I’ll begin with the good news. I spent a lovely weekend at Fall Mushroom Camp, hiking through the peaceful woods on the White Earth Indian Reservation by day and gazing up at a black sky illuminated with millions of sparkling, bright stars at night. The 3rd Annual Fall Mushroom Camp was sponsored by White Earth Tribal & Community College Extension Service. Experienced mushroom gatherers taught our group of 25 campers where to look for bright orange lobster mushrooms, honey mushrooms, chicken-of-the-woods and shaggy manes and specific detailed characteristics to help us identify each kind. My hiking boots put on miles as I became familiar with gills, partial veils and spore prints. The proficient foragers shared their reverence and respect for nature as they taught us how to harvest the edible fungi.
All of the meals were prepared for campers on-site by a trained chef who used the wild mushrooms we had collected from the forest in creative ways. He served up exquisite, flavorful soups, chowders and entrees. I came home late yesterday afternoon with lots of lobster mushrooms and honeys and a realization that I need a warmer sleeping bag if I am going to be sleeping in a tent with temperatures that plunge to 35 degrees at night. Brrrr. I was cold.
It was a refreshing, rejuvenating and educational weekend with not one bit of technology involved. I was totally disconnected from the electronic world. Nature was my classroom. The other campers were my friends. We talked and learned about one another without twittering. It was an amazing weekend.
Now, the bad news. On Friday, before I left for Mushroom Camp, my hard drive crashed. The people at Bemidji Communications tell me I’ve lost everything I had stored on my computer. They are not able to retrieve anything. Photos, recipes, columns — all gone. I do have an external drive that I’ve saved some of my things on, but I can’t really remember when I last did that. I’ve learned a computer lesson the hard way. I am thankful there is so much more to life than what is stored on a computer. And, lucky for me, my husband is willing to share his laptop computer with me while I wait for mine to come home from the doctor’s office.
After preparing not-too-sweet Emma’s Green Tomato Pie with a friend, I was inspired to create a more savory green tomato treat. I took the picturesque baked tart to a meeting of food professionals in the Twin Cities. I knew they would be critical taste-testers and would offer constructive feedback. I heated the baked tart in a 350-degree oven just until the cheese got soft and melted. When the rustic-looking tart was cut into small squares, it became a delectable warm appetizer. It would also make a wonderful meal when paired with a salad of fresh greens, some fruit and nuts and dressed with olive oil and vinegar.
Unfortunately, the picture I took of the Cheesy Green Tomato Tart was lost forever when my hard drive crashed. I’ll make it again soon and add a photo to this post later. You can read about Emma’s Green Tomato Pie and see that photo in my column this week. Just click here.
If you’ve got green tomatoes, make this tart. Take time to walk outdoors in the sunshine. And, make this day a good one.
Cheesy Green Tomato Tart
- 1 large onion
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 to 2 pounds green tomatoes
- 15 Ritz crackers, ground
- 4 ounces (1 cup) grated Eichten’ Hidden Acres Tomato Basil Gouda
- 4 ounces (1 cup) grated Swiss cheese
- Pastry for double crust pie
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Line 9-inch tart pan or 9-inch pie plate with pastry. Sprinkle cracker crumbs over the pastry shell. Set aside.
Peel onion and cut in half lengthwise. Slice each half. Saute sliced onion in butter over medium heat until tender.
Core clean tomatoes. Slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Arrange slices in a single layer over crumbs in shell. Fill in spaces with small pieces of tomato. Sprinkle 1 cup of cheese over tomatoes. Spread cooked onions over cheese. Cover onions with remaining cup of cheese. Arrange tomato slices over center of cheese layer.
Top all with lattice crust. Place pie on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake in preheated 425-degree oven for 20 minutes, until crust begins to turn golden brown. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Continue baking for 40 minutes, or until pie is bubbling.
Tips from the cook
- Use any soft cheese that readily melts when heated. Provolone and Monterey Jack would work well. I buy made-in-Minnesota Eichten cheeses at my local natural food co-op.
- You can watch a very short video that will give you a view of Cheesy Green Tomato Tart as I demonstrate how to make the lattice crust over the top of the tart. Click here.