Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Saucy little tart

Last minute Glamour Table by MT Designs!
I love a night that starts out as nothing and turns in to something, you guys.  You know what I mean, right?  Those nights when  you really have no major plans, but then a pal stops by or you get a phone call to “come right over!” and before you know it the candles are lit, the jams are jammin’ and you’re nipping and noshing your little hearts out.  Maya Angelou has said a lot of important and searing things that resonate with me and make me take notice, but this was the first many, many moons ago:  A woman should have eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal that will make her guests feel honored.”  I believe it!*

So, I make sure to always have my certain kind of essentials on hand in the fridge.  These include but are not limited to:
  • Bubbles!
  • White wine! (A good one for drinking.  A cheap one for emergency risotto.  Or emergency drinking.)
  • Butter!
  • At least two cheeses! (Always a Parmigiano-Reggiano and usually some sort of exciting goat or sharp cheddar.)
  • Sparkling water!
  • Olives!
  • Nuts!
  • Chocolate chip cookie dough!  (In college I was obsessed with always having a frozen pie handy.  Just in case you came over and really, really needed pie.  Y’know…as you do.)

What's black, blue and rasp berried all over?
In any case, it’s pretty much guaranteed that if you show up on my doorstep, I’ll be able to feed you and get you sufficiently pickled.  I can always cobble together a quick dinner and/or some sort of cheese and cracker surprise.  And I can always, ALWAYS throw together a sweet treat.  I keep my cookies handy because, really, is there much better than a freshly baked cookie straight out the oven?**  But I also almost always have the goods to throw together one of my favorites: the tart!  Ah, The Tart!  I love me a damn tart, you guys!  I make ‘em fruity.  I make ‘em savory.  I make ‘em chocolatey.  I make big ones and teensy ones.  I love the satisfaction of popping those suckers out of their little fluted pans so, so much.  Seriously.  I have been on a tart tear lately (again) because berries have been so delish.  So in the last two weeks I’ve made some sort of version of a lemon-berry tart no less than 5 times.  Lemon blueberry, lemon blackberry, Meyer lemon raspberry, lemon blackberry-strawberry-blueberry-raspberry.  You get the idea.  They’re sweet and tarty (DIRTY!) and so, so good!  I think everyone should know how to swank it up with a tarty surprise. So I’m going to share my favorite go-to smart tart recipe with you.

Baby blueberry tartlette!
That link will take you to Everyday Food’s Strawberry Tart recipe.  For years I have used it for the basic springboard to endless combinations.  If I’m making something citrusy, I add zest to the crust and curd to the filling***.  Sometimes I go really bonkers and add curd AND a berry-corresponding jam****.    Apples mean cinnamon and spice and everything nice go in.  Chocolate means cocoa powder and mascarpone instead of cream cheese.  I halve the recipe, I quarter the recipe, I triple the recipe.  I’m not even kidding around.  The possibilities go on and on. 
Make one!  Maybe someone fun***** will come to call!

*Though there has been a casualty recently and I’m down to 7 matching dinner plates.  Dang!
**Yes there is.  And it’s a freshly baked cookie straight out the oven with a big fat plop of ice cream on it.  Testify!
***Until it’s sufficiently puckery.  I like a good sexy muthapucker, you guys.
****It’s totally true.


  1. Sue...........I love you! You said everything that I long to do..........have last minute dinner parties and always be ready with some sort of munchie or sweet treat and definitely wine. And the table.........oh how I long to set a beautiful table.....but rarely do. You inspired me! But first Im coming on over to your place! Cheers!

  2. Love you, Nic! And I can't take credit for that pretty table...my pal Megs threw it together. So pretty! Come over anytime and I'll set my table for you, though! And make you a snack! xo

  3. I ate that tart! Yummmmmeeeeeee!

  4. I used to love those dang Sara Lee frozen cherry pies! My boys think that Auntie Tata is the best entertainer due to our breakfast M & Ms and cookies on the couch over cartoons. Gotta love going to Pomona Ave!

  5. CWitt: One of my always faves!
    Bethie: I love those boys! And getting them to say "hair pie". Auntie Tata is such a good influence...love you! xo