Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tomato Ricotta Tart, fresh from the garden

It was a hot, humid, tropical morning. The kind where I already had one shower under my belt and was getting ready for my next. The Mister was hauling away some branches he had cut from low hanging trees, and I was to be on look out for the township building inspector who was scheduled to stop by and check on some of our living room construction. I had just finished picking berries and my skirt was stained with enormous red splotches- like maybe I had been butchering chickens. So as I stood sweating helplessly in my bloodied berry-juice skirt, that was the moment the building inspector pulled into the driveway. I smiled, made some jokes and invited him inside. Within two minutes of his visit, the poor guy managed to step on our weakest floor board, the one that promises to drop you down underneath the house. "That's okay, we do that all the time," I told him truthfully, and he chuckled. Then he pointed out a wall we had torn down but forgot to tell him about and asked about some of our other rooms. Overall, the inspection went very well, even though a puddle of sweat was forming at my feet. The inspector signed off on our permit and said he'd be in touch by phone.

Which reminds me that we are still without phone and internet service, a situation that is supposed to be remedied by a repairman today. Meanwhile, the garden is nearly weed free, squash is ready to be picked, and a many pints were processed this weekend. Here are some other things we have been enjoying...

A lovely display of sunflowers and canna lilies in the front garden.

Peppers, tomatoes, and what is left of the corn.

Not bad from one seed, and there is plenty more between the rows.

For supper we had this delicious and suprisingly filling Tomato Ricotta Tart, which is actually a family recipe created by my cousin's cousin (who is a very good cook.)

You need: a 9-inch spring form pan (that thing you use to make make cheesecake.)
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk or skim ricotta
a handful of fresh basil
a small package of either frozen spinach or cut broccoli (defrosted)
1.5 lbs. beefsteak tomatoes (or one large one)
coarse bread crumbs
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, italian seasonings and a little olive oil

Preheat over to 450

Grease the bottom and sides of your spring form pan well. Press your bread crumbs (I used Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs, but you could make some coarse ones in a food processor with your own bread, and it would probably work with your plain old garden variety bread crumbs, too) into the bottom of the pan. This is your bottom crust. In a food processor, mix the ricotta, basil, eggs, parmesan, and seasonings together. At this point you can either add some spinach or broccoli to the mixture. Spread the mixture evenly over the crust. Finally, place thinly sliced tomato slices over the filling and brush with a little olive oil. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until edges are browned. Let it sit for ten minutes before unmolding. At this point, you can brush the top with a little more olive oil, and if you want to be fancy, garnish it with basil. Serve with a salad for supper.


  1. So happy to have you back, girl!! I hope your weather cools off just a tad to give you a good breeze. Just out of curiosity, will we see any pictures of your renovation?? I love things like that and I hope you're taking lots of before and after pictures. Have a good Monday ~

  2. Nice canna lilies. Mine never sprouted.

    I have baked tomatoes on things before, but it most often tastes a little sour. Is that normal? I'm find with them mixed in chili or whatnot. Just the sliced in what I bake.
    The picture looks yummy, though. :)

  3. CWJ- Sour? No, they should not taste sour, just slightly acidic. Oh, and I'm amazed the canna lilies bloomed since someone gave us the bulbs as a gift and I had NO idea what I was doing.

    Beth- If I'm still blogging in four years, then perhaps I'll post some pictures. But that is the projected time frame for finishing this project.

  4. Had to giggle at the "bloodied berriness" and the inspector putting a foot through the floorboard. LOL

    That recipe sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing hun!

    God's Blessings,
    Amy Jo

  5. Hi Monica.. just checking in to see what is happening.. And to tell you your whoopie pies are so good.. I haven't been able to keep up at the stand.. I'm so busy tired and don't have time for anything..I canned and picked and case of blackberries today..
    I can't beleive how good your garden has done..Deer are still enjoying mine..
    Your canna plant is the same color as mine. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures.. I hope your renovation will go great..
    off to get your pumpkin whoopies recipe I hope I can find it..
    BLessings SIster Brenda

  6. Acidic? Bitter, sour, tart. Don't they all mean about the same thing? Regardless, I have two tommies for supper tonight. Just what I need.

  7. In my humble opinion, sour, bitter and tart are all the same thing, but acidic is different. The difference is, I can stand something acidic!

  8. Wow, that looks SOOOOOO good!!

  9. Man, that looks SOOOOOO good!

  10. I have two corrections to make...sorry!

    1) I'm actually your cousin's half-cousin's-once-removed wife...not to be nit-picky or anything.

    2) I didn't really create the basic recipe. Someone on the staff of "Food" magazine did, but I came up with the seasoning additions and the ideas for putting broccoli, spinach, etc., in it.

    But it really is a good recipe, and one I love every summer when the NJ tomatoes are at their peak.


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