Savory Recipes, Summer • 24 Jul 2017

Sometimes I rouse in the middle of the night, wedged in a space between shocked alertness and hazy cloudiness. My eyes peel back slowly, sticky with sleep, not unlike an apple skin unfurling from its fleshy core. My limbs, prickly from stillness, are slow to quicken, while my heart jolts violently inside my chest.

I often gather vivid thoughts while in this illusive state, trapped between a dream word and reality. Scooping up my mind’s creations, I fold them like a neat little handkerchief and tuck them away for a rainy day. Once in a while I will awaken and join the night to write, bake, read or quietly focus on my breath.

We’ve entered a hot spell with the kind of oppressive, sweaty heat that seeps into your pores, clogs your brain and prevents productive sleeping. The past few weeks have been bathed in a sodden stickiness. On most nights nature summons a subtle cool breeze, but nothing manages to reach my bedroom window.

It is so hard to sleep in the heat. I wake, wrapped in a capacious layer of sweat, and wander into the living room. I often sit by the window for a few brief minutes, not totally sure that which I’m trying to obtain: a fleeting breeze, a transitory thought, one of the fireflies that illuminate the dewy lawn.

Sometimes in those solitary nighttime moments a calmness prevails, but mostly I’m paradoxically energized and posses a very strong need to take a long stroll in the pitch black air or hop into a shockingly cold shower. Occasionally I bake, taking advantage of a brief window of coolness.

In the middle of the night, in my cerebral grey space, I begin a free-form savory apricot tart. I wash my hands and begin the dough, retreating into a cozy, rhythmic space, attempting to coax the heart-thumping frantic energy out of my chest and propel it outward into the vastness of the night.

I stand in the kitchen, illuminated by a dim light and the moon. I tax my eyes, glossy from a tinge of perspiration, hidden sheepishly behind my slightly slick eyeglasses.

At the counter I mix and roll, sprinkling flour with a gentle shake of my hand, manipulating it with a light touch. Dough of any kind is love, dough is admiration, dough is meditative. Dough is agility of the fingers and the mind. While this dough isn’t complicated, and made primarily with the help of a food processor, it still does the trick of exercising my jitters. The dough and my agile fingers calm my nerves and I am able return to slumber, a bit of flour still trapped under my fingernails.


1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch kosher salt
9 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2-3 tablespoons ice water

1 1/4- 1 1/2 pounds summer onions, sliced thinly or 1 1/2 large Vidalia onions, cut in half and sliced thinly
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 teaspoon brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1/8 cup dry rose’ or white wine
1 tablespoon mixed fresh herbs (I used thyme, parsley and sage)
2 ounces pecorino
5 apricots
1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water

1. In a food processor, pulse the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour and salt until mixed. Add the cold butter and pulse several times until the mixture looks grainy and crumbly. Add the vinegar and cold water and pulse until the mixture just forms a ball. Do not overmix.

2. Remove the dough from the food processor and place on a lightly floured countertop. Pat the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

3. Heat olive oil in a large heavy bottom sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are wilted, about 10 minutes. Add brown sugar and continue cooking over medium-low heat, uncovered, for an additional 20 minutes until the onions are dark golden brown. When the onions have caramelized, add wine to the pan and allow the liquid to evaporate. Remove onions from heat and cool.

4. While the onions cool, halve the apricots. Remove the pits and cut each half into three or four wedges. Place them in a bowl and set aside. Slice each half into three or four slices.

5. Once the onions have reached room temperature, add cheeses and herbs and mix gently. Remove dough from the refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured surface until you have a 1/8-inch thick circle. Gently move dough to an unlined baking sheet.

6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the onion mixture in the center of the dough and then cover the onions with sliced apricots. Make sure to leave a 2-inch boarder. Fold the dough edges over the apricots, leaving the center exposed.

7. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, until golden. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

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