Happy birthday to my mom-in-law, Eva! She is half a century old today. We sent a cheese gift basket from Murray’s (love them) and she requested that “the kids” each write her 50 things good and bad about her. Greg tried to do 50 but his ideas were pretty precise so he wrote that any more would be “fluff” (and they are not a “fluff” family). I hope she understands. Now to something I don’t understand…
Daylight saving time annoys me to no end and Greg, my husband, will give you a slew of curse words when you remind him that it’s about to change again. He has to be up early and when this lovely event happens (March 14), he will “lose” an hour of sleep and it takes him quite some time to adjust. Daylight was just starting to break on his travels to work…no avoiding upset here, pal.
Growing up in Indiana, in a portion that didn’t use daylight saving time (most of it did not), I never encountered any problems or confusion. Not until 2006 (signed in 2005- thanks to Mitch Daniels) that chaos came to town. I’ve read several articles stating that mass confusion reigned supreme for Hoosiers not using daylight saving time but I don’t remember a single person being gung ho to adopt it throughout my 24 years of life in the state. I only remember having reason and making sense- you know, taking a stand. That’s how I saw it anyway.
Let’s look at daylight saving time-why is it in place? This precious event was meant to give us more sunlight during the day; some say to “make the day seem longer.” Yeah, and I ride a unicorn to get groceries and Greg took our brontosaurus (my favorite dinosaur) to work this morning. Then, there’s the claim that it saves energy by cutting back on artificial lighting in homes and businesses. The truth of that is up in the air, like global warming. You can find any number of results in your favor when you manipulate the data so I won’t comment about all the studies I’ve read stating that it is actually worse when it comes to saving energy. Did you know that 78% of statistics are made up?
There really isn’t a thing you could tell me that would result in a positive response. No offense, but you would receive a less than amused look from my face and I’m good at that look, so it wouldn’t take any effort on my part. To summarize my point: daylight saving time is a pointless annoyance. You can try to sway me or try the recipe of the day-your choice. (I would go for the recipe…it’s by Ina Garten-the Barefoot Contessa- whom I adore.)
Ina Garten is someone that I look up to. She is an amazing, accomplished woman that makes the kind of food that I crave. Did you know that she worked in the White House, (on a whim) bought a specialty food store where she began her career in food and has a relationship with her husband to envy (I think so)? I mean look how cute they are together at gawker tv. She has a way of making something difficult seem more manageable and explains things as if she’s your dear friend, giving you hints to make preparation easier. With ease and a “cool-head,” she produces food for an entire group of people, but also puts in the same amount of effort for smaller parties. Ina makes simple, rustic dishes and serves them casually in her beautiful home or on the beach (and a number of other places). Her lifestyle is something that I envy as well, not the part about living in the Hamptons (that’s not my kind of place), although her ability to travel helps me dream about doing it myself one day. She seems completely laid back, loved, doing what she is passionate about and sharing that with you and me. There isn’t a single thing to change with this recipe: tomato and goat cheese tarts.
Ina Garten’s Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts
Makes 4 tarts
1 package (2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted (left out for a few hours or in the fridge overnight)
4 cups thinly sliced onions (about 2 large)
3 large cloves of garlic, cut into thin slivers
3 tbsp dry white wine
2 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
4 tbsp grated Parmesan, plus more to top
4 oz. garlic and herb goat cheese
1 large tomato, cut into 4 slices
3 tbsp chopped basil leaves
Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll into an 11×11-inch square. Using a 6-inch wide plate or other circular object, cut 2 circles from the sheet. Repeat with the other sheet of pastry to make 4 circles. Place them onto 2 baking sheets with parchment paper on the bottom and refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 425. Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium/low heat. Add the onions and garlic. Sauté for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp. Add ½ tsp of salt and ¼ tsp of pepper, wine and thyme. Continue to cook for 10 more minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat.
With a knife, score a ¼ -inch-wide border around each pastry circle but don’t go all the way through and prick the inside with a fork to be sure it bakes through. Sprinkle the pastry with 1 tbsp of Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border.
Place ¼ of the onion mixture on each circle, staying within the border, and crumble an ounce of goat cheese on top of the onions, place a slice of tomato in the center and brush lightly with oil. Sprinkle the basil, salt/pepper and shards of Parmesan over the top of each tart. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and serve warm.