There are some people on this earth who age gracefully.
They might have firm skin, a gorgeous thick head of salt and pepper hair that really does look stunning in its own right, wise-beyond-their-years eyes that maintain a bit of a captivating twinkle.
And you know just from looking at them that they are the kind of old folk who are generous with their wisdom. Who accept help from their children graciously. Who not only recognize but embrace their limitations and allow themselves to be taken care of for once.
And then there are people like my parents. Who, I can already tell, shall be aging belligerently.
My siblings and I have so much to look forward to.
You see, they've taken to conspiring with each other to hide from us anything that ever goes wrong with them medically. So they "won't worry us".
If someone could explain to me why you would keep your daughter who has MEDICAL TRAINING out of the loop when, sure, she might not know exactly what is going on but she'll at least know the right questions to ask, that would be excellent. Because it's beyond me.
And as a result, my brother and I have to rely on our little sister, who still lives at home, to be our eyes and ears. Which means we get texts from her saying that our father's "door" is swollen and that he didn't go to work or get out of bed all day. So then we have to stare at our phone's keyboard for about twenty minutes trying to figure out what letters she could have possibly mistyped to result in the word "door" only to finally elicit from her that door=foot in teenager typo language and DUH we totally should have known that. Yup, she's really a fount of insider information.
I can't wait for the day when I have to take away their car keys. That's going to be fun and not world war three-like at all.
Call it planning ahead, but I fully intend on breaking the chain in this belligerent aging cycle and being the picture of old age grace.
And I'm going to start by eating tarts. Lots and lots of tarts. Because is there anything more picturesque than the image of an old(er) lady sitting down to lunch with a cup of tea and a nice healthy delicious piece of tomato tart to go with it? I think not.
In truth, this tart is actually part-quiche, although with the rich flavor of the roasted tomatoes in it and the light cornmeal crust, it doesn't feel quite as heavy as one. And it's perfect for keeping summer tomato season alive while we still can!
(PS - See below the recipe for a review of Whole Foods's new dosateria and lassi bar!!)
Serves 4, adapted from Cooking Light August 2012 and Elly Says Opa!
For the crust:
- 3/4 cup cornmeal
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp melted butter
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4-1/3 cup milk
For the tart:
- 2.5 oz fontina cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
- 1/3 cup sliced shallots
- 3 heirloom tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp cornmeal
- 1 tbsp thyme
- 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 cup reduced fat milk
- 1 1/2 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 3 large eggs
For the crust:
- To make the crust, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, butter, oil, and salt and pepper. Add a little water/milk/broth until you get a dough that will stick together a bit when pinched (sort of like a graham cracker crust). Press the mixture into the bottom of a 10" tart pan and set aside.
For the tart:
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Sprinkle crust with fontina, olives and shallots. Arrange half of the tomato slices over the shallots. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal and thyme. Top with the remaining tomato slices. Sprinkle with 3/4 tsp salt and black pepper.
- Combine the milk, parmigiano-reggiano, and eggs in a small bowl. Pour into the tart pan.
- Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until set. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Last Wednesday, I was invited to test out the new dosateria and lassi bar that just opened in the Whole Foods in Tribeca. Given that my roommate has been bemoaning the lack of good dosas in this city for almost as long as I've known her, I knew that there was no way I could turn this opportunity down. So off to Whole Foods The.Boy. and I went on a dosa-tasting expedition!
For those who don't know, dosas are basically large fermented crepes made out of rice and lentil batter that are stuffed with all sorts of delicious fillings, and are typically served as street food in South India. The Dosateria at Whole Foods offers an array of filling options, ranging from traditional turmeric tomatoes served with a green chili coconut chutney to more fusion-esque pulled butter chicken and brie with mango chutney. There are also some breakfast-specific options for the early morning crowd. In addition, you can order your dosas a la carte, choosing from either a dosa, uttapam (open-faced dosa...more like a tostada with a pancake bottom), flatbread or rice bowl base, an array of fillings, and any of their many chutney toppings.
The.Boy. and I were given an array of items to try, each of which was absurdly delicious. He got the butter chicken with brie dosa that I mentioned before and positively fell in love with it, which says a lot considering that he is typically not a fan of Indian food. I got the asparagus uttapam, pictured at the top right, which was full of flavor and the biryani bowl with a vegetable medley, which I couldn't stop eating even though I was positively stuffed. Jessica, the PR agent for Whole Foods NYC who set this whole thing up, also kept us company and ate with us. She got the Bollywood Chicken dosa, which is kind of a tex-mex version of a dosa stuffed with chili chicken koftas, roasted onions, queso fresco, avocado, and a wasabi avocado chutney. From the speed with which she devoured it...I can infer that it was pretty damn good.
We were also lucky enough to get to try two of the lassi flavors - mango and avocado green chili. The mango tasted as good as I hoped it would but it was the avocado green chili that really blew me away. Listed on the savory portion of the lassi menu, it was definitely still sweet but with a bit of a savory kick from the chiles. A really nice twist for the taste buds.
In all, I was super pleased with my whole Dosateria experience and would definitely recommend it to anyone who finds themselves in and around the Tribeca Whole Foods! And for those of you who are in other states, Jessica let it slip that although this is the first Dosateria to be opening up, there are plans to open up more in other Whole Foods, so start badgering your local Whole Foods manager about it!