Reviewed by Katy Killilea
I love a cookbook that works as a springboard for improvisation. Whether I’m improvising because I’m creative (a rare event) or because my cupboard is bare (quite often), the cookbooks from Eating Well magazine are trusty resources. The newest book in this series, Eating Well in Season, is a compilation of the magazine’s greatest seasonal hits. Based on fresh, whole ingredients–many of which can be found at farmer’s markets–this book is fun to jump into as summer begins. With beautiful photographs, clear instructions, and wholesome results, this is a book to keep in mind as you choose the week’s produce or harvest your own garden.
What follows is a tweaked version of a recipe for an Eating Well blueberry tart that my older son and I make almost continuously in berry season (tweaks made only to avoid oven use and to offer suggestions for improvisation–not because the original needs improvement). It takes very little time to prepare, requires no heat source,Â allows for play with a food processor, and offers the opportunity to eat lots of berries. It’s also very, very flexible. So if you have berries, you can likely make this tart right now.
Simple, Cool Blueberry Tart
3/4 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted if you like
1 package graham crackers, minus one to munch while you cook (ten whole rectangular sheets of graham cracker)
1-2 tablespoons butter, or equal parts butter and canola or walnut oil
(Crust notes: if nut allergies are an issue, omit them and use more graham crackers and increase the amount of butter or oil. If your graham crackers are low on sugar, such as Mi-Del, add some brown sugar to the mix–a tablespoon or two will be enough.)
Blend the crackers, nuts, and fat in a food processor until the mixture resembles moist, coarse sand. Pat this into a 9-inch round springform pan. It will be delicate and that’s OK. (We sometimes make this in a 9-inch square tart pan–any similar-size pan with removable sides will do.)
8 ounces cream cheese (or neufchatel or tofutti cream cheese)
6 ounces vanilla Greek-style yogurt (or plain greek yogurt or sour cream)
1/4 cup light agave nectar (or maple syrup) plus more to taste
Wipe lingering crumbs out of the food processor and blend the filling ingredients until utterly smooth. Taste. Not sweet enough? Add more nectar, a teaspoon at a time. Pour the resulting mixture into the crust and smooth it gently with a rubber spatula.
1 pint blueberries (orÂ combination of any juicy fruits you like, such as blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, sliced peaches, apricots, or pitted cherries)
Gently dry your washed berries (or other fruits) with paper towels and arrange them in a pattern on top of the tart. Children are especially gifted fruit pattern arrangers. If you like, drizzle the merest, thinnest stream of agave nectar over the fruit. Refrigerate for at least four hours before slicing.
Any leftovers can be eaten for breakfast, especially if you have more berries and you need to liberate the bottom of your springform pan in order to make another tart immediately.
Yield: Serves eight normal people, or four greedy people with leftovers for breakfast.
Eating Well in Season: The Farmer’s Market Cookbook
by Jessie Price and the Editors of Eating Well
$24.95 The Countryman Press (2009)