A few nights ago I was flipping through the channels of our TV. Tom was, as always is currently the case, upstairs working on his thesis, Soeren was in bed and I was too lazy to play around in my studio. I wanted to check if there was any coverage on the Olympic games, but instead landed on a channel showing makeovers – the before and after of various types of people!
I find that the people who actually allow total strangers to completely redo their look and style quite brave. OK, I know that these strangers are supposedly professionals at what they do, but still, I do not think I would let anyone start dying my hair blond because they thought I would look younger and more stylish!
Well this was an extreme makeover show. While there were some people who could only benefit from a makeover (not being nasty just truthful), I was rather horrified at what the “professional” stylist and visagist was actually advising and doing to others. I watched, stumped, as they took a cute 20-something year old girl and cut off her long brown hair, short, really short and then dyed it blond! There was nothing feminine about her new look, and she had specifically requested a very feminine look. They then went on to apply pink, blue and gold war paint on her face, making her look like Barbie gone wrong.
When she was finally unveiled to her boyfriend I could only laugh at his reaction and relate to his bewilderment.
There was a drastic makeover happening in my kitchen too. What started out to be a traditional tarte flambée ended up as a stylish and colorful tart.
August always brings basket loads of tomatoes for me. Not that I grow them myself but moreover from friends, neighbors and my main source – my mother-in-law! As I opened my crisper I was dazzled by the colorful array of yellow, orange, gold and red tomatoes. That is when my makeover started.
Although tomatoes are available in supermarkets all year round, there is nothing more wonderful than biting into a seasonal vine ripened tomato grown between July and September. Forget those awful crunchy greenhouse tomatoes from Holland, if you’ve been down to your Farmer’s Market lately you’ll see lovely local tomatoes just waiting to be picked.
They vary in size, color and type. They can be red, orange, yellow, purple, or even brown. Although botanically seen, tomatoes are fruit; however, they don't have the dessert quality sweetness of other fruits. Instead their subtle sweetness is complemented by a slightly bitter and acidic taste. Cooking the tomatoes tempers the acid and bitter qualities in tomatoes and brings out their warm, rich, sweetness.
Tomatoes are very popular when it comes to low-calorie living and therefore, they naturally lend themselves to health-conscious cooking, being sweet yet low in calories. They are loaded with all sorts of health benefits for the body, making it a highly versatile health product. Furthermore, due to their equally versatile preparation options, one should not neglect the tomato as part of a healthy diet.
The most well known benefit in a tomato is the Lycopene content, which is a vital anti-oxidant that helps in the fight against cancerous cell formation as well as other kinds of health complications and diseases. Free radicals in the body can be flushed out with high levels of Lycopene. The tomato is so amply loaded with this vital anti-oxidant that it actually derives its rich redness from the nutrient.
As Lycopene is not a naturally produced element in the body, the human body requires sources of Lycopene in order to make use of this powerful anti-oxidant. Although other fruits and vegetables do contain this necessary health ingredient, no other fruit or vegetable has the high concentration of Lycopene that the tomato takes pride in.
Selecting & Storing
As tomatoes can ripen after picking it is advisable to purchase tomatoes at various stages of ripeness, then use the ripest tomatoes first. Examine the color of the tomatoes as those that are the deepest in color are the ripest. The deep color also indicates that it has a greater supply of the health-promoting phytonutrient red pigment, lycopene.
Select tomatoes that are firm, glossy, smooth and plump. Avoid those that are soft, bruised, cracked or otherwise damaged.
Ripen tomatoes at room temperature. Sunlight is not necessary to ripen fruit, and placing tomatoes in the window is not recommended. They could become overheated which prevents good color and flavor development and increases the chance of decay.
As tomatoes do not ripen any further in cool temperatures do not place them in the refrigerator unless they are fully ripened.
Fully ripe tomatoes may be stored in the refrigerator for two to three weeks. They will lose some color and flavor, but will still be good to eat.
Partially ripened tomatoes should be fully ripened at room temperature before storage in the refrigerator.
As my tarte flambée redo evolved I decided a bit of green would make a lovely contrast to the orange, red and yellow of the tomatoes. Fresh baby spinach with a hint of garlic and sour cream gave me the perfect flavor base to work with.
Printable version of recipe here.
250g + more whole wheat flour
Pinch of salt
750g mixed tomatoes, cut in slices - smaller ones in halves and cocktail tomatoes leave whole
200g fresh spinach, blanched
1 garlic clove, minced
150g sour cream
Crushed red peppercorns
Fresh cracked pepper
Coarse sea salt
Pour approximately 125 ml luke warm water in a bowl and dissolve the yeast in it. Add the flour and salt, then knead into a smooth dough. You can use the kneading hooks of your electric mixer, however, I find one gets a better feel of the consistency when kneading with hands.
Grease the bowl and place the dough roll. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, heat the olive oil and gently sauté the garlic and cayenne pepper. Add the blanched spinach and cook for a few seconds to allow it to infuse with the spiced garlic. Then spoon in the sour cream. Turn off the heat and mix the sour cream in. Set aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 240 degrees C. Divide the dough into four portions and on a floured surface roll out into thin circles or longish ovals.
Place each on a pizza tray or a baking sheet. Spread the spinach mixture on the dough and then lay out the tomatoes generously over the top. Sprinkle with some fresh cracked pepper and a good drizzle of olive oil.
Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Take out and sprinkle the crushed pepper and sea salt.
Serve with a chilled white wine.
I like my makeover. Even though it's quite drastic I think it was a huge success. This was summer packed on a tart. The wonderfully sweet and aromatic tomatoes were not only a colorful feast for the eyes, but made each bite pure pleasure. The combination with the slightly sharp and garlicky spinach really played off the flavors wonderfully.
You might like these tomato dishes from WFLH:
From around the blogs:
- Pico de Gallo from Homesick Texan
- Tomato and goat cheese tart with thyme from Nami Nami
- Baby spinach salad with cherry tomatoes by Ahaar
- Sourdough sun-dried tomato rolls from Jugalbandi
Daily Tiffin Reading Tip:
- Are you raising a picky eater? by Dharm
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