I often tell you about the past. Instead, let's talk about the future.
Someday, I think, I'd like to open a restaurant. I don't know where. Or when. But I know we'll have white walls and bright windows. Natural wood tables. Black and stainless steel. There'll be a deli and coffee counter and a seated area. Cases to display cakes and pastries, croissants.
And I know what we'll serve. Real food, perfect food. No molecular gastronomy. Nothing fancy. I want to serve foods from perfect moments. Something you can wrap your hands around. Butter and sugar sandwiches. Calvados-brined poussin. Fried smelt with togarashi. Smoked whitefish pate. Venison medallions with cherry port reduction. Rutabaga. Fiddlehead ferns. Morels. Corn on the cob with butter. Strawberries with honey and thyme. It sounds like a poem. I rattle these things off like a rosary. Foods that I like to call 'northern American', things that bring Michigan to the forefront, my midwestern roots, my Scandinavian blood.
I'm increasingly fascinated by seasonality - beyond seasonality, the concepts of cooking the way we've done for thousands of years. To eat the items at the height of their beauty, to pack away for the winter. Pickle and jam. Store in root cellars for leaner times. Dan Barber says in Chef's Table, "the dish will never be greater than its' ingredients." Eat apples in September. Asparagus in May. Tomatoes, perfect tomatoes, in July.
This is one of those things. A perfect food. Memories of tomatoes tumble through. Farmers' markets where I carried six pounds back, carefully scoring and dropping the tomatoes in boiling water. Shocking in ice, peeling to make tomato jam.
recipe adapted from smitten kitchen
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water
1.5 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
3/4 cup goat cheese
1 cup olive oil
2 tbsp tarragon, minced. half reserved to top.
1 tbsp parsley, minced
1 tbsp chives, minced
1 tsp marjoram, minced
Score the tomatoes at the base. Drop in a pot of boiling water for 5-10 seconds and then shock in ice water. Peel. Submerge in olive oil with minced garlic for 24 hours. Whip goat cheese with herbs.
Roll dough to 10" circle. Leaving a 2" edge, spread goat cheese thickly. Place a single layer of marinated tomatoes on goat cheese circle. Sprinkle with minced tarragon. Fold edge up and over, leaving the center uncovered. Brush crust with egg wash. Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.