It Is Tomato and Basil Time…..Yeah!

Tomatoes and Basil Oh My!

As I mention in the video (with a link down below – this is my first bigger effort to do a better video, a first step) I am first and foremost a flower and tree lover, but having grown up in a farming community in the midwest the vegetable garden represents something special to me. I have always felt grounded by the land… it represents safety and ultimate survival in my mind.  I do not know if this in my “emotional DNA” from observing my grandmother canning vegetables for the winter, or watching that wonderful series about the Victory Garden on T.V., or perhaps hearing tales, as one did when one grew up as a young child of the fifties; of our grandparents and the struggles of life during the great depression, or  lastly always remembering the scene in Gone With the Wind as Scarlet desperately claws the earth for a radish and says, “As God is my witness I shall never go hungry again.” Whatever, it  has left an indelible impact upon me. I need to grow something to eat!  But beyond the edible, I have for quite some time appreciated the beauty of things from the garden as decorative elements. So when it is high season for tomatoes and basil, all is fare game.


I love the form and beauty of heirloom tomatoes from my garden

Fragrant BasilIMG_2556

The Garden Plentiful  IMG_9849


Vegetables and herbs are not only the highlight of so many recipes in the kitchen – they are equally wonderful for their beauty and therefore are a natural for decoration as well!


Individual Jalapeno and Tomato Tarts


(8 servings)
8 unbaked 4-inch pie shells, chilled (see basic tart dough recipe below)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 fresh jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 x 4oz cans chopped mild green chilies
Pinch of salt
2 cups grated smoked Gruyere cheese
1 medium yellow (and/or red) tomato, sliced ¼ inch thick
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 375°. Place tart shells on flat baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool. Reset oven to 400°.

  1. In a small sauté pan, heat olive oil and sauté jalapeño and garlic over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add salt, green chilies and sauté for 3 more minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cheese in bottom of each tart shell. Top with 2 tablespoons chili mixture, then layer with remaining cheese. Arrange tomato slice on top of tarts and sprinkle with parsley and cilantro.
  3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cheese melts. Serve either hot or at room temperature.

The dough recipe is one I use for both savory and sweet things. I think (as my memory fades – it was so many years ago) I got the recipe from the talented Lee Baily. All I know for sure is that it works and it is an easy and tender pastry – just do not over process the dough in the food processor!

Basic Tart Dough Recipe

(Makes Eight 4-inch tarts or one 8-10- inch Tart)
1¼ cup flour
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small dice
Pinch of salt
2 or 3 tablespoons of ice water

Put flour and salt into bowl of food processor and pulse 3 times to blend. Add butter, lightly toss with your fingers to coat pieces with flour. Pulse processor about 8 times to cut in butter. Dough should resemble coarse corn meal and butter pieces should be no larger than small peas.

  1. Add ice water gradually by tablespoon through feed tube while pulsing machine. Dough will begin to pull together into a ball.
  2. Remove dough from processor, shape into a disk, sprinkle lightly with flour, and wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate until ready to roll out for tarts and pies.

Have fun, luxuriate in the bounty of summer and hope you like the video!



53 thoughts on “It Is Tomato and Basil Time…..Yeah!

  1. Sounds mouth watering fabulous. Nothing like tomatoes and basil this time of year, and I have to say that I have never had better tomatoes except the ones in Micigan in the summer time!

  2. The tomato stillife collage is so vibrant and vegetable garden so abundant! The tablescape is certainly one I will try myself as well as the beautiful tomato tarts! So glad you are back to posting lovely things for us to observe! ?

  3. Beautiful and so inspiring.. I have several of Carolyne’s books and refer to them often for
    Entertaining and design ideas .. So happy to find the blog and this beautiful video ..

  4. Thank you for sharing the tomato tart recipe. Your video is very professional and the panoramic views are gorgeous. I love the sound track too!

  5. Glad you are “back”! You always inspire me. Your garden and homes are beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

  6. I am full of worries and concerns tonight, but your beautiful video provided a welcome moment of respite. I hope you will create many more!

  7. WoW ??? You went from video basics 101 to academy award contender !!! Loved it so much ? You are amazing
    Hearts love,

  8. Dear Carolyne,
    Great video, It felt like I was there.
    I grow lots of basil in our summer and eat it everyday. Not so good with tomatoes as I won’t use chemicals.
    Love the green plates and glasses.
    I must say I did like the blue and white pots you use to have around your pool, so unusual.
    Love your blog.

    ??? ?? Marie ?????

  9. Just lovely, Carolyne! Loved the drone footage and all of the film. I am going to buy more basil today! Happy Friday everyone.

  10. Wonderful video! Thank you for sharing your beloved Weatherstone. I too am the grandchild of farmers and growing up in the black dirt of central Texas, I can relate to your yearning. It is as much a part of you as air, it seems. Enjoy the bounty! I look forward to future posts.

  11. The tart recipe looks like a keeper!! I’m going to our Saturday Farmer’s Market on the Square tomorrow early AM.
    Tennessee tomatoes should be plentiful. Last week, when I was in NE Ohio headed to a family reunion, I stopped at a farm stand and bought a “peck” (about 20) very nice hot banana peppers. I turned them into a wonderful mustard that I am slathering on everything right now. Wonder if it will “go” with yogurt this morning;-) Cheers.

  12. Super video ~ just loved the drone view. Tomatoes and basil are a natural, aren’t they? Just love your books and blog!

  13. What a beautiful video! And thanks for the closed captions, so helpful. God is in the details, definitely.

  14. Oh Carolyne, this is wonderful! Your video is excellent! You are learning and growing and learning something new every day, aren’t you? It’s a delightful way to live. All the best, all the time.

  15. As always, I stand in awe of your talent. You have made your world your work and your work your world. A beautiful way to live.

    Thank you so very much for continuing to learn, share and inspire.


  16. This was so much fun! It felt like a real visit with you in your beautiful gardens with an invitation to lunch afterward. I look forward to the next visit with great anticipation.


  17. Wow to think this is your first real try at a video, I’m so impressed. I need to get tips from you. I’ve been struggling with my videos for ages.

    Your tart looks fantastic and your tablescapes are lovely in that beautiful setting.

    I thoroughly enjoyed watching your video and recipe.

    Have a great weekend!

    • Thank you Vicki, although I don’t think I’m quite at the level of passing on tips – perhaps some beginner’s luck!

  18. Wow! You have mastered the drone thing and the video! Weatherstone is so gorgeous seen this way. Thank you so much. I enjoy your posts enormously. Paige

  19. I have a serious case of garden envy right and can practically smell the basil!! Such fun…few things in life are as pleasurable as a warm tomato and basil:) My favorite…thanks for sharing! Have a lovely weekend:)

  20. It was truly lovely. Your video, gardens, and the simple elegance of your table setting was most enjoyable. Well done!

  21. Amazing! This is a dream come true! Tomatoes and basil fresh from the garden is the true meaning of summertime. Your video is magical! and your table setting is inspiring “homegrown” and “handmade” forever! Bravo you are the Queen!

  22. Yummy Carolyne, can’t wait to try recipe. Your heirlooms look not only delicious but beautiful to the eye. P.S. Love the layout of the garden and all the sunflowers…

  23. Hi Carolyne,

    I don’t think I have written since we shared a memory of that blue and white dress with diamond cluster pin from many years ago. So exciting when you post something new – it’s all so lovely. Because of your love of France you might enjoy my new essay (short) about Empress Eugénie – it’s at the top of my facebook page. Just search Facebook – Virginia Billeaud Anderson

  24. Loved your video, chere Carolyne! Bravo – will try your recipe as well since I adore the Summer book from your marvelous series on the seasons. Have tried some recipes with great success and will try many more.

    Encore, merci!

  25. Chere Carolyne: Loved your video and the recipe as well which I will try soon since I have a great local farmer’s market here in Great Barrington. Great photos of your home and garden, taken from an airplane?

    Encore, merci!

    • Thank you Lili. The aerial images were actually from a drone, but don’t ask me for tips on how to operate it!

  26. I am from Mexico City and writing to you for the first time. Let me tell you, I enjoy all your photos, your lovely garden and the tables you arrange with such lovely ideas like using fresh basil. Looking forward to buy your books on my next trip to New York. I felt in love with your dogs !!

    Best wishes !!


    • Thank you for writing Marisela, and I’m glad you are enjoying the blog. The books should be available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble if you can’t find them in stores.

  27. Beautiful video – LOVE LOVE LOVE your sweet doggies and how they love to follow you around the garden!!

  28. Wow, great video Carolyne. It is beautiful and so inpiring. Your home is stunning and your garden is a work of art. You have design it with love and it shows.

    I love your tomatoe tart recipe. It looks simple to make and your table is pure genius. Great use of the bounties offered in your lovely garden.

    Thank you so much for all the beauty that you share and offer to your followers. Your books are my favorite. Especially the ones offering table settings.

    Keep the videos coming. They are great.



  29. Carolyne you mentioned about your homemade pesto sauce and how its your go to for sauces and pasta etc. Can you give us your recipe? Don’t remember if you’ve put it in your seasonal notebooks or any of the books.
    Much love my dear. Hope you are enjoying these last Summer days.

    • Hi Lisa i do not have it with me here in aspen but at home in Weatherstone—but if you send me an email I will try to get to you when i return in September—need the email because my memory is not so great a hug to you carolyne

  30. I LOVE the fact that you allow clover to grow and bloom around your garden area! I do too! I love seeing the bees enjoying it. So many people, in this day and time, use chemicals to kill all the clover. Great video!

    • Thank you Nancy. I certainly use as few chemicals as possible…..glad you noticed, and enjoy, the clover!

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