Merry Christmas
Depression Stew

Russ Parsons' Tart of Garlicky Greens and Black Olives


Happy New Year! 2006 is starting out well, with good food and even better company. Last night I had the pleasure of drinking a glass of rose cava (delicious! who knew?) with the lovely Miss Molly of Orangette, who was in town to visit her sweetheart. We went to Bar Carrera, and had some interesting little bits to eat (a poached egg on a pool of what tasted like pureed chorizo, some salty little bits of jamon iberico, and soft little brioche rolls spread with processed tomatoes, smoked paprika and powdered olive oil...). It was my first experience meeting an Internet friend, and I highly recommend it. It's funny, you sit across from a total stranger, but you know things about them! You know about their favorite foods, their annual adopted family picnics, their childhood memories. And if you think they sound like lovely people on their blog, they're exponentially better in real life. Molly, it was a pleasure. Come and visit again soon!

Christmas in Berlin was lovely, replete with homemade Stollen (no picture of which to speak, so I'll have to make it again, photograph, and then tell you all about the hijinks that ensued when I first made it), candlelight galore, and the company of lots of my favorite people. Unfortunately, I also came down with a horrific case of strep throat, endured a night of debilitating stomach pain due to erythromycin, and spent five days in bed. Oh, it was a good time! My mother took care of me with delicious, homemade soups and banana-soy shakes. Is there any better place to be sick than at your mom's house? Probably not.

I came back to celebrate New Year's Eve with Ben and some friends on the 43rd floor of an apartment in Battery Park City. It was a pot-luck affair, so we brought a vegetable tart courtesy of Russ Parsons (when in doubt...). It was delicious: salty and creamy and crumbly, with pungent notes from the olives and the mellow taste of cooked garlic. Next time, though, I'd add more greens (I think I eyeballed a low amount). You can tell I've taken a break from blogging by the not particularly in-focus shot of the tart, still clad in its metal frame.

The crust was a quick little thing that came together in seconds, and tasted delicious (but I used an extra tablespoon of water to bind it). It was blind-baked before the filling of ricotta, chopped olives, wilted greens and garlic and a few eggs was added. On top of that, we shaved (I should say, Ben shaved. A Ben action shot! I'm so proud) some ricotta salata and let the whole thing go in the oven until browned and set. It was more creamy than vegetable-y. So to each his own: if you like greener tarts, add more vegetables. Russ, thanks for another stellar recipe.