Tomato Tart for Dinner…and Other News

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The other night, I decided to try out a recipe for the first time in the newly remodeled kitchen (we are still waiting for the tile to come or else I would show you more pictures).  Since I had a platter full of homegrown tomatoes on the counter that desperately needed to be made into something, I decided on the Tomato Tart out of the Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook.

Yes, it’s the rather distressed looking book on the top shelf.  Or should I say dog-eared?  That would be because Emma P. Buttercup decided it was good enough to eat one evening.  I know the cover looks scrumptious, but really, Emma?  IMG_4475 - Version 2

My copy is particularly precious to me because it was a gift from Brent and Josh, the so-called Fabulous Beekman Boys, founders of Beekman 1802.  In case you have forgotten, I met them in 2011 at the Country Living Fair in Atlanta when they admired my wreaths.  Last year, I was thrilled to be asked to make special wreaths for their holiday website and they have graciously asked me to do it again this year.

Anyway, Josh wrote me a lovely inscription and I almost died when Emma got ahold of my book. Mercifully, she did not eat that very important page.  Whew.IMG_4476 - Version 2But now, on to cooking!  The Tomato Tart is so incredibly yummy that I have to share it with you.

Here is the page with the recipe on it.IMG_4473 - Version 2

First up is making the pastry crust.  I am not a Cordon Bleu quality chef by any stretch of the imagination (that would be the husband) but even I was able to tackle this.IMG_4461 - Version 2All you do is roll out a thawed (but still cold) puff pastry sheet to about 10 x 15 inches.  Put it on a parchment covered baking sheet.

Then, you score it around the edge and prick the middle part all over with a fork. IMG_4462 - Version 2

After that, spread a tablespoon of olive oil over the pricked part.IMG_4463 - Version 2

Got it so far?

Next, get your ingredients together:

1 cup whole-milk ricotta, drained

4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled

2 large eggsIMG_4464 - Version 2

1/3 cup of chopped fresh basil

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plus 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper.

Mix all this good stuff together in a large bowl. IMG_4467 - Version 2IMG_4468 - Version 2 IMG_4469 - Version 2

Spread your mixture over the center of the puff pastry sheet.

IMG_4470 - Version 2 Then take 3/4 pound of fresh tomatoes, cored, halved, and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices

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and top your pastry with them.  Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over it and voila!IMG_4471 - Version 2Bake your tart in a preheated 425 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the good stuff in the filling is set.IMG_4472 - Version 2

This is how mine looked when I took it out.  Gorgeous!IMG_4479 - Version 2And the taste?  Holy cow was it ever good. Here is what the husband thought, “It tasted like a beautiful cloud that floated around in my mouth, full of joy.”  I swear, that’s exactly what he said.  It really made me laugh. IMG_4481 - Version 2

Don’t worry, I have no intention of suddenly turning this into a cooking blog but since I had not surfaced in a while, I thought it might be nice to share this one yummy thing with all of you.

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We are still plugging along, trying to keep husband on an even keel and out of the hospital.  It’s pretty much a full-time job between dialysis and doctor’s appointments.  We are getting very, very close, though, to officially being listed with the University of Virginia for his double transplant.  When I spoke with them yesterday, they felt that something would happen quite soon.  It is a pretty darn scary prospect, that surgery and the recovery, but to continue on as he feels now is simply not an option.  I’m trying to get all my ducks lined up in a row for when we get that phone call – we will have to be ready to go immediately.

I still have not been able to get back to work, the house is still under construction (but almost finished!), and I have had to withdraw from the Country Living Fair in Columbus this month.  I am holding onto the slim hope that I will be able to make it to Atlanta in late October but time will tell.  In the meantime, I expect to get back out to the workshop (hopefully) as early as next week – hurrah!

I have had such nice correspondence from some of you that I am very, very grateful for.  I am keeping a list of who wants me to make them something this year.  If you would like something, just send me a line.  I appreciate everyone’s understanding that what happens is pretty much out of my control right now and that I will do my best to make whatever I can as I am able.

My mom is not doing well.  At 93, she is starting to fail and because Patrick has been so ill this year, I have been unable to visit her since January.  Last week, I managed to make a quick, one-day run up to see her.  I surprised her and it was a lovely, if exhausting, day.  I’m hoping to pull another one off soon.  The clock is ticking; I can’t quite wrap my head around it.  It all seems just too overwhelming right now.

But I took Emma with me for company and we got out for a nice long walk down the lane while Mom had a nap.  It was an incredibly beautiful late summer day, with not an ounce of humidity in the air.  I felt lucky indeed to be able to call this beautiful place home though I have not lived there for 40 years.  And home, I think, is what it will always be.

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Happy New Year From Home

DSC_0084 - Version 2This is home.

The place where I grew up.  It is on the beautiful Eastern Shore of Maryland.  My parents’ house is to the right, out of the picture.  I took this picture late in the afternoon as  I ventured out for a chilly New Year’s Day walk in the woods.  You are looking across our little creek down the Tred Avon River.

I grew up on a farm surrounded by the woods, water, and fields.  Pretty perfect if you ask me. My grandparents’ house is on the point which is on the upper left side of the picture.  It is named “Auburn.”   My grandfather named it for the color of my grandmother’s hair.  I always thought that was lovely.  He bought the place in 1920; the original house dates back in part to the 18th century.  It was built in 3 stages, the last one being in the late 19th century. It was practically falling down at the time he purchased it but he renovated and restored it.  My sister lives there now.

My Dad was born at Auburn and when he was a little boy, he would camp out on the point of land opposite from his parents’ house.  When he married my mother, they built their house, “Pintail Point,” right there.  It’s surrounded on three sides by water.

BHT ice skating 1958 - Version 2This is my father ice skating on the creek in 1958.  Mom knitted his sweater.

I’ve had a lovely ten days at home spending time with my mom who, if you have been following this blog for a while, you know will be 92 later this month.  After the intensity of the fall, it has been so nice to just chill.

I thought I would share some of what I saw on my walk.

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Reflections of a beautiful wintry sky and bare trees in the water.

DSC_0065 - Version 2A reflection that makes me pause for a moment and just be still.DSC_0096 - Version 2

Dreamy marsh grass in its winter color – or lack thereof.

DSC_0086 - Version 2Dead leaves and sticks, and patterns in the sand at water’s edge.DSC_0094 - Version 2A water-beaten tree stump and footprints made by my companion, Emma P. Buttercup.DSC_0085 - Version 2

She left her mark here, too.DSC_0051 - Version 2

Out of the woods and heading out the road toward the sun.  There’s Emma on the right in the shadows.

DSC_0098 - Version 2Canada geese winging it toward the water.

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And more of them, hundreds of them taking flight.

DSC_0053 - Version 2A peek up at the sky through the trees as we walk down the lane.

DSC_0106 - Version 2My Dad built this bench for the garden years ago.  At a certain point, he moved it midway down the lane so he could rest for a moment.  He used to walk out to the county road to get the paper every day; it’s about a half mile perhaps.  I still walk it every day when I am home, too.

My father died in June 2011.  He was the greatest guy in the world.  Every time I pass his bench, I say hi.  I believe his spirit is often there.  DSC_0110 - antique fadeBeautiful winter light in the woods.

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Sun going down.

I came back to Richmond yesterday afternoon.  It is always so hard to leave.

Perhaps you can now understand why that is so.

IMG_1175 - Version 2A blanket of snow to see me off.

Happy New Year, everyone!  May 2014 bring you many joys. And a place to call home.

For My Sister

Nanny's  Wreath ©Glittermoon Productions LLC

This is Nanny’s wreath.

I wanted to do something really special for my sister this past Christmas so I made her this wreath as her big gift.

She has an awful lot on her shoulders these days and since I live several hours away, there is a limit as to how much help I can be.  Since our Dad died in 2011, Nanny has more than just her own house, business, and 3 girls to take care of.  She not only sees to the care of our Mom (if you read my last post, you know our 91-year-old Mom had a stroke just before Christmas) but to a myriad of other interests that our father always took care of.  It’s a lot to contend with and I am so grateful that she is there to take care of it for all of us.  I don’t know how she manages, quite honestly.

I had such a good time making this one.  I wanted it to be fun with references to what we liked as kids but without it ending up being juvenile.  We led happy, charmed lives as children and Christmas was the pinnacle of the year.  It was almost Dickensian in its splendor.Detail of Nanny's  Wreath ©Glittermoon Productions LLC 7

I started with this goofy Santa.  The minute I saw him in a dusty old antiques mall, I snapped him up with her in mind.  This is exactly the sort of thing we loved as kids.  Who knows, we might even have tried to make one like it ourselves.  Somebody, sometime took a plain old red ball and gussied it up with a delightfully homemade face, beard, and hat.  I love it for its homespun look and think about who might have made it.  I hope they like the fact they it has a new, happy home.   Right next to him is a sequin decorated felt reindeer that takes me back.  We would have had this fellow playing with our trolls in an instant.  Detail of Nanny's  Wreath ©Glittermoon Productions LLC 1

This is a little bit of a wider shot of the top.  Can you see the little bottlebrush tree next to the reindeer?  Then there’s the terrific gold ball with the stenciled child riding a broomstick pony; we spent years riding our own stick ponies in addition to the real thing.  There’s also a red Poland ball with a little house to reminder her of home and that fabulous ball in the bottom right corner with the guitar-playing Santa (it is very special and I don’t part with those easily).  He is to remind us of all the music we grew up sharing together.

LIke the Beatles. At the risk of dating myself I will tell you that I remember vividly us sitting in our jammies in front of the black & white (!) TV watching the Beatles make their US debut on the Ed Sullivan show one Sunday night in February 1964.  Now, that was something. Ok, so I digress…

Detail of Nanny's  Wreath ©Glittermoon Productions LLC 2

I had been saving this wonderful 1960’s white plastic Santa with his reindeer and sleigh for her, too.  I added the tiny shopping bag as a touch of whimsy (we do like to shop!).   Of course, there is a host of other great stuff on the wreath, too.  The palette is a traditional one of red and green with dots of other colors to spice it up.  I added fabulous vintage green and gold Doubl Glo coiled garland to sperk things up a bit.

Can you spy the red C9 lightbulb on the bottom?  That’s a nod, with love, to our Dad, who always decorated our fresh-cut cedar tree with those big colored lights.  He especially loved red. Daddy would go out scouting our farm for a suitable Christmas tree months in advance.  On Christmas Eve morning we would troop out into the woods and cut it down to bring home.  We got one for our grandmother, too. Daddy would also get his shotgun out before Christmas and shoot mistletoe down from the top of an oak tree for Mom to make a kissing ball with.  If you have never had a cedar tree for your Christmas tree you can’t possibly understand how prickly they are to try to decorate – it’s torture!  But it looked awfully sweet when we were done.  I admit, though, I was glad when the day finally came where my parents decided to actually buy a Christmas tree – hallelujah!

Detail of Nanny's  Wreath ©Glittermoon Productions LLC 6

In this close-up on the left side, you can see a jazzy jumbo Poland ball with multi-colored dots all over it.  Just above that is tucked a yellow Jewelbrite and to the left of it is a gold plastic bell.  Then there is that great blue Poland with the mica snowman as a reminder of childhood snow days spent out in the country where we grew up. Moving to the top, directly next to the gold stenciled ball, is a clear red glass ornament with tinsel inside – that’s unusual and has quite a bit of age on it.  There are also a Shiny Brite striped bell and a Japanese lantern, too.Detail of Nanny's  Wreath ©Glittermoon Productions LLC 4

Here’s a close-up on the other side of the wreath with some wonderful ornaments including a big swirly teardrop, a fab red ball with a comet, the cool little teardrop-shaped indent, and a green plastic bell.  Up on the tippy top is a Shiny Brite striped top, upside down.Detail of Nanny's  Wreath ©Glittermoon Productions LLC 5

I wanted you to get a really good look at the Shiny Brite musical Santa ornament (I love, love, love it), the comet, and our cozy little house welcoming us home in the snow.

Detail of Nanny's  Wreath ©Glittermoon Productions LLC 3I am going to leave you with this close up of the adorable  little 1960’s elf tucked under the reindeer.  We no doubt played with his cousins when we were little.  But perhaps the most important ornament of all is the red ball just behind the elf with the hearts stenciled on it.  That’s to remind her of me.  Because I made this with love.  Just for her.  I love you, Nanny. Thank you for being my sister.

Time To Get Your Shop On!

Today I had my last show of the season for 2012!   I now am free to get about my own Christmas decorating and shopping.  And I just may be able to carve out some time to make another wreath or two.

This evening, I listed my 4 remaining wreaths in the Glittermoon Cards Etsy Shop.

Without further ado, here they are:

SANTA’S FLIGHT:

A traditional Christmas color scheme of red, green, and white with a marvelous old plastic Santa and his reindeer crossing a dazzling ornament "sky".  Topped with a fab corsage and a gorgeous jumbo Poland ball.  Plus so many other treasures!  Approx. 20" diameter.  $250.

A traditional Christmas color scheme of red, green, and white with a marvelous old plastic Santa and his reindeer crossing a dazzling ornament “sky”. Topped with a fab corsage and a gorgeous jumbo Poland ball. Plus so many other treasures! Approx. 20″ diameter. $250.

EMERALD ISLE:

For the green lover, Emerald Isle is a symphony of many parts.  About 17" diameter, excluding the protruding, drippy bits.  $225

For the green lover, Emerald Isle is a symphony of many parts. About 17″ diameter, excluding the protruding, drippy bits. $225

PINK MOON:

Fabulous pastel pinks and aquas make this a stunner.  Complete with a gorgeous Polish triple-indent topper, a pink diorama ornie at the top, and a pretty white reindeer.  $295

Fabulous pastel pinks and aquas make this a stunner. Complete with a gorgeous Polish triple-indent topper, a pink diorama ornie at the top, and a pretty white reindeer. $295

And LITTLE PINKY:

LITTLE PINKY WREATH ©GLITTERMOON PRODUCTIONS LLC 2012Please be sure to visit the shop and see all my Glittermoon goodies.  Or perhaps whisper in someone’s ear what you might like for Christmas….

Happy shopping!

Think Pink!

It all started with this:I have been in a fever to use one of these fabulous pink jumbo triple indent Polish ornaments as the centerpiece for a wreath.

And here ’tis:A phantasmagoria of a wreath in luscious pinks, both hot and cool at the same time.   It has blues and soft whites mixed in to sweeten the palette.  There are so many treasures making up this wreath.  Let’s look a bit closer.

Left side of “Think Pink” wreath

On the top is an arrangement of fantastic stuff: an adorable aqua & pink Putz house with a frolicking reindeer on the roof and an old figural blown glass Santa centered on a light reflector.  Underneath Santa, we have a sweet Jewlbrite diorama.

Right side of “Think Pink”

And on the top right is another jumbo Poland ornament, this one a teardrop in pink and white with a gold painted floral decoration.  Further on down are lots of wonderful balls in cool tones.  There is a Junior Achievement corsage at bottom right.  It was still in its original wrapper.

Bottom of “Think Pink”

A comprehensive view of the wreath’s bottom half.  I really love the hot pink Shiny Brite ball that has the bell and “Christmas Greetings” stenciled on it.

Detail of the top of “Think Pink”

Here is a closer view of the top.  I had a hard time giving up that tiny hot pink ball with the chartreuse indent.  It’s German, incidentally.

Detail of a bottom portion of “Think Pink”

This is a close up featuring that sweet corsage and the pink Shiny Brite.  But there is also that wonderful scenic ball with the church on it nestled next to another Polish teardrop indent.

Another view of the right side of “Think Pink”

It is hard to single out the treats when there are so many.  I really like the creamy Merry Christmas ball .  That’s a great striped Shiny Brite indent right next to it.

The jumbo Polish triple indent that started it all

And here is that showstopper of an ornament that first got me going.  It is way bigger than my hand.  That’s vintage aluminum garland dripping out from behind it with a hot pink pick to complete the statement.

I’m going to leave you with a final super close-up of old Santa, his reindeer, and the house they are visiting on Christmas Eve.  Look, it is even decked out with a tiny wreath to welcome us in.

“Think Pink” measures about 20″ in diameter but that does not include the drippy stuff or the picks which stick out in several spots.  I think she is a stunner and I can’t wait to see her hanging in someone’s home for Christmas this year.  Perhaps yours?