how to make: a French tomato pie

Tomato pies are ubiquitous here in South Carolina, but what should I fall in love with in Rouen, except a French version of the Southern staple?

french tomato pie

Longing for France, as I do, I made up my own version of the dish: more zucchini, less aubergine (eggplant)–appropriate for August in the South in so many ways.

2 zucchinis, chopped

1 onion, chopped

28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning, divided

1 Tablespoon Parsley

4 oz fresh goat cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs

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Heat oven to 375 degrees, mix together breadcrumbs & 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning.  Combine vegetables, crushed tomatoes and the rest of the seasonings in a baking dish.

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Drop goat cheese on top of veggie mixture, then add breadcrumbs on top.



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Bake for 35 minutes or so, until bubbly, remove from oven and let cool till just warm–the filling will firm up some, and the flavors will meld.

inspired by lunch special at Dame Cakes, Rouen, France.

Happiness List

Deep in a dance party of one last night, I was inspired to share the epic playlist.  My mind moved at lightning speed, wanting to share, too, the eyeglasses which just arrived (having almost posted a status yesterday–before coming home–that Warby Parker was holding the keys to my hope.  I eventually decided it was a little too stark.) and the menu for the Margaritas & Mexican party I’d just cleaned up.

Further, beginning the discipline of enumerating the highlights of each week might help my resolution to focus on the good, the true, and the beautiful (as psychologist friend told me this week, “we see what we want to see”–it’s much easier for me to see negative, bad, gloomy things).

So, without further rhapsodizing, my first happiness list, for the last week of July 2014:dance party cover

1. DANCE IT OUT playlist (via spotify) It’s heavy on mid-2000’s anthems.


warby glasses

2. these new glasses, arrived from Warby Parker yesterday, squee!


3. the fail-safe margarita recipe (recommended: make in batches of 8 servings–as shown below)

12 oz  fresh-squeezed lime juice

12 oz tequila

8 oz orange liquor

2 oz agave or simple syrup

(add Emily’s version–coming Monday–of Pioneer Woman’s Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork, and PW’s Tres Leches Cake, and you’re rollin’!)

how to make: blueberry treats

20140723-165548-60948313.jpg It’s July.  They’re lots of blueberries bopping around.  For myself, I was taken in by an enormous $7 carton last week.  When I looked in the fridge over the weekend and saw a mostly-full container of almost-shrively little berries staring back at me, I grabbed flour, sugar, eggs, and my favorite blueberry recipes to take matters into my own hands (literally!  ha ha). Continue reading

how to make: croissants

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After returning from France, I was desperate to continue many of the delicious culinary habits I’d learned, one of which was a steady diet of croissant and coffee in the morning (okay, not every day, but at least with regularity!).  It will not surprise you that Columbia, South Carolina, is not a haven of French patisseries.  So the self-described intrepid baked set out to recreate the dream herself.  From scratch.

There’s no way (that I’ve found) around the three-day process, but the time is worth the reward.  No one day demands very much time–the first day is easiest by far (the mixer does all the work!)–and each day’s activity, while unique, is meditative.  The entire process is both mystical and deeply calming (yes, making croissants is starting to sound like a spiritual experience.  I wouldn’t deny it).

I found and followed this recipe, with much success.  However–as aforementioned, I was making the delicate bread in an especially hot and humid climate, things which significantly affect the moisture of dough, the activity of yeast, and therefore, the finished product.

So, I started again, adjusting the recipe’s ingredients to account for a significantly warmer and moister environment:

1 lb. 2 oz. (4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
4 oz. (1/2 cup) cold water
5 oz. (1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs.) cold heavy whipping cream
2 oz. (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs.) granulated sugar
2 Tbs. soft unsalted butter
1 scant Tbs. active dry yeast
2-1/4 tsp. table salt

For the butter layer
10 oz. (1-1/4 cups) cold unsalted butter

For the egg wash
1 large egg

All the directions are the same, but the liquid amounts vary from the original recipe from Fine Cooking; below is the quick-and dirty narration–do consult the real original recipe for actually attempting croissants!

Day One: assemble dough, cover and refrigerate.

Day Two: Make “butter layer,” fold up in the dough like an envelope, and roll…

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Day 3: Roll again, cut, form, proof…

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Bake–and if you’re not eating them ALL immediately, wrap ’em up in foil for the freezer (highly recommended!  Each one I’ve eaten out of the freezer–heated at 350 degrees for 10 minutes exactly–has been absolutely perfect).photo 2

kale salad

not interested in turning on the stove?  me either, these days–summer makes me dread anything that would add even a degree to the temperature inside my house.



As long as you’ve already cooked up some farro (I make a double or triple batch at once) and toasted some almonds, this salad is totally free of any heat-emanating device, and it’s the lunch and dinner that’s both virtuous enough and delicious enough that we eat it by the bagful:

  • 8 oz (or so) kale (original recipe via smittenkitchen calls for lacinato, but I use anything) chopped up or torn up–into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup uncooked farro = 1 1/2 cups cooked farro (in a pot with water, boil till the grains are tender; drain)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 oz feta, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds, heavily toasted
  • 1 small shallot, minced (or 2-3 green onions, sliced)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons chopped dill


  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Dump all the ingredients into a big bowl; pour dressing ingredients into a small jar or covered container, shake vigorously, pour over ingredients–mix everything well.

Because the kale is strong, this can sit in the refrigerator for a few days; because it is so delicious and balanced, it won’t last that long