Friday, July 27, 2012

Sarah’s Key + Tomatoes

I seem to be on a book rampage this summer… I hope no one minds more book review posts in the near future.

So, here’s my review for Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, as promised.  

This book is a page turner, I finished reading it in a total of about 6 hours in less than a day. That is rare! I love reading but my attention span for books is not so great, that is why I read a couple at a time. But this one captivated me and kept me turning from one page to the next. I have never heard of the Velodrome d’Hiver Police Roundup until I started reading Sarah's Key. The Vel’d’Hiv Roundup is the history of French Jews captured by their own French police, as ordered by the Nazis in the summer of July 1942. This Jewish population was confined  temporarily in the velodrome under horrific conditions before they were sent to concentration camps. An eye-opening lesson in history that left me sad and devastated. It is hard to fathom how our fellow humans were so callous and had such disregard for thousands of innocent lives. This is fiction embedded in real history. The story of the two main characters, Sarah and Julia, intersect seamlessly in this beautiful book. Sarah is not a real person, but her experience could have easily been someone’s real experience during the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup.

I’m not going to lie, as much as I enjoyed reading this book, I felt like there was too much melodrama going on with Julia, the journalist’s, personal life. I got really curious about this historical event and would have preferred to read more details about it in the Sarah section. Other than that, this is an excellent book… great historical research, painful, beautiful, and redeeming. Sarah’s character will definitely haunt me for some time… 

Now then, on to… TOMATOES!  

Are you having an overabundance of tomatoes?

1. One of my favorite ways to eat tomatoes is to simply cut them in half and sprinkle a bit of salt on the juicy flesh. It tastes like warm sun on your skin… the taste of summer!

2. You can also dress it up by serving it fresh with mozzarella, fresh basil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and drizzles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Simple, classy, filing, and delicious!

This super gorgoeus presentation is not my doing... DFJ did this. Maybe he should be a food blogger. I can cook but am so bad at food presentation. Does anyone know of any workshops here in Washington State?

3. If you have read Molly Wizenberg’s book, A Homemade Life, she suggests cutting Roma tomatoes in half, coating them with olive oil, sprinkling them with salt and coriander, and then slow-roasting them in an oven preheated to 200 degrees F for 6 hours. I did it and we savored every bit of the roasted tomatoes!     

4. Joy the Baker recently posted a recipe on Tomato Cobbler with Blue Cheese Biscuits and after reading it, I knew I had to try it. So I did…

It is so freakin’ good! You guys are missing out on one heck of a great recipe if you don’t make this. The initial debate in my head was: go to the gym or make the biscuits and tomato cobbler… Obviously, Joy’s recipe won and I have no regrets. This is my new favorite tomato and biscuit recipe! Might be hard for me to find something to surpass both and that’s saying a lot coming from me who hardly makes recipes twice.   

I did not quite have everything on the ingredient list, so I made use of what was on hand. These were the substitutions that I made:

For the biscuits:
whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour
6 tbsp butter instead of 3 tbsp butter and 3 tbsp vegetable shortening
scant ¾ cup buttermilk
1-2 tsp heavy cream

For the filling:
Roma and Beefsteak tomatoes instead of cherry

5. There are so many other ways to take tomatoes to the next level... if you have any favorites, let me know. I would love more tomato recipes!

Enjoy your tomatoes!


  1. I'm enjoying the book reviews-keep em coming. I love A Homemade Life, and by love I mean, LOVE. Once the romas start coming in, I definitely plan on roasting some.

    1. Yay! Super delighted to know I'm not the only Molly obsessed person. The roasted tomatoes are a must try and must make often!

  2. Hi Margarita! Sarah's Key sounds amazing--I'm a sucker for historical fiction. (Loved Anne Frank's diary.) And all these tomato dishes look so delicious! Sadly, none of the tomatoes my mom planted grew, possibly (probably) because no one watered the plants... I'll have to buy some tomatoes and try the mozzarella salad.

    1. Anne Frank is definitely high on my fave list too! Dang, too bad about your mom's tomatoes. You have to try the tomato cobbler, it is a good one!

  3. I love your book reviews, it is giving me some suggestions, even though I am currently on book 3 of the A Song Of Ice and Fire series. I am borrowing it from my friend because I am a fan of fantasy novels. It takes me away from the real world. I haven't read much historical fiction (unless you count Catch 22, but I'd consider that more of a satire..)
    Roasted tomatoes! Man, your house must have smelled SO good!

    1. i started reading Catch 22, but could not get through it. the words were typed too small and it just seemed too long! LOL! the only fantasy novels i have read are the Harry Potter series... which I loved so much!

  4. Hi Margarita,
    I feel like I need to start reading more. Just don't seem to get the time.
    The tomatoes look gorgeous! I love the salad! My absolute favorite! Simple, light and full of flavor. Wonderful.

    1. Thank you Asmita... I usually don't have much time to read too, but this summer I have been finding the time because summer school required less work hours and not so much preparation.

  5. Great idea to reshare a post about tomatoes- all of these recipes are great! I love Molly's book as well, and hope to get through more recipes sometime soon. What other books are your favories? Are you on GoodReads by any chance? Would love to have a little Food Matters Project Book Club!

    1. hi evi! i am unfortunately not on goodreads. i love reading and have a lot of favorite books... the ones i remember off the top of my head are the following: the red tent by anita diamant; khaled hosseini's books; harry potter series; cutting for stone by abraham verghese; the memory keeper's daughter by kim edwards; water for elephants by sara gruen; etc! i think it would be a great idea to have an FMP book club!

  6. Love the recipes Margie! We just picked our first tomato for the year and I can't wait for the rest to grow.


Let me know what your thoughts are... Your comments always make my day!