I currently have two gardens: the one in my backyard, and the one at my friend Diana’s house. Here at my house I have a couple of healthy tomatoes, some lettuce, kale, canteloupe, summer squash, bush beans, eggplant, and cilantro that are all doing well. But, as I said, I have a shady yard so the kitchen garden is a bit of an experiment for me. My hands-down favorite garden vegetable is the tomato, which really needs a fair amount of sun. Because I feared tomatoes wouldn’t do well in my shady yard, I decided to join forces with Diana who has a sunny yard but also has an infant and needed help with the garden.  Everything is growing really well over there. The tomato plants are absolutely bursting with several heirloom varieties, and in a couple of weeks we are going to have our hands full; I can’t wait! As you can see we’ve already harvested a few, in addition to some herbs, lettuce, beans, and nasturtium (which is edible; a light peppery flavor, great in salads). I’m already contemplating what to do with all the tomatoes we’ll have. Let me know if you have any good ideas. Tomato sandwiches and tomato tarts come to mind, but I’m open to suggestions.

On Wednesday I picked up some sugar plums from the farmer’s market that were beautiful and super sweet with a deliciously tart skin. I forgot to take a picture before I cut them up and put them in a plum tart, but take my word for it they were beautiful. I enjoyed this tart with some friends who came over last night; by the time I took this picture we’d already eaten half of it. The recipe below is from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks: Simply in Season. It’s a cookbook commissioned by the Mennonites, and as it says in the preface, is a cookbook about “foods that are fresh, nutritious, tasty, and in rhythm with the seasons.” I’m not a Mennonite, but I’ve enjoyed many recipes out of this cookbook. We served the plum tart with ice cream and it was delicious.

Plum Tart

Shortbread Crust (see below)
1 tbsp tapioca (optional) but highly recommended; I didn’t use it and the tart was pretty watery
small blue plums (halved and pitted) mine weren’t blue; just use what you have
3/4 c. sugar yes, this is a lot; you could probably cut down on it, but I promise it’ll be darn good if you use the full amount
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Sprinkle tapioca on the unbaked crust. Arrange plums in the crust, cut side up, (I actually misread this and did them cut side down and it turned out fine), making slightly overlapping concentric circles starting at the outside. Fit as many plums into the pan as possible.
Mix cinnamon and sugar together and pour over the plums. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees until plums are soft and filling is boiling, about 45 min. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with whipped cream.

Shortbread Tart Crust
1 c. flour (may use up to 1/3 c. whole wheat pastry flour)
1/3 c. butter
2 tbs. powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl, mix together until crumbly, with no pieces bigger than a pea. Press into a 9 in. pie pan or tart pan. Bake in preaheated oven at 425 until golden, 10-12 min. Cool. Fill with favorite berry or other fruit filling. (note: for the plum tart the crust does not need to be baked ahead of time)

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