fresh basil, julienned
about 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Milk for brushing – whole or 2%

Make filling: Heat the olive oil in a wide deep skillet with a lid. Add olive oil, tomatoes and salt to the pan, then cover and heat over medium high heat. Shake the skillet to roll the tomatoes around from time to time. You’ll hear some pops as the tomatoes burst a little. When most have, remove the lid, turn heat down a bit, and add the squash and garlic. Saute until the squash is  softened, and add corn and grind in some pepper. Cook uncovered until most of the juices boil down. Stir in the basil. Transfer mixture to a large plate and spread it out – you can even pop it in the fridge – so that it will cool faster. You want it cooled to lukewarm so it won’t melt the crust when you assemble the galette.

Assemble galette: Heat oven to 375°. On a floured surface – I like a pastry cloth – roll the dough out into a rough circle, as big as you can get it – I think mine was about 14 – 16. Transfer the crust to a parchment-lined baking sheet; I used a 14-inch dark colored pizza pan – dark is good for a crisper crust. I fold the dough gently in half, without pressing down, just kind of flop it, then unfold it onto the baking pan. Spread the Parmesan onto the crust in a rough circle (or half circle if you have somebody like Terry who doesn’t eat cheese), leaving a pinch or two behind for topping the crust. Spread the tomato-squash-corn mixture onto the center of the dough, trying to leave behind any liquid that has puddled on the plate. Fold the crust over the filling, brushing with milk as you go, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush the crust with more milk, and sprinkle with last pinches of Parmesan (or sprinkle the cheese half with Parmesan.

Bake the galette: For 30 to 40 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. One of the leftover wedges was even good cold for breakfast next day and that was the no-cheese half.

Joe & Terry in front of the bookend sculpture at Madison Public Library - where the wedding was

Joe & Terry in front of the bookend sculpture at Madison Public Library – where the wedding was


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Oma’s 10th Jahrzeit

Yesterday I got an email from my brother with the subject line “Rye bread and Riesling”. To which I replied “Broccoli and Sauvignon Blanc”. I don’t think either of use lit candles, but we both commemorated the 10th anniversary of our mother’s death by dining on foods she liked. Dark bread, white wine, and green leafy vegetables.

On my brother’s recommendation, I watched the documentary Shoot Me, about Elaine Stritch, who just died last week, and was almost exactly the same age as our mom – 89. Stritch was born February 2, 1925 in Detroit; our mom February 22, 1925 in Cincinnati. You can get the movie on Netflix. Stritch was a lot like our mom. I decided after watching that in some parallel world, our mom might’ve been Elaine Stritch – Ruth was a another Midwestern girl who could belt out a song and tell a great story. But somehow Elaine ended up on Broadway – and at the Carlyle – and Ruth ended up in Pittsburgh a doctor’s wife with two kids and president of Southwestern Pennsylvania League of Women Voters, and a 35 year career as a medical librarian, that began when she was 40. And drinks at the Carlyle, when in New York City.

Funny how it all works out.




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A just about perfect summer Monday dinner

First thing this morning I drove out to the clinic out by West Towne with the urgent care that opens early, to get stuck for my thyroid pill blood test, and on the radio they were saying it was going to be the hottest, humidest day of the summer.  By the time I got home from work, it was 80° inside so I turned on the AC.

We ate leftover zucchini casserole, leftover stuffed squash, and cucumber tomato salad for dinner, with long rise no-knead bread to soak up the juices – everything either microwaveable or cold.

Leftover Zucchini Casserole

Leftover Zucchini Casserole

Tomato Cucumber salad

Tomato Cucumber Salad

I read a couple of people’s tomato-cucumber-salad recipes, and here’s what I came up with. Peel, seed and slice one medium to large cucumber – I had a medium one plus a hunk of another. Core and cut 3 slicing tomatoes into chunks – I like to cut them in half, then wedges, then cut the wedges each in half. A few very thin slices of sweet onion – I had Walla Walla from my CSA box – that’s where I got the cukes too. Whisk together 2 teaspoons sugar, a spoonful of Dijon mustard, 2 TBLS red wine vinegar, and 3 TBLS olive oil, and pour it over the salad. Grind in kind of a lot of pepper, and a few good pinches of kosher salt, and toss it all together. We ate it on a bed of argula, and bread was definitely called for for the juice.

The played this Beck song over the closing credits of True Blood last night; I had to listen to it with Roky Erickson’s Starry Eyes – Sorry eyes, Starry eyes. Got both in my iTunes now.

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Saturday – Sunday

Saturday breakfast: Late summer veggies are coming in at the market – no corn yet, but broccoli, zucchini & summer squash, cherries, sun gold tomatoes.


Sunday breakfast: Potato-broccoli scrambler with bacon and toast and all the fruit we bought at the market:

Fried potatoes and broccoli before adding eggs

Fried potatoes and broccoli before adding eggs

Sunday dinner – gonna eat these Costco strawberries over vanilla ice cream, with some streusel leftover from this peach pie, that I baked separately and cooled and stuck in the freezer:

Costco strawberries

Costco strawberries

Sunday sundae

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What did I cook this weekend?

Summer food, mostly. Rach has been here since Monday. I’m trying to remember Monday night … It was freezing at the beginning of the week. Usually I wash my hair and in the summer, shave my legs, on Sundays, but I didn’t get around to until till Tuesday this week – it didn’t matter, because it was so cold I wore leggings Monday, anyhow. Oh I remember – Rach wasn’t getting here until after dinner, so Mark and I had sandwiches, I had the crazy summer sandwich, and he made a more traditional ham one from his supplies upstairs. And leftover pasta salad from our German house guests visit, and chips on the side.

Stuffed squash

Stuffed squash

On Tuesday, I spent the day biking back and forth across campus in and out of rain to get to four site visits for my students. The first one was at the downtown Madison Public Library, then Ag Hall on campus, Forest Products Lab, and finally UW System Administration. Then I came home and made stuffed squash. Really simple filling – used some Italian sausage from Pecatonica at the market, leftover rice, and onions.

On Wednesday I had class, and I was planning to come home and make a microwave s’more for my supper, but Mark had returned from his day in Chicago, and gotten pizza, so I had two slices and the last beer from the fridge downstairs – Wisconsinite, from Lake Front.

Thursday I was going to make the zucchini & chicken casserole from my  Pittsburgh Great Tomato Patch cookbook -

- but I just got home too late. It’s a recipe that I’ve kind of un-packaged-food-ified. It’s supposed to have stuffing mix, and cream of chicken soup, and margarine. I use home made croutons, or cubed bread, and sauce with a roux, usually chicken or mushroom. As I was biking home, I was thinking, “Now what do I have and what should I buy? – should I stop at Trader Schmoes and get some hunk of meat or fish?” In the end I stopped at Joe’s (Regent Market) , and bought a small can of corn, and a jalapeno. I made kind of calabacitas, the New mexican side dish, with zucchini, corn, onions, jalapeno, all sauteed together. I put in chile powder, and we rolled it up in flour tortillas with grated mozzarella, and that was a pretty good dinner.

Friday was one of my work at home/vacation days – I am not going into the office on Fridays this summer. I biked over to E. Wash to meet a contractor, to see about getting some some odd jobs done over there – although one of the jobs is turning into a deck rebuild, instead of just a fix it up quick. So I got in a nice long bike rid to start the day. I’m having trouble seeing out of my current Warby Parker glasses, and they’re making grooves in the sides of my head. I called the eye doctor and she said I probably just need new glasses, and I should try getting them made at the Physicians Plus optician that;s connected tot eh eye clinic. So Mark and I went out there to look at glasses, and of course I ordered a pair that’s going to be almost $600. John was in an accident with the Outback in Chicago on Tuesday the 9th, someone ran into him, and it took a little while, but their insurance is going to pay 100% so I am getting my deductible back. Completely faulty logic, but made me feel like I had the money for new glasses.

We also indulged in a little Costco shopping – Mark got an iHome for the Chicago apartment, I got stuff like skinless boneless chicken & hamburger meat for the freezer. Warning – theme arising here – Deb buys food, other people buy other stuff. Came home, did a little more work, put together the zucchini casserole, stuck it in the oven on timer, then off to get Rach for our girls’ afternoon out. We hit up Greenway station, J.Jill & DSW, got iced coffees, didn’t see much we liked. We stopped at Willy St. for the bathrooms, and of course I picked up a few groceries there, too.  Then came back towards home for the sidewalk sales at Hilldale. I must’ve looked at 20 pairs of shoes, but the only thing I bought was the groceries. Rach got an orange shirt she’d been coveting for days. I went over to give her girlfriend approval for the purchase – it really fits perfectly – so I was in the store when she was getting rung up for the shirt, telling the saleswoman we were out shopping and I got groceries, she got the shirt. And I felt like, “Yea, Deb looks like she got the groceries, you got the clothes.” I was wearing a white t-shirt over a play skirt, and looked much closer to dumpy then svelte.

Home and ate the casserole for dinner with Mark and a salad – it came out a bit soggy because of using bread instead of croutons, but an OK dinner nonetheless. And decided NOT to go do anything else that evening – a big Friday for the middle aged.

On Saturday, I bought two pairs of shoes from Zappos, to make up.

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Kinda nice

I kind of like these shots of my small plates. At least if School Woods is now in my basement, I should get a nice pic or two out of it.


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House Guests


Ribs - I can't remember which ones are our pig


Peach Icebox cake from Fine Cooking


Peach pie from July 6th, after we got home from Prairie Home 40th


my plate after eating muffin


Toni's little sister's plate - she had been eating lightly all weekend, and ate two muffins


Toni's dad, Mathias


Toni's mom, Anya


Toni, last Sunday breakfast at our house!


Last of creamy cukes on toast - Sunday afternoon snack, that I ate with knife & fork and the New York Times mag - but I only read the first few pages.

Our AFS student Toni stayed a little longer than the rest of this school year’s students, because her family – mom, dad, and little sister – came to pick her up and now they’re traveling in the US for about 2 weeks. Even though Toni is leaving, we are now entering into a period of hot & cold running house guests. Toni and her family left today, Sunday. Tomorrow, Monday, Rach gets here, and Tuesday the dad of a neighbor down the street, who is visiting from New Zealand, arrives for a 5-week stay. He’ll get Toni’s room, Al’s old old room. We put Toni’s little sister in Rachael/John’s room. Then when the New Zealand visitor leaves at the end of August, Megan is moving in for the school year.

Toni’s family arrived Thursday evening. I got my CSA box that afternoon, and I got more cucumbers and zucchini and summer squash, so I made a pasta salad and creamy cucumbers, Aunt Harriet’s cucumber salad, which is just cucumbers with a dressing made of sour cream& sugar. I seeded and salted the cukes, which makes it better, I think. It can have onion too – I got a Walla Walla sweet onion in the CSA box, so this batch did. I put out bread and cheese and salami and sliced tomatoes, and we ate a light supper out on the deck. There’s a lot of pasta salad left – not sure what I’ll do with that.

On Friday, I got up and walked, and our guests were up wanting breakfast before I had time to meditate. I biked to the bagel place and got a dozen bagels, and that made a good Friday breakfast, with fruit. I’m trying to remember what I had to do on Friday – I know I needed to clean up email, and read student journals, and various other work things. I had a couple of cooking projects for supper – parboil the ribs (thank you Anna Alberici, for teaching me the most reliable method to cook ribs, when we were both cooks at Ovens of Brittany. Boil them with onions, Worcestershire, soy sauce and garlic, then drain, cover with sauce and bake); make the potato salad; make the peach icebox cake. I had to go get a mammogram at 4:00, too. Tipi was selling extra basil, and I got some of that Thursday – 2# for $20 – so it was in its box in the basement waiting to be processed.

Everybody else went off to tourist, and I kept busy here at home. I went to the mammogram, it was remarkably painless this time – hope that’s not a bad omen. And stopped at the Peck’s farmstand in the shopping mall parking lot, and got a quart of local strawberries, and a couple of tomatoes. Then home and got the rest of dinner together, interspersed with email and logging into my online course to read student work, and check the discussion board. Dinner was ribs, collards with peanut sauce (another recipe to post, Real Soon Now™), the potato salad, and peach icebox cake. After dinner I turned all that basil into pesto. The 2# yielded close to 2 quarts of pesto – I have  three cartons with about 2 – 2 1/2 cups in each in the freezer, plus about a cup of basil/olive oil puree – ran out of cheese.

The Art Fair on the Square was this weekend, so on Saturday, instead of going to the downtown market, we went west. I biked over and had completed all my shopping – beets, carrots, Farmer John’s parmesan, potatoes – by the time everyone else got there by car. I was volunteering at the art fair from 11:30 – to 3:30. Which was kind of fun. I booth-sat for four artists – 2 photographers, a jeweler, and a ceramicist. I think I liked the jewelery the best of the four.

When I got home, I took Toni’s parents and little sister out to the airport to get their rental car – she stayed home to pack. Toni got the better deal – getting the car took way too long. It had been her dad’s persistent question all weekend, “when do we go get the car”, “they said between 4:00 and 6:00″, “maybe I should call”. And we all said if they said between 4:00 and 6:00, let’s just leave here at about 4:00 and it should be ready when we get there. So we actually got there at about 4:45, and they said they weren’t expecting us for an hour, and we probably waited a whole hour for the car. I drove over and sat in the cell phone lot, so I wouldn’t have to pay to park. Anyways, they ended up with a giant Nissan Pathfinder – I said you won’t even need hotel rooms with that.

Home quick to change and they bought us dinner at Otto’s – which was quite pleasant. Toni’s dad and I had the seafood grill,  Mark, Toni and her sis had the duck and Toni’s mom had the pasta. Came home and stayed up a little too late baking a loaf of long-rise bread that I’d started in the morning. I had a notion that I’d make egg sangwiches & potatoes for Sunday breakfast, but it was too early for that much food, so I made blueberry muffins instead. They bought blueberries and raspberries at the Saturday market. We had the fresh bread for toast, and muffins and fruit.

Mark had to go to Chicago for the day, to deal with apartment so he left first. I saw Toni and her family off, then I had the whole place to myself. Toni had organized well and before she left, she showed me exactly what was in each of the piles in her room. I filled the recycle bin, and got the backup bin out of the garage. I washed endless loads of sheets & towels, and took the trash out twice, but everything’s ready for the next house guests.

I still kind of ran out of Sunday – I got some work done, went for two bike rides, and got the rooms tidied up – still have to put the clean sheets on Toni’s bed. I made a greens & goat cheese pie I have to deliver to one of my students when I do her internship site visit tomorrow – she was the highest bidder for one of the two pies I put in the SLIS silent auction. Savory pie tomorrow, chocolate cream for the other high bidder next week. But now it’s 10:40, and I’m still trying to write this post, ad I haven’t washed my hair yet. Oh well, I guess there’s still Monday morning ….

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Just because


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4th of July

Is done – even the Google Doodle is back to World Cup, instead of Americana.

We grilled but just for three. Brats, broccoli & potatoes, and I made a farro, herb & cucumber salad, trying to use some of the three pounds of cukes that I got in my CSA box, and the slightly browning sprig of basil. The broccoli grilled up fine – but it was not the bunch I would’ve picked out for myself, if I was selecting from the produce display at a grocery store or market. It had some yellow buds and one or two black squishy spots I had to trim off, and it was stemmy. But that made it good for grilling.

I took a bunch of bad iPhone pics of the Shorewood golf course fireworks. Here’re a few – more soon – maybe they’re here.


farro salad topped with cucumbers & parsley leafs


farro salad, w/o toppings


Broccoli & taters ready for the grill


To extend the holiday weekend, we went to the Twin Cities for the Prairie Home Companion 40th anniversary show, on the lawn at Macalester College. It was fun – lots of good music, Gillian Welsh (who I just learned via twitter & this blog, did the album cover for Robyn Hitchcock’s new one that I intend to buy myself as a birthday present in August) & Dave Rawlings, Heather Masse & the Wailin’ Jennys, Howard Levy, but the harmonica player, not that Howard Levy, the actor – oh, duh, he’s Eugene; Old Crow Medicine Show – I think I’m a new fan, a couple of black women soul singers, The Steele Sisters, Iris Dement, (actually a lot of the performances are on YouTube, but look for the official ones); one of the best weather days of the summer; bathrooms in the gym so you didn’t have to use the port-o-potties. There were food trucks, and we got tacos for dinner. I had one fried chicken, that was kind of fish taco style, with slaw & jalapeño ranch dressing, and one with black beans & queso fresco – Mexican cheese that’s kind of like feta. The corn tortillas were a lot better than the ones I can get in Madison – less crumbly, smoother and more rollable. Again, more pics on the way.

Prairie Home 40th

Prairie Home 40th

Our spot - thank you, mom for buying the chairs, however many years ago

Our spot – thank you, mom for buying the chairs, however many years ago

The lives of the cowboys will not be heard tonight...

The lives of the cowboys will not be heard tonight…

No cowboys

No cowboys

No cowboys tonight

No cowboys tonight

Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings

Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings

After the show we checked into our hotel, a Hyatt Place. We wanted to get ice cream, but ended up at Luce instead. The same place Al & I ate when I came up in winter 2013 to get his tattoo worked on, and thought I lost the car keys.

I’m feeling bloaty and blocked up after all this travel, so I just got a spinach salad. I got a dinner size – shoulda got the small. It’s got dried cranberries, toasted pecans, and blue cheese, and was a little overdressed. I’m sure Al & I split the same salad last time. While eating it I was thinking it was one of those restaurant tricks, where you think you’re ordering the healthy choice but a couple slices of pizza might’ve been less calories than the salad. If I ate the whole thing, anyways – I left a bunch behind.

Spinach salad at Luce

Spinach salad at Luce

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Disconnected in Vegas

So Las Vegas for the librarians’ conference was a trip. I am glad I experienced the place. Some of the interior spaces were incredible – like the inside of the Venetian and Mandalay Bay. And we had some very good, but expensive meals. I think my favorite was Thomas Keller’s Bouchon. But Border Grill (Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger) was good too, woman-owned, and the least expensive of the lot. We also went to the Las Vegas outpost of our favorite Washington DC tapas joint, Jaleo – José Andrés. And the old fashioned steak house we ate at Friday, the Barrymore (no named chef), was actually the highest priced dinner of all – $100 each.

Picking your way through the crowds of tourists was annoying, and playing spot the librarian was different, harder somehow, than usual. Mark figured it out – so many tourists in Vegas, 20,000 librarians don’t even make a dent.

I liked riding the monorail, but I got really tired of the sappy promotional tape by Monday, delivered in a coy female and male voice, “early settlers of Las Vegas were just trying to get from water hole to water hole – just like today’s monorail riders who wouldn’t dream of being stuck in traffic in a cab when it’s always happy hour … somewhere.”

And the connectivity sucked – even cell phones didn’t work so well, and Mark couldn’t receive my texts most of the time. So additional stressful navigating a stage city without Google maps, and out of touch with loved ones.

In retrospect I probably should’ve gambled, just a little. Maybe craps, or some cards – even roulette – those are the things my Dad liked. But at a real table, not the machines. I could’ve just bought like $25 worth of chips and seen what happened.

Oh, yea, and I saw Jeff Bridges with Lois Lowry, because they’ve made The Giver into a movie that will be out in August in time for my birthday. But the past ALA president who was doing the interviewing was as annoying as the tourists. She kept breaking the rule laid out by Cory Doctorow when we saw him speak at a prior ALA. Before he took questions he said, “OK, one ground rule: 3 minutes of exposition with a question mark tacked on at the end is not a question.” He didn’t say but could have, that’s just you showing off.

Here finally are all my pics, random Vegas shots, wedding chapel, dancing waters at Caesar’s Palace, and a trip to Hoover Dam. I think little camera (my Canon S95 Powershot) is broken. A couple of Sundays ago when photographing brunch I inadvertently turned it on when it was lens down on the counter, which made the lens mechanism try to lift the entire body of the camera, and that seems to have gotten stuff outta whack. Just another thing on my fret list. Photos here include a weird shot of shadows and my fingers while I was trying to decide if little camera’s lens was OK while we were at Hoover Dam.

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