I'm finally ready for fall.
Yes, I know I whined about it recently, but I've finally accepted that it's here. (As in, the first day of fall is tomorrow!)
I'm sneaking in this fresh tomato tart on the laaaaaast day of summer and savoring every bite.
I rounded up all of the remaining tomatoes in my garden for this tart, and then became obsessed with taking pictures of them because they're SO PRETTY.
Even the inside is pretty. Right? Or maybe I'm just weird.
My little garden has been one of my favorite parts of summer. 4 tomato plants. 4 pepper plants. Basil, rosemary, and mint.
It's been an interesting journey for all of us--the baby bunny that lived under our porch, the snake that ate the baby bunny, the mosquitos, the weird-looking worm trying to eat my tomatoes, the hornets that decided to make a nest on our porch.
We started out with baby tomato plants. My dad, an experienced gardner, told us that we needed to buy 6 foot poles to stake the tomatoes to. We looked at our spindly little tomato plants and thought "No, 5 foot poles will be fine." So we bought 5 foot poles. And by July we had 7 foot tomato plants.
They hung on to those short poles for as long as they could, but then one too many strong summer thunderstorms came through, and I walked out one morning to see all my tomato plants blown over the poles in a sharp V shape. Not snapped, but bent.
"That's the end of the tomatoes," I thought. "It was fun while it lasted."
But they didn't die. They kept producing tomatoes. One day I tried to prop up the top of one of the tomato plants that had blown over when I realized it had rooted into the ground.
I made another mistake by planting the basil in a container that didn't have water holes at the bottom. Thus the rain--from, again, too many thunderstorms--didn't drain out of the pot and overwatered the plant. I went out everyday for a while to try to drain some of the excess water out, but I eventually gave up when the basil made it very clear to me that it was DEAD.
But, about a week ago, I was out picking tomatoes when I noticed 4 little basil plants growing in the ground. In the same area where I had been dumping out the excess water from the potted basil plant! They were healthy, and bright green, with plenty of pick-able leaves.
These are probably everyday occurrences to gardeners or earth-science people, but they were little miracles to me.
This easy tomato goat cheese tart, with its miracle tomatoes and basil, feels like a fitting way to close out summer.
It's been a summer of some really happy moments, but to be honest, some bigger disappointments. Things that I planned and hoped and expected that just didn't materialize.
But this tart, when paired with a glass of cold white wine and a friend to share it with, makes life good.
And these miracle tomatoes and basil remind me not to be so preoccupied with loss that I miss the bright spots right in front of me.
Have a blessed week, friends.
Easy Tomato Goat Cheese Tart
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
8 ounces goat cheese
4-5 tablespoons milk or cream
4-5 assorted tomatoes, sliced
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
salt & pepper
fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 400.
In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, brown sugar, and garlic until sugar is dissolved. Pour over tomatoes. Let marinate for 15 minutes-1 hour as you prepare the rest of the tart.
Prepare a clean surface on your counter. Dust with flour. Use a rolling pin to roll out puff pastry to a slightly longer rectangle. Transfer to a cookie sheet. Use a fork to poke holes throughout pastry, then use a knife to draw a line around the edges. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Use a fork to press down the center of the tart if it's puffy.
Meanwhile, let goat cheese sit out on the counter for a few minutes. Then, add it to a small bowl, along with a couple tablespoons of milk. Use a fork to stir the goat cheese and milk mixture until smooth, adding additional tablespoons of milk as necessary. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Spread goat cheese mixture over tart. Bake at 400 for 5 minutes or until just heated through. Remove from oven.
Carefully arrange sliced tomatoes over tart. If desired, sprinkle with fresh basil leaves and bacon crumbles and spoon leftover balsamic mixture over individual slices. Enjoy immediately!
Tart is best eaten the day of. If you know you can't finish the entire thing, keep tomatoes in a separate bowl and just add to tart before eating. Otherwise, they will make the tart soggy after a day.
- To make gluten-free, use a gluten free puff pastry or pie crust
- Are tomatoes out of season where you live? Try this tart with roasted butternut squash or caramelized onions and sun-dried tomatoes, or roasted mushrooms and brussel sprouts. The possibilities are endless!
- Love goat cheese? check out these goat cheese thumbprint cookies, these whipped goat cheese crostini, or this carrot potato tartin with goat cheese.