Heirloom Tomato and Red Fife Galette

I hate it when people apologize for not posting regularly.  And yet, here I am ... in the same position.  I haven't posted in a while.  A long while for me.  Let's not consider this an apology but merely an explanation.
I'll give you the full run-down shortly via it's own post but we spent the last few days travelling to/from and hanging in and around Montreal.  It's a favourite of mine.  I lived there for so many years it feels like home.  The kids and I decided to go because D was off to Germany to perform in a festival and we were back here kicking around.  It seemed like the right thing to do.  I was fully prepared to post while I was there.  I had the food prepared, I had the pictures ready... I was taking pictures.  However, I just assume that the matrix is always there, around us, easy to plug into and out of.  Not the case always.
Let's just say that if you're not in your own space, if you have two kids that aren't exactly ok with their parent sitting in an internet cafe for an hour at a time, if you are enjoying leisurely dinners with extended family, if you are taking walks around quiet little islands, if you are driving for 6 hours at a stretch... then getting a post out gets, well, challenging.  I did not rise to the challenge.

I hope that it doesn't happen again because I had so much to tell you.   Things like:

This is quite possibly the biggest tomato I have seen in my life.

This is most definitely the only tomato I've encountered that is multi-coloured on the inside.

Goat cheese is amazing stuff.  End of.

Too much tomato is never ever a bad thing.  It's uses are endless.  I could probably get a whole jar of salsa from this one tomato but I couldn't bear to do anything to it that would mess with it's beauty.  It is just simply beautiful.  The taste is incredible.  It was even better roasted, with some thick green onion and goat cheese nestled in there.  I would eat this warm or cold.  A beautiful lunch with some greens on the side.  A lovely picnic choice.  Or a fantastic seasonal 'thank you' gift to your hosts ;-)

Heirloom Tomato and Red Fife Galette adapted from '20somethingcupcakes'
serves 4 - 6

3 cups (or so) sliced fresh tomato (not too thick but keep the slices as uniform as possible)
1 cup chevre (goat cheese)
1/2 cup green onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly chopped
drizzle of olive oil

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup red fife flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
2 tbsp sour cream or plain yogurt
2 - 4 tbsp cold water

Combine the flours and the salt.  Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or two knives until it forms crumbly looking little balls.  Add in the sour cream/yogurt and 2 tbsp of the water.  Use your hands or a wooden spoon to mix enough for everything to form a cohesive ball.  If you need the extra water then add it in.  Chill if you need to (cover with clingfilm or something) but don't chill for long (15 - 20 minutes is more than enough) or give it lots of time out of the fridge before you roll it.
Roll it out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8th of an inch thickness uniformly.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet (I used a round pizza sheet) with parchment or some kind of non-stick thing.
place the rolled dough onto the parchment.
Using about half of the goat cheese place in little tsp sized amounts over the dough, leave about 2 inches free at the edges.
Place the tomato slices over the goat cheese, overlap the slices as needed.
Add the remaining goat cheese in little tsp sized amounts over the tomatoes.  Sprinkle with the green onion and fresh basil.
Fold up the edges of the dough just over the filling.  Crimp and overlap as needed but it should be rustic looking.  Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the top.
Bake for about 35 - 40 minutes.  The dough should look slightly golden at the edges and the tomato should be nicely roasted.
Cool for about 15 minutes or eat at room temperature later... or eat cold.  Your choice.

Raspberry Buttercream Icing

You know me and my books.  I've got hang-ups about reading my books in the order that I get them.  It's just a thing.  I don't know why but it's my thing.  My BFF KT tells me that I read serious books a lot.  History, Politics, Environmental whathaveyou. For the record, I do read fun books sometimes too.  I've read all the Harry Potter books.  I've read 'Game of Thrones'.  Among some of my recent 'fun book' favourites is this series.  The accents read perfectly and Vish Puri is a fantastic character.
However, I've also been reading this book recently.  It's quite light in comparison to this book which made me want to build a bunker in the woods and wait for impending doom.  Joel's book, though light, has an edge.  This is no slouch.  This is a man who is a farmer as a vocation.  It's a calling.  He loves farming.  He loves the soil.  He loves the animals and he loves the life it provides him.  You feel that love in each page he writes.  You can also feel the depth of his frustration and his desperation to see the system, the system that we now call 'the food industry', change.

One chapter that has challenged me more than any other yet (I'm not finished reading it of course) is the one about energy.  He writes in depth about how cheap oil has changed how we think about expended energy.  When you can afford to pay for gas or oil.  When you don't have to think about where to get that gas or oil.  When you don't have to wonder if your horses can make it up that hill with their load or through the snow or whatever it is... well, that changes how we feel about energy in general.  We don't wonder about the energy that it takes to get from here to there, to make those plastic containers, to make our garbage disappear, to feed cattle in a factory farm all that shipped in grain... etc.
I decided that I'm going to make an even deeper effort to stop using the car.  Now I don't use it for much but I know that there are quite a few instances over the course of say a month where I could easily hop on my bike to run that errand or get the kids wherever.  We've got a bike trailer and Kid #1 is old enough now to keep up with me on her own bike.  So... off we go.

Our first trip of the year together on our bikes is downtown.  We're going to the bookstore and then to my BFF's house to watch the Olympic opening ceremony... and bring her some belated birthday cupcakes.  Just in case you were wondering, bike trailers don't have shocks per se.  They don't absorb the bumps like a car would so when you want to transport the lovely cupcakes with fresh raspberry cream icing you might also want to consider a better mode of carrying them than your tupperware cupcake holder.
FYI -  it doesn't work.  And you get very stressed out.
FYI #2 - your cupcakes will be completely sideways and/or upside down before you are anywhere near your destination.
FYI #3 - if you put them in the fridge after that the icing will stick to the tupperware and not back on the upside down cupcake.
FYI #4 - just go ahead and listen to your gut in the first place and carry the icing separately and ice them when you get there
FYI #5 - fortunately none of this affects the taste of the icing one little bit.
Another life lessons learned.

Raspberry Buttercream Icing adapted from 'SweetSavoryLife'
makes about 3 1/2 cups

1 cup butter (the higher the fat content the better) at room temperature
3 - 4 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup(ish) fresh raspberries, roughly mashed.

Beat the butter until it's a cream glob (just a minute or so).
Slowly add the icing sugar (if using a mixer turn down to 'low' speed) and once it's all added then mix more vigorously.
Add in the mashed raspberries.
Mix until everything is creamy, there are no lumps, and spreadable.
Spread or Pipe over a completely cooled cake or cupcakes.
Freeze whatever is leftover.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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