© Antois Anchellois

Over-the-Top Dessert: Pastry chef Mitchelle Dy sautes plums in Chambord, a black raspberry liqueur, to give the succulent fruit even more sweetness and a slightly boozy edge. She then lays the plums in a puff pastry crust filled with ground almonds. The tart is gorgeous, but–because Dy prepares the almonds in a food processor and uses store-bought puff pastry–it’s simple to make.

Recipe: Almond-Plum Tart

Tomatoes are alive for three weeks in August. They absorb the rays and warmth of the sun at its hottest, and taste like the last two hours of light on a summer day. They bloom and blush a deep red. In these few days we know that the tomato is as much a fruit as a peach or a plum. It is no longer a half-formed thing in costume, a pale sponge leaking an embryo-slush of seed and flavorless water. These weeks are all sleepy Sundays. We have adapted and changed and the heat no longer stings our skin or melts our brains. Our freckles and tans have blossomed on our skin and the sun has melted into our veins and our flesh and our hair. It has changed us. We know how to move now. We drink our afternoon drinks more slowly, having found a lurid pace. This all comes just in time for passage into something windier, a moment of longer shadows and rising breezes. Wind chimes will become alarm bells and green-alive leaves turn to paper, scratching at the pavement. The tomatoes, a fine dust on their skin, are alive only in these last days of summer. Their lives are short. My mother gathers bushels to boil and peel and cook in oil with onion, freezing it all against the white-blank of coming winter. She will stir pasta into a remnant of the hot, steaming sun in the center of a table when the world outside is blanketed in snow and bathed in false light. She sends frozen packets of the last summer’s plump fullness to me and my sister to help our own bleak times. The rays are only frozen, suspended. They are still alive and will, with luck, survive to the next August when slices of tomato, raw and fully themselves, are lunch and dinner again. (Text originally published 18 August 2014)

[Painting: Tomato and Knife by Richard Diebenkorn, no date]