Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Summer Abundance

How sweet I roamed from field to field, and tasted all the summer's pride.”
~ William Blake

My little urban backyard container garden is beginning to yield its summer bounty. This week I picked all of the tomatoes and peppers in the photo above from it!

Here is one of my favorite ways to serve fresh firm ripe tomatoes from the garden. I slice them and layer them with large fresh basil leaves and fresh mozzarella cheese, sprinkle with salt and some chopped oregano and pour extra virgin olive oil over all. Served with chewy crusty bread to mop up all the oil and juices this could be a lunch entree or a dinner side dish.

The Proud Italian Cook blog has some wonderful ideas today on how to prepare an abundance of summer vegetables in a vegetable torte, as well as two other delicious recipes that are not to be missed. Go over and prepare to be impressed!

I also have a fig tree, raspberry bushes and strawberries growing in containers in my backyard, but they never yield more than I can use for a few days at a time. My husband and I did go a little overboard at Costco this weekend, however, and we bought large packages of cherries, strawberries and blueberries. How could we resist, when all the fruit looked so good and the prices were the best we've seen all season?

My solution was to make both a blueberry and a strawberry tart! I used the same easy blueberry tart recipe I already showed on my blog in July, and I prepared the same easy crust recipe for both tarts.

For the strawberry tart filling I washed, hulled and sliced about four cups of strawberries. In a medium saucepan I combined 2/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and a dash of salt and then added the sliced strawberries. To that I added 1/2 cup water and 2 tablespoon of lemon juice, and cooked all over medium heat until it came to a boil.
(At this point you can taste filling and add more sugar if you feel it needs it.) Pour into prepared chilled tart shell.

Both tarts were baked in a 375 F oven for 50 minutes.

The strawberries hold their shape better than the blueberries, so you don't have to add more berries on top for presentation, as I did for the blueberry tart. I sprinkled some confectioners sugar over both.

You can serve these with a dollop of whip cream or ice cream over each serving, but they are wonderful just as is. Delicious, and a good way to use up an excess of berries yet still enjoy their fresh fruit taste!

Isn't summer grand?
Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. ~Henry James


Rosie's Whimsy said...

That is a bounty! I can't believe you get so much from your container garden......very cool, Pat!

Betsy said...

Oh, yum! I'll be over for lunch and some dessert! :)

steviewren said...

Mmmm, I would love a bowl of this beautiful healthy salad and a piece of crust bread for lunch. And a slice of blueberry tart for dessert please!

I am sad today....I made a homemade chicken salad sandwich for my lunch and left my lunch sack on the kitchen counter. UGH! And I thought I was being so efficient today!!!

BumbleVee said...

how weird that someone scolded you for using their blog lists.... is why we put them on the sidebar isn't it? feel free to browse mine some day..I put up some that I like and hope others will find them interesting as well....

the other "Vee",

Jeanne said...

Pat, I am drooling over the fresh veggies and the tarts. Boy, you are energetic today. I am in Raleigh today delivering the last of my grands. Ahhh peace and quiet will be a nice change.. We won't be home until Sunday. Some else is cooking besides me.. I'm loving it!!!

Take care, Jeanne

Janeen said...

Greetings! I'm a newbie to your blog as Cori G... left a message on my blog and mentioned you. I enjoy meeting new people and your blog is lovely! I love all your photos! What a fun time! Have a wonderful day and I look forward to returning to see all your new posts!

Mary said...

We had a Caprese Salad last night! I was telling my husband that we need to buy a share in an organic farm so that we can have fresh local veggies all winter. I think the salad may have convinced him! LOL

I wanted to say thank you for taking the time to vote for my photos in the contest. You are such a sweetheart!
BTW, I'll be over soon to help eat those fruit tarts!

Beverly said...

Pat, I believe I would love some of each. You're being so smart. I just might become motivated. But, I'm not sure - it is so hot here. The thought of turning on the oven just makes me cringe. I better stick with the tomato and mozzarella.

Pat said...

Hi Rosie! I love my little garden but I have to be diligent about watering it all the time!

Besty -- I wish you could come over and bring the boys too!

Steviewren -- Oh no! I wish you could have gone back home to get it. It won't be good if it was left out of the frig all day ;-(

Bumblevee -- when Vee bought that up it reminded me that I didn't think I did a bad thing --I thought that is what blogrolls were all about! oh well.

Hi Jeanne! Enjoy your trip and safe travels!

Hi Janeen! Welcome! I loved your virtual tea arty and I knew Cori would enjoy your blog very much too.

Mary -- Good luck in the photography contest! I loved your photo --very creative and a gorgeous shot!

Beverly -- I don't even have air conditioning in my kitchen so no needs a sauna in this weather? The tarts are worth it though!

Tara said...

Hi Pat

Put the tea on, I want a slice of both, please!!

Dana said...

I just adore your posts, Pat. If you aren't telling us about wonderful NY spots, you are filling our eyes with delightful culinary treats and leaving thoughtful quotes in our mind!

Willow said...

Hi Pat, Thanks for visiting my blog! Your summer abundance looks yummy!

We used to go to the Renaisance Faire in Los Angeles County back in the 1970s! Loved going to it!

Picket said...

Oh girl.your produce is beautiful..don't it make you feel so good to grow something yourself!!! Thanks for coming by can find free backgrounds at that web site in that little square at the top left of my header...cutest blog on the thingy...they have some beautiful ones and even have seasonal ones!

Alex said...

ooooooooooooooooohh, those tomatos look so grand!! :) I love them sliced with a little salt.

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Pat,
All of your crop looks great! You have lots more than I do...I get too lazy about the watering, and usually don't grow very good tomatoes!
I still can't believe you don't have air hot is it there?

steviewren said...

I'm here for my second visit of the day. And the first thing I did was scroll down and take a look at your playlist...Summertime. You are the creative one! I'm thinking that salad would be good for my dinner too! My sandwich went straight into the trash when I got home...: (

Your picture of your summer bounty is so pretty. Very nice.

Strider said...

I wish you'd stop posting those delicious looking foods at dinner time!!!! My wife and youngest daughter are in SC visiting our son and his family. I ate oatmeal for dinner! But if I close my eyes and imagine, I can taste the tomatoes in all their glory!!!!

Pat said...

Tara -- I'd love to have tea with you!

Dana -- thanks my dear!

Willow --welcome and please visit again.

Picket -- Thanks! I might get brave and change my layout one of these days :-)

Alex -- I love them plain with salt too!

Diane -- I only have air conditioning in my bedrooms, and ceiling fans everywhere else. The heat usually doesn't bother me but this has been a long hot summer. I'm ready for central air but my house is almost 100 years old so "no can do"!

Steviewren -- I thought you might have to throw it away...too bad! Thanks for the compliment about the music ...sometimes playlist has just the right song when I search by theme.

Strider -- LOL! Men can cook too

Robyn said...

OMGosh! That is some yummy summer goodies! WOW great photos! Thanks too for coming over and saying hello! It was fun seeing you there!

M.Kate said...

You know Pat, we have 365 of summer all year round. There is no season changes as it's either hot or too bad, we can't experience those wonderful seasons changes. My kids have never seen snow :( Well, congrats on the blooming garden! I love your salad! which I should be eating my very poor attempt to lose weight! Happy weekend to you, hugs :)

LOUISE said...

Hi Pat, remember you tagged me for six random facts a while back, well I have done it! Your produce looks amazing and you have far more in your containers than I have growing in my garden. The recipe for the tomatoes is one I shall try, I am going to have a glut of them very soon. The tarts, well what can I say apart from cream on mine please. x

Naz said...

Yum...everything looks delicous!

Tracy said...

Oh, but I'm hungry now, Pat! Your tomato-mozzarella salad and pies are calling me...Happy weekend as you delight in your splendid abundance! ((HUGS))

GMG said...

Hi Pat! 2008.08.08 is a very special day for Blogtrotter. So, before I start commemorating, let me just tell you how much I appreciate your comments on my blogs! Thanks a lot!
Have a great day and a wonderful weekend!

Rue said...

Hi Pat :)

The colors from the garden are amazing! That Caprese salad and those tarts looked so yummy, I'm going to make them this week... yum!


Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

You have my mouth watering.
My favorites!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Summer IS grand Pat! and so are all your beautiful photos of summers bounty! (really nice photo's!) I love your urban container garden, just look at all the goodies you have, and the salad you created, well you can't get better than that! Except now I have to try your strawberry tart, for sure!!!! Thsnk you, my friend for the mention, hugs to you!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Ooops!! Apparently I can't spell Thanks! :)

Gina said...

You have done so well Pat..what a healthy and yummy looking yield!
Your 2 berry tarts look divine...I'm posting my fave tart to make here this week..luckily it's cherry!
Have a wonderful weekend..I have given you an award on my blog today!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, my gosh! Yum, yum, yum!


Wendy said...

That's quite a harvest! Hope you are enjoying this perfect summer day in NYC.

Lavinia said...

Summer is good and your bounty is so parsely did not do well in a container. Next year I'll give it a go in the ground.

I've enjoyed exactly the kind of tomato salad you describe, but I prefer the tanginess of feta cheese to go with it...absolutely right about the crusty is essential!

An Enchanted Cottage said...

Oh my gosh, I am drooling over your tomato/basil/mozzarella salad and your blueberry and strawberry tarts!! Your food photos are always AMAZING, Pat!! You should write a book on container gardening!...Donna

Lisa B. said...

Those tarts look sooooo yummy! Would be perfect with my coffee right now!
What a wonderful garden you should be very proud of yourself. Your produce looks beautiful.
I think container gardens are the perfect size for two.
The tomato dish looks very tasty!