Tomato-White Bean Galette with Pesto Swirl and Feta


Although my own garden tomatoes are still green on the vine, the markets are bursting with plump, juicy seasonal tomatoes.  This galette showcases heirloom tomatoes layered on top of a protein-rich white bean purée drizzled with fragrant pesto, topped with tangy feta and enveloped in flaky pastry.  It was a perfect summer meal and so good, I’m making another one tonight!  If in a rush, you can use ready made white bean hummus and pesto.image

Tomato-White Bean Galette with Pesto Swirl and Feta

  • 1 prepared 9-inch pie crust
  • 15 oz can white beans such as cannelini
  • 3 gloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 T Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 c of basil pesto
  • 2 oz crumbled feta
  • fresh ground pepper
  • heirloom tomatoes of different sizes and colors
  • fresh basil  for topping
    1. To make the white bean purée, in a blender place the beans, the mustard, the garlic and oive oil.  Purée until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. I used a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
    2. Slice the larger tomatoes  and cut the smaller tomatoes in halves.  Place on a paper towel in a collander to drain some of the moisture out while you prepare the crust.  You want enough tomatoes to really pack the crust densely as shown in the photo.
    3. Preheat oven to 375F.
    4. On a sheet of parchment cut to fit a shallow, rimmed sheet pan, roll out your dough to a 1/8″ thickness. It can have an irregular shape.  Transfer to your baking sheet on the parchment.
    5. Smear a layer of the white bean purée on the crust, leaving 2″ of the edges uncoated.  You will have some left over for another use.
    6. Sread half of the pesto in a concentric design pattern over the white bean purée.  Load the tomatoes on top, mixing up the colors and shapes . Dot the tomatoes with the rest of the pesto and season generously with freshly ground pepper.
    7. Spinkle the pie with the feta.  Fold the edges of the dough, pleating as necessary.
    8. Bake on the lowest rack for 40 minutes.  Sprinkle with shredded fresh basil.  Let rest 10 minutes before slicling.  Serves 6 as a starter or 4 as a meal.
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    The Garden Sculptures of Inta Krombolz


    As a passionate lover of gardens, I have visited gardens in many parts of the world.  My favorite however, is close to home, in Chester County Pennsylvania and is the garden of the talented Inta Krombolz.  Inta’s garden has been developed over more than 30 years and is a luxuriant display of perennials, shrubs and trees.   With contrasting elements of color, texture and form, it is a garden with great bones and the designer’s personal imprint. Continue reading

    French Canadian Tarte au Sucre


    This is a love story not about a pie but about the woman who has baked it for her family for more than 60 years. Innovation in the kitchen is not as impressive as consistency. After all, anyone can come up with an original idea or two over a lifetime. But making something perfectly, the same way, time after time, well that is an achievement. Everytime I get to eat this pie, I consider myself the luckiest person in the world.

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    3 Cheese Ricotta Pie in a Polenta Crust


    Move over quiche.  This savory ricotta pie in a polenta crust is summer’s answer to the quiche.  Lower in fat but full of flavor and fiber, the pie is as delicious for brunch as for dinner. The cornmeal-parmesan crust studded with parsley crisps up nicely like those irresitible parmesan carckers and is totally gluten free. The crust and the filling can be made a day ahead if desired then assembled on the day of baking.  The herbed ricotta filling has a rich velvety texture achieved without the addition of cream.   We served ours with a spiralized zucchini-tomato salad, recipe follows.  A crisp green salad would totally go well with this pie.    Add some salsa on the side.


    3 Cheese Ricotta Pie in a Polenta Crust

    Adapted from Canadian Living Magazine


    • 3 c water
    • 1 c yellow cornmeal
    • 1 t salt
    • 1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
    • 2 T chopped parsley
    • fresh ground pepper to taste


    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 lb ricotta cheese(low fat or whole milk)
    • 1/2 c grated mozzarella, Gruyere or Swiss cheese
    • 2 T flour (GF or regular)
    • 2 T each chopped parsley and fresh basil
    • 1/2 t salt and 1/4 t pepper
    • 2 T grated parmesan to sprinkle on top
    1. To make the crust:  In a small saucepan, combine water, cornmeal and salt. Bring to a boil and stir for 2 minutes on high heat.  Reduce heat and stir for another 5 minutes until polenta thickens.  Remove from heat, add parmesan and parsley.  Let cool 15 minutes.  Preheat oven to 425F.
    2. Grease a 9 inch Springform pan with butter.  Pat the polenta on the bottom and up the sides.  Do not make the bottom any thicker than a regular pie crust would be.  Depending how your cornmeal expands during cooking, you may have a bit extra.  Bake for 20 minutes at 425 F until polenta is golden and crisp. Cool.
    3. To make the filling:  Preheat the oven to 350 F. Beat the eggs until fluffy and pale yellow.  Add the ricotta, mozzarella, parsley, basil, salt and pepper and mix until just combined.  Spread evenly in the cooled polenta crust.  Sprinkle top with parmesan cheese.
    4. Bake 20 minutes until filling is set but slightly jiggly.
    5. Set oven to broil and bake 3-4 more minutes until top is golden. Watch carefully so the pie does not burn.  Let cool 5 minutes before removing the sides of the Springform pan.

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    Spiralized Zucchini Salad with Zesty Dijon and Mustard Dressing

    • 4 cups of spiralized zucchini
    • 1 c grape tomatoes, halved
    • 4 T chopped chives
    • dressing:  2 T Dijon Mustard, juice of 1 lemon, 2 T olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
    1. In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, lemon juice, olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Toss in the zucchini noodles and the chives to coat.





    It’s 90 sweltering degrees out.  You’ve got company coming and need an impressive dessert.  Walk away from that oven!  Instead turn to one of these totally chillin’, easy to make desserts and be one totally cool host.

    Click on the highlighted title to access the recipe.

    1-  Chocolate Mocha Icebox Cake

    2-  Frozen Praline Ice Cream Cake

    This cake has layers of homemade crushed praline.  To avoid turning on your oven, you can use ready made praline(brittle).

    3-  Spiced Peach Frozen Yogurt Pie

    4-  Red White and Blue Tiramisu

    An authentic Italian recipe straight from Italy.

    5-  Panna Cotta Cake

    Technically this is not 100% no bake since the panna cotta layer is poured over a white cake base.  You could use lady fingers for the base to avoid baking the cake base.

    6-   Very Berry Cheesecake Trifle

    Cool trifles make a great summertime dessert!

    7-  Frozen Banana Cherry Ice Cream

    8-  Peanut Brittle Banana Pudding Trifle


    Summertime and the living is easy!  When the temperature rises,  we start grilling and living on salads in this household.  Lots and lots of salads.  Here are 15 of my favorite from the blog’s archives. Some are entrée salads. Many of them can easily be turned into a meal by adding a favorite grilled protein. They all lend themselves to substitutions of a preferred green or a more seasonal ingredient as the garden starts producing.  There are several grain-based salads as I find they hold up well in the summer heat and can be assembled in advance.  Again, feel free to substitute a different grain of choice. Make your salads come alive wth infused oils and vinegars and flavored salts.  Click on the highlighted titles to access the recipes.  Happy summer!

    1- Roasted Honey Balsamic FIg Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistachios

    Don’t like figs? Grill peaches for an equally dazzling salad.

    Continue reading

    The Art of Adornment: Garden Containers


    Container gardens integrate art and nature.  They show the human hand controlling nature’s will.   Containers provide a blank slate to bring in color, sculptural elements, reflective qualities and art in garden design and lend themselves well to being decorated.  They can bring panache to the understated garden. They are the gardener’s tool to sharpen a desired focal point and enliven and energize a garden without a lot of effort or long term commitment.  Container gardens can often offer that finishing touch in the garden’s design.  Restraint is in order so that the pots don’t become overdone or too cartoonish. I have photographed many of the planters in my own garden, included sources when available and added a some ideas captured on recent tours of local gardens.  I hope you will find many ideas to inspire you and have fun with your garden planters. Think beyond the pot!


    A simple Eiffel tower adorns a window box and is a nod to the cultural heritage of the homeowner.  It is an attention getter that injects whimsy in this classic window planter.

    Continue reading