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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tomato Tart ...inspired by The Color of Tea by Hannah Tunnicliffe {book tour} (+ win a copy!)

title: The Color of Tea

author: Hannah Tunnicliffe
publisher: Scribner
source: TLC Book Tours
soft cover: 336 pages

"foodie" elements:  yes

fun fact:  All of the chapters have romantic names.  Names of Grace's macarons.  Names like... Un Petit Phénix - A Little Phoenix: Cinnamon with Dark Chili Chocolate Ganache.  And like... Cirque - Circus: Lime with Chocolate Ganache, Dusted with Blood Orange Sugar.  Dreamy.

random excerpt:  I feel like I finally understand how family love is.  Tangled, wounded, and wonderful.  Imperfect.  A forever love.  I feel strangely light.  Like the little macaron shells when they rise in the oven. p.294-5

summary/synopsis (from TLC book tours page):  Macau: the bulbous nose of China, a peninsula and two islands strung together like a three-bead necklace.  It was time to find a life for myself.  To make something out of nothing.  The end of hope and the beginning of it too.

After moving with her husband to the tiny, bustling island of Macau, Grace Miller finds herself a stranger in a foreign land–a lone redhead towering above the crowd on the busy Chinese streets.  As she is forced to confront the devastating news of her infertility, Grace’s marriage is fraying and her dreams of a family have been shattered.  She resolves to do something bold, something her impetuous mother would do, and she turns to what she loves: baking and the pleasure of afternoon tea.

Grace opens a cafe, where she serves tea, coffee, and macarons–the delectable, delicate French cookies colored like precious stones–to the women of Macau.  There, among fellow expatriates and locals alike, Grace carves out a new definition of home and family.  But when her marriage reaches a crisis, secrets Grace thought she had buried long ago rise to the surface.  Grace realizes it’s now or never to lay old ghost to rest and to begin to trust herself.  With each mug of coffee brewed, each cup of tea steeped and macaron baked.  Grace comes to learn that strength can be gleaned from the unlikeliest of places.

A delicious, melt-in-your-mouth novel featuring the sweet pleasures of French pastries and the exotic scents and sights of China, The Color of Tea.

my thoughts/review:  I cracked this book on a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon.  Not long after I began reading, I was already thoroughly satisfied.  "I woke to the smell of roasting tomato and goat's cheese bubbling and bursting under the grill."  Puff pastry scored and brushed with olive oil.  The scent of thyme when it's been pressed between fingers and thumb.  The heady and healing properties that garlic adds.  Um yeah.  I could have put the book down and walked away.  I didn't require any more bliss than that.

But I didn't put it down.  I kept this book in my hand every free moment for the next 48 hours.  I found Tunnicliffe's words soothing and exhilarating all at the same time.  They were alive on the page.  I felt the pain, the tears, the anger, the joy, the hunger, the longing, the satisfaction, the contentment of every situation.  I adored the characters.  I coveted the little shop that Grace nurtured to life with the help of those around her.  The situations felt real...without sugar-coating.

I highly recommend this book.  To ladies everywhere.  Especially foodies.  And macaron lovers.  Not sure if guys would love it or not.  But they may.  It's delicious in so many ways.

photo source
about the author: Hannah Tunnicliffe was born in New Zealand but is a self-confessed nomad.  After finishing a degree in social sciences, she lived in Australia, England, and Macau.  A career in human resources temporarily put her dream of becoming a writer on the back burner.  The Color of Tea is her first novel.

further info: website

recipe inspired by:  I decided right then and there on page 20 that I was making a sexy tomato tart.  No if's, and's, or but's about it.  Here is my tomato tart inspired by the one Grace woke up to when she was six years old.  And the one she fell in love over when she was a young woman.  And the memories she carries in her heart years later when the look on her husband's face reminds her of the younger version of him.  The version she fell in love with.  The version with a mouthful of tomato tart.
Tomato Tart

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
Keywords: bake appetizer entree vegetarian nut-free tomatoes puff pastry cheese summer

Ingredients (serves 2-4)
  • 1 sheet (½ box) puff pastry, thawed
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • olive oil
  • 2-4 medium ripe tomatoes
  • ~4 oz. goat cheese
  • 2 fat cloves garlic, minced
  • few fresh sprigs thyme
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425° F.

Lay sheet of puff pastry out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out ~1" in each direction. Cut in half, lengthwise (so that you have 2 long rectangles of dough).

Lay both onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Score each rectangle with a border that is ~½" all the way around. Dock the dough inside of the border all over with a fork.

Grate some Parmesan all over the docked surface of both rectangles. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Slice the tomato thinly and lay it in one slightly overlapping line (if using 2 tomatoes) or two slightly overlapping lines (if using 4 tomatoes) down the center of each piece of dough, staying inside the border. Divide goat cheese evenly among both pieces of dough, pulling it off and scattering it haphazardly. Strip the leaves from a few sprigs of thyme. Rub between your fingers a bit to release the oils and sprinkle over everything.

Drizzle with a bit more olive oil. Grate on a bit more Parmesan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Slide into preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and everything else has softened. Enjoy immediately.
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"...then we sat and ate hot tart without knives and forks.  She kissed my cheeks and smelled like garlic."
The publisher has generously offered to provide a copy of this book for one of my readers, as well.   So, if you'd like to win a copy, simply let me know in a comment.  I will draw a name at random from those who do.  Entries will be accepted from now through Tuesday July 17th.  (USA or Canada shipping addresses only.)  Good luck!
*Update 7/18/12:  I numbered the entries in the order they were received (my comments go bottom to top) and found 13 people who said they'd like to win a copy.   I then used random dot org to draw a winner.  And the winner is... Sheila Lais - Congrats!  I've contacted you and waiting to hear back.

*I received a free copy of this book to review from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.

Come share in the tomato love at the Tomato Love Recipe Exchange, hosted byGimme Some Oven & Bake Your Day, sponsored this week by KitchenAid.  Also visitRecipe for Change to learn more about how to support tomato farmers.
tlc-tour-host fr2button weekend cooking

Would you like to comment?

  1. Radhika SubramanianJuly 11, 2012 at 12:45 AM

    The tart looks smashing and so summery bright.

  2. josé manuel martín fernándezJuly 11, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    Se ve estupendo. Que rico

  3. WOWWW
    This is definitely a tart for me!

  4. This looks like a perfect summer read for me in my new city (Victoria, BC... tea capital of Canada)

  5. What a romantic notion to open a little tea house! Gorgeous tart!

  6. I would love one large piece now for lunch!

  7. Any book with descriptions of food like you quoted is a winner to me. And your tomato tart looks wonderful. BTW, I went to MSU too. Go Spartans.

  8. Sounds like such a great book! I'm going to have to try the tomato tart! looks so good! And we have tons of tomatoes in our garden!! lol

  9. mmm...that looks delicious! I would love that for lunch today lol ... the book looks great!

    Thanks for sharing,

  10. I would love to win a copy, sounds like good reading.

  11. This does sound like a page turner Heather. I am waiting impatiently for tomatoes from my garden.

  12. carrie | acookgrowsinbrooklynJuly 11, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    This is one good lookin' tart, Heather. 'maters and olive oil and garlic and puff pastry and cheese - that's about as sexy as it gets.

  13. This book sounds really interesting! I would love a copy!

  14. That looks delicious and now I want to read the book! I certainly hope i win.....otherwise I'm searching for the Kindle version!

  15. That looks delicious Heather, Love the descriptions of food in a novel.

  16. Shaunna@mamas13minutemileJuly 11, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    I would love to win.

  17. The book sounds lovely, and so does the tomato tart. I would love to win...

  18. Adding this to my summer reading list for sure. And this tart!

  19. I'm in for the giveaway. This looks so yummy too!


  20. Hi Heather,

    Sounds like a great book. I just added it to my Amazon wishlist. The tomato tart looks and sounds so good. They are one of our favorite summertime meals. Thanks for sharing:)

  21. Sounds like a very good book and your review is very good. I am loving that tomato tart. I ask again, why don't we live closer to one another?!

  22. You're a fantastic writer, an accomplished cook, mom to a busy young the heck do you have time to do all this reading? Just wondering. I'm feeling very inadequate!

  23. I just heard about this book and really do want to read it. I love authors who take into mind the smells and textures and colors as well as the tastes of food. I haven't been to Macau but I would like try the food with the Portugese and Chinese tastes fusing together.

  24. I can't wait to make this. I have all the ingredients. No reason not to make it tomorrow, if time allows.

  25. I would love to win the book! It looks great!

  26. you are so creative. I love that you made this summer tomato tart inspired by the book. looks delicious

  27. This tomato tart is definitely sexy. I probably need a cold shower now after reading this.

  28. The tart looks amazing,Heather!The book sounds great and I would love it!

  29. Oh.My.Goodness --how I would LOVE to win a copy!! Thank you :)

  30. I'd love to read this book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  31. Linda--There and Back AgainJuly 12, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    The tart looks wonderful, and so does the book!

  32. Beautiful tart, and it looks so good too.

  33. That looks just luscious.
    Have a great week.

  34. So now I need to read this! And savour it!

    Your tomato tart looks amazing!

    No entry in the giveaway as I am not eligible!

  35. This looks amazing! Definitely going to have to try this.

  36. Oh gosh - this book (and the tart!) sound amazing. I love the language you've used to describe it, and there's something about food writing... it explains the soul a little bit. Thanks for sharing!

  37. Yum. We have so many tomatoes in our garden this year that this would be the perfect recipe for me!

    Here's my first everWeekend Cooking: Paris in July. Hope you will stop by!

  38. I would like to win book. Tart was good.

  39. Disqus doesn't accept anonymous comments, so adding this one to be counted for the giveaway:
    Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Tomato Tart ...inspired by The Color of Tea by Han...":
    I would like to win book. Tart was

  40. Did you save any for me?? That looks awesome and I just realized I don't have puff pastry in the freezer at the moment. Must make this.

    Sorry it took me so long to visit your post. I was out of town and didn't have Internet access.

  41. Oh no worries...that's life. =) And honestly, I didn't save any for anybody. I greedily devoured this myself. With a little help from my daughter, but I'm so much bigger than she is, so... hahahaha

  42. I would love to receive this book! Its making me hungry o:

  43. Congratulations Sheila - you are the winner of the book. Please email me your shipping information to girlichef at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

  44. I definitely do not need to read your blog before breakfast ... now I'm totally in the mood for that tomato tart with my tea this morning!

    As always, thanks so much for being on the tour.

  45. Love the review. Don't enter me because I came across this book at Costco and bought a copy when I started reading the back cover. ;-) Just glad to know how good it is--it is now going to be moved up on the "to-read" pile! Your tomato tart is gorgeous too.