I did not know what I was going to write when I sat down tonight. Usually, I have some nonsense in mind that I can start to type out until a thread of coherent or interesting thought appears. Tonight I was just like, well, I could start tapping out letters and see if they make a word?
The irony of this is I listened to a podcast this morning about the debate among writers if writer’s block exists. I was firmly in the “does not exist” camp. I think there are stretches of time when you are more creative than others, just like there are days when you barely break a sweat on your badass run. Other days, it’s a struggle to get through a mile. But I never think it’s impossible to write. Writing well, however, might be another story.
So I started pecking out tidbits of my day onto the screen, and I discovered the thoughts on my mind were of change. How people change. How people stay the same as they always were but the way we see them changes.
Like how when you were a kid and you saw your elementary teacher shopping for produce in the grocery store. What do you mean teachers have a life outside of my classroom? And then you get to the age your parents once were when you were that kid, and you realize they really had no idea and were figuring it out just like you are.
How these changes are often so disappointing because they seem so selfish and make you feel sad. Like when your hero casts off commitments so many times that you can no longer overlook the tarnish on what you thought was a sparkling personality.
How it’s so seemingly easy for some people to let you down, and how angry I get at those people when I’m really just angry at myself for never even considering letting someone down in such a way. How looking back at changes over the past 18 months – changes so little they did not register at the time – can make you say to yourself, “Holy smokes, you’ve been through a lot of change!”
Hell, I’ve changed. For the first time in my life, I spent the last seven weeks wishing summer would end instead of anticipating the dread I usually get when June becomes a distant memory. Although I will say, I took a quick nap last night, and when I opened my eyes at 8 p.m. to a pitch black room, I had second thoughts on the change of seasons.
I may have daydreamed about cooler fall temperatures since mid-July, but I was not kidding about savoring the last bits of summer, tomatoes being one of those precious gems. I usually prefer to eat my tomatoes raw, with a splash of olive oil and dash of salt and pepper, but by this time of year, tomatoes have lost enough of their initial appeal that I’m okay with cooking them down to something fine. An easy tomato tart with ricotta, goat cheese and basil gave me one last excuse to justify puff pastry for dinner… before I changed my mind. Enjoy!
Easy Tomato Tart
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus extra for sprinkling
- 3/4 pound assorted tomatoes, sliced and halved
- Roll out the puff pastry to approximately a 9 x 13 rectangle. I suggest rolling out the pastry directly onto a lightly-floured piece of parchment paper or silicone baking mat layered on top of a baking sheet.
- Prick the interior of the puff pastry with a fork, leaving a 1-inch border, then brush the interior with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.Place the rolled out puff pastry sheet in the refrigerator to rest and chill for 30 minutes.
- While the crust chills, mash and stir together the ricotta cheese, goat cheese, eggs, basil, salt, and pepper.
- Top the chilled puff pastry with the cheese mixture, then layer the tomatoes over the cheese.
- Brush the tomatoes with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with a little extra salt and pepper.
- Bake at 425 degrees F for 25-30 minutes until the filling is set and the pastry is cooked through and golden brown.