Cooking is mostly a solitary, weeknight activity for me. At day’s end, I shut down my computer, turn on Classic FM, and start preparing dinner alone. There’s peace in the preparation, satisfaction in the finished product, and joy in sitting at the table with Andy to eat it when he comes home. But I had forgotten how much I loved cooking with friends until I had the chance to cook with my fellow food bloggers Becky of The Vintage Mixer and Sabrina of The Tomato Tart, the result of which was an impromptu “Tart Off” and this Tomato Tapenade Tart.
It started innocently. I told Sabrina that while we were together I wanted to make a tomato tart with The Tomato Tart. But we are two very different cooks and as we made a shopping list, it became clear we had very different ideas of what our tomato tart would be. While in the grocery store shopping, Becky suggested a ‘tart off’.
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of friendly competition, but not long into the so-called ‘tart off’ it became evident that neither Sabrina nor I had a competitive bone in our bodies. We were just making tarts, together on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Salt Lake City.
We spent the afternoon lovingly preparing these two tarts. Helping each other, learning from each other, taste testing and tweaking with each other. Becky called a friend to see if he’d come over and help us eat the finished products. He arrived early, with craft beer, and joined in the fun. There was music, streaming sunlight, the scent of roasting tomatoes, and the kind of ‘getting to know you’ conversation that seems to flow most easily when you’re wearing an apron, forearm-deep in flour.
I was completely in awe as I learned to make pie dough from Sabrina. She was unflappable with the unwieldy flour, butter and water mix. She had even thrown in a bit of spelt flour for good measure. I asked her how many batches of dough she had made over the years. Countless. These are the moments when I am grateful for the food community – that I don’t have to learn to make pie dough from a book, article, or video. I can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a friend and learn.
The end product was gorgeous. Here are Sabrina’s mini galettes and my tart: same or similar ingredients, but such different results. That night we feasted on tomato tarts, salad, and local beer around a table filled with new friends and celebrated the difference of our tarts. Mine, creamy and rich. Sabrina’s, clean and bright.
For dessert, Sabrina and Becky whipped up a bowl full of vanilla ice cream streaked with homemade kefir lime-infused lemon curd and topped it with crumbled graham crackers from a local bakery. I thought to myself, how lucky am I? This food, these people, this fun. These are the summer nights dreams are made of.
- 6 cups whole cherry tomatoes
- 1 large onion, halved and sliced ½-inch thick
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 1 heaping cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 medium garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons capers
- ½ cup each: drained ripe black olives and pimento-stuffed salad
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 9-inch piecrust from a 14.1-ounce refrigerated box
- Place cherry tomatoes and onions on a large rimmed baking sheet. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Adjust oven rack to lowest and middle position, set baking sheet on bottom rack in cold oven; set to 425 degrees and roast, stirring once, until just cooked and starting to color, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain off excess liquid and reserve for another use (very good in salad dressing!).
- Mix goat cheese and ¾ of the grated cheddar in a large bowl. Add tomato mixture; toss to mix. Adjust seasonings and cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, mince garlic in a food processor. Add capers; pulse to chop. Add olives, vinegar, and oregano; pulse to chop again. Turn into a medium bowl; stir in remaining ¼ cup olive oil.
- Roll pie dough to a 14-inch circle and press into an 11-inch tart pan. Spread half of the tapenade over pastry, top with all the tomato mixture, drizzle remaining tapenade over the tart, and sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese. Bake on middle rack until bubbly and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, slice, and serve.
Becky at Vintage Mixer says
you girls are too much fun!! I wish we could do this more often. The fresh tomatoes, flakey & buttery crust, loud laughter, and even the smoke filling the kitchen, made for a incredible memory!
Pam Anderson says
And I wish I had been there to enjoy the camaraderie in the kitchen and the connection around the table. I’d would also have loved to watch Sabrina make pastry dough. Next year maybe!
Family Foodie says
Oh how fun! I loved reading this post and wish I could have been there! Those tarts looks amazing!
Mal @ The Chic Geek says
This looks absolutely beautiful and so yummy!
Oh, how wonderful! I love this story, the coming together of friends to cook – and the different versions of tarts that resulted. Such a beautiful thing, Maggy.
Oh Mags. I loved this. What a fantastic day- a perfect weekend. Becky, thank you for all the arranging and string-pulling.
MJ & Pam, you would both be welcome in my kitchen any time.
Love that last pic of you and Sabrina – you gals are so cute! Sad I missed this… would have loved to make tomato tarts with ya’ll… they look so yum!
Samantha Angela says
WOW, that looks gorgeous!
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says
Mmm this sounds so good!! Love this idea!
I want this. For dinner. LIke now.
Brooke @ Food Woolf says
Oh my goodness I love you so much. What lovely writing and beautiful photos of what looks to be some pretty amazing food. Love that you got to learn, have fun, and prod each other on to learn more about the food you eat. Hugs and kisses to you and Sabrina!
Meseidy @TheNoshery says
I love both tarts! They are so beautiful. I suspect they are reflective of you personalities. It’s great when you can have an impromptu “tart party” with friends.
These tarts look delicious! The perfect recipe for all the tomatoes ripening on my window sill. Thanks you two.
These look fantastic! I can’t wait to make both of them. I’d love to join both of you in the kitchen sometime. It looks like too much fun.
I have one word to say: “DELICIOUS”. I made this tonight with cherry tomatoes from my garden and I only replaced the goat cheese with feta cheese and it turned out perfect. The creaminess of the melted cheese and the sweetness of the tomatoes and onions was mouthwatering! Thank you for such a great recipe