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An heirloom tomato tart for a socially-distant picnic Shabbat I #TweetYourShabbat

#tweetyourshabbat is a global movement founded by Carly Pildis, celebrating the struggle and joy of getting Shabbat on the table every week. This is a place for real dinners and real conversations about Jewish life. Join us at Forward in sharing what you’ll be eating and how your feeling this week at #TweetYourShabbat

I love my family. I would die for them. Light of my life. But I just can’t take another Shabbat with just the three of us.

Don’t get me wrong, Shabbat is treasured family time. I love lighting the candles with my 3-year-old daughter and blessing her little head. I love watching my husband relax and eat, finally calm after a hectic week. That said, after months and months, I am desperate for a house full of company.

I long for the sound of kids going wild running around the house together, so excited that their friends have arrived. I miss having other adults around the table to talk to. I love that moment when all the kids run off to play and the adults pour more wine and have grown up talk.

I want to laugh with my friends while our kids play hide and seek. I want to watch the kids jump in excitement when I bring out treats. Coronavirus has taken so much from our daily lives. That hug from a close friend. School friends tackling each other in excitement and laughter. Synagogue lunches chatting politics and preschool over bagels and coffee. My family and I are in dire need of more social interaction —especially in our Jewish life. As we face the gloomy prospect of the High Holidays via Zoom, my longing to connect in person with members of our community only grows. Isolation is so painful. Judaism thrives in community. i

Then it hit me. Let’s have a Shabbat Dinner Picnic!

We can spread our blankets at a safe distance, sing zmirot with masks, let the kids have an outdoor dance party while the adults catch up. I could already feel the joy of a cold glass of white wine with the grass between my toes and friends regaling me with tales of pandemic parenting. What could be better than Shabbat with friends!

But what would we eat? I scoured recipe books and websites for picnic fare. Nothing felt right. I wanted something that felt special enough for a Shabbat dinner, and I kept coming up short. Most picnic recipes are simple, a sandwich will never feel like Shabbat to me, nor a beautiful cheese plate on its own. But schlepping a more traditional Shabbat felt like a ridiculous chore. Who wants to carve a chicken on a picnic blanket?

I wanted something that captured the flavors of summer, was handheld and easy to eat, and felt refined enough for a Shabbat dinner. I wanted something that you could easily double and serve at a proper distance. A dish that could be served at room temperature, wrapped up nicely in a picnic basket, awaiting your friends on the other side of the yard. I wanted something that said, welcome friend. Relax and enjoy. Shabbat Shalom.

Finally, I found it. The perfect Shabbat picnic dish, an heirloom cherry tomato tart surrounded by arugula, nectarines, and burrata. Easy to make, full of beautiful summer produce, simultaneously elegant and casual. It wouldn’t feel out of place on a white tablecloth, and it will shine as the center of a gingham picnic blanket. The crunchy puff pastry pairs perfectly with the fresh heirloom tomatoes. The creamy burrata is balanced with sweet ripe local nectarines.. It’s close enough to pizza that kids like it. You could eat it with a fork, but my family preferred to eat it with their fingers, grabbing bites of cheese and fruit by the handful.

The thing that will make this taste the best is friendship. I am so excited about my first Shabbat with company in six long months. I won’t be able to hug my friends, or even invite them inside, but we will be able to sing “Shalom Aleichem” together from across the yard and laugh together and just be together. Shabbat is sweetest with dear friends, even six feet apart.

How was your week? How are you spending Shabbat? Let us know at #tweetyourshabbat! Everyone is welcome at this table! Come hungry.

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Arugula, Nectarine and Burrata Salad

2 pounds multicolored heirloom cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh or dried thyme
1 sheet puff pastry
1 ripe nectarine
2 cups arugula
Olive oil
Champagne vinegar
Garlic salt
Burrata Cheese

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees and put parchment paper over a large baking sheet.

Spread olive oil over your work station, preferably an oversized cutting board. Place the thawed sheet of puff pastry and gently roll out, thin and even. Place the puff pastry, olive oil side up gently on the parchment prepared baking sheet. Poke with a fork a few times to prevent it puffing up while baking. Sprinkle with about a half teaspoon of garlic salt.

Wash and halve cherry tomatoes, sprinkle with fresh or dried thyme, which will make you feel very fancy. Sprinkle with about a half teaspoon of salt and drizzle with olive oil. Mix together with clean hands.

Spread the tomato half across the puff pastry. Place in oven and set timer for 25 minutes. Once the pastry is golden brown and the tomatoes are cooked, this lovely easy little tart is done.

While the tart is cooking, pour a good glass of wine and put on some Edith Piaf. Toss arugula with Champagne vinegar, salt and pepper. Cut nectarines into slices and burrata into generous creamy hunks. If you can’t handle the sticker shock of burrata, fresh mozzarella would also be lovely here.

Once the tart is cool, use the parchment paper to slide it onto your serving plate. Decorate with arugula salad. Shabbat Shalom!

Don’t forget: share what you’ll be eating, or what you ate (with pics!) and how you’re feeling this week at #TweetYourShabbat

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