This is what you get when you bring home a 2 lb. tray of strawberries and are home alone all week. The strawberries were obviously going to find a home in a smoothie here and there, but not 2 lbs., worth of them. What is marvelous about this delicious, nutty, cinnamon-y treat was the time it took to prepare it. Let's just say, by the time you've read this post, you could have made this already, okay?! I go for simple cooking here lately. And when I glanced in the freezer and saw the almonds and pecans, I thought nothing of throwing them in the food processor with a little vegan butter, some sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and whipping up a nice little mini-tart shell (it took seconds, really!). The aroma from this baking was enough to satisfy my craving for something sweet, baked in quaint little ramekin and out of the oven ready to serve: crunchy, tart, sweet and yummy.
Strawberries are a fruit favorite of mine going way back. I was the kid who'd order an ice cream sundae, "hold the whip cream. . .more strawberries." However, there's a limit to when I'll consume a strawberry. I won't eat them in the middle of winter unless they've been frozen by me during their peak months of May and June. After that, it's as if the strawberry never existed. (It's the same for tomatoes, though I do allow for some "Italian" canned varieties to enter the home in the dead of winter--a girl's gotta have her vegan lasagna.) We've moved so far off the Eat Seasonally path that I find it disturbing shopping in February and March surrounded by the same produce I saw the previous July. . . in the same places! We are a spoiled, rotten food nation. But that's okay 'cause when I want an avocado, I want an avocado.
Here is the beauty of making this Strawberry Crumb Tart: just put the nuts you have on hand in the dish and you will be fine, trust me. After a few pulses, you'll have this sticky, crumbly mixture--perfect for pressing into the ramekins. Then toss your filling with a bit of sugar, lemon zest and nutmeg, top that with a bit more of the crumb mixture and there you have it! It's delish. Go crazy and mix the strawberries with some blueberries or cherries, it's all good, I promise.
So much going on in the garden right now, it's hard not to stop and take a picture. I love the cool weather we've been having. So far the temps have only inched into the mid-eighties and that's about right where I'd agree is summer "enough".
One day I heard a familiar screech, looked up and saw our resident Mississippi Kite family had returned. It's the little things in life, people.
On another day, Dr. Thyme and I were enjoying the afternoon when we both heard screeches (plural), thinking a bird may have met it's maker. But no. Our hawks were touring the back yard. You have to be stealth-like to get a shot of these birds of prey, and they don't take kindly to you spotting them because if they're out in the open, then they've seen something they're very likely going to have for lunch soon. To see two of them perched together like this--I was very lucky.
Perhaps they'd like one of these. . . I found coiled in a tight ball in the back yard with Frankie and Big Sissy running around it howling and barking like the living dead had just arrived. (Which to me, once I saw this, it may as well have been the raising of the dead--I about fainted right there. I had to use my extra screechy, high-pitched canine mommy voice, shaking the treat can to lure the adorable little critters back into the house--all the while checking my pulse to see if it was still there. Oh, and of course Dr. Thyme was out of town. Of course).
And all of this before my first cup of coffee. But before I did that, I needed a picture of the serpent in my garden--who'd believe this?
Apparently this is a "good" snake to have.
To have for what I have no idea.
Ten-month old Frankie is still growing, and still a bit of a monster. . .
but we lover her dearly.
(*We think she may have outgrown her love of books--and that's a good thing.)
My sewing escapades lead me down the path of trying my hand at making myself a garden "bonnet".
Well, instead it seems I made a garden "yurt hat". Or a garden "bucket hat".
I believe my problem was when I used the wrong lining.
I will tell you one thing: there will be no sun on my face under this hat.
But I may need someone to hold my hand to keep from knocking into a pole or something.
Vegan Strawberry Crumb Tart
*makes enough for two small ramekins
for the crumb crust and topping
1/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup spelt flour (or whatever you have on hand)
1/4 cup muesli
3 T. Earth Balance butter
1 T. raw sugar
1 T. brown sugar
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
for the filling
1 1/2 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 T. spelt flour
1 T. raw sugar
2 T. Earth Balance Butter
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
zest of half a lemon
Preheat oven to 350. Place two small ramekins on a cookie sheet, spray with nonstick spray, set aside. In a food processor, pulse until a fine crumb. (This may take about twenty pulses.) Press the crumb mixture into each ramekin--come up the side of each ramekin a bit. (*Hold back about 2 tablespoons of the mixture to spread over the top of the fruit.) Place the fruit in a bowl and add the filling ingredients and toss well to coat. Fill each ramekin with half of the strawberry mixture. Use the remaining crumb mixture to top each ramekin. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes.