A Roof Over Our Heads (and Helen's Recipe)

olive tart

This is Roofing Week.  We've needed a new roof on our house for a few years, and Yancey is up there as I type, pounding away. Our house is only 800 square feet, but you would not believe the cascade coming down.  Here--see for yourself:

project dry roof

And this happens to be the week when our 26-day no-rain streak is ending.  I love how Yancey doesn't get stressed.  He just barrels through.  We've been married 14 years and he never fails to amaze me.  He hasn't roofed a house before (despite his previous life as a contractor), so he got a book from the library, called his dad and some friends to help, rented a dumpster, and got started.  Pretty sexy, really.

roofing legs

With all the dust swirling around and a cold that's sucking my energy, this isn't a Culinary Prowess Week.  More beans last night, have no idea what I'll scrounge tonight.  But I have Helen's tart recipe for you!  Helen, a new reader, baked this for the Street Bean fundraiser I wrote about awhile ago and I promised to beg for the recipe.  Turns out I didn't need to beg. I'm going to make it as soon as I come out of my cold-induced fog and can be certain it won't be flavored with composite roofing granules. Like Yancey, she just jumped right in.  If you didn't bake something but still want to support street youth in their arduous journey to exit street life, you can find out more or donate here.

street bean donations

There are so many people struggling right now--homeless folks; unemployed friends, families, and neighbors; immigrants and refugees who feel less welcome than ever; millions of people scraping by however they can. You might be one of them. Our current roof-deprived state has made me feel more vulnerable than usual.  If you're in that place, for whatever reason, may you find some comfort and warmth today.  If you're one of those that's comfortable and warm, I'm so glad.  And I hope you can cross paths with someone who needs what you have.  The elements are harsh--all of us need a roof over our heads.

Pear, Brie and Olive Tart
From Your Organic Kitchen by Jesse Ziff Cool.

For crust:

1 C unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 C very finely ground walnuts (i like to add some chuncky pieces to it)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 C unsalted butter
1/2 C ice water (a bit less when i make it)

For filling:
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 pears, cored and thinly sliced
2 tbs sugar
2 tsp chooped fresh thyme
4 oz. brie cheese, cut into small pieces
1/2 C kalamata olives, pitted and halved

To make the crust: In a large bowl, combine flour, walnuts, salt and pepper.  Grate butter into the mixture (helps if the butter is chilled well)  Using your hands or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour mixture until the pieces are about the size of peas.

Add the water, 1 tbs at a time, and blend until a soft, moist dought is formed.  Form the dought into a ball, then flatten into a round disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a well-floured board, roll the dough into a 1/8" thick oval.  Fold the dough in half and place in the center of the prepared baking sheet.  The edges will fall over the side.

To make the filling: Arrange the onion in the center of the crust, leaving a 11/2" to 2" edge to roll as a hand-formed crust.  Arrange the pears on top and sprinkle with the sugar and thyme.  Top with the Brie and olives.  Using your hands, roll the outer part of the dough under to form a crust.  Crimp the edges.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.