The phrase "farm-to-table" loses some of its meaning when you eat dinner on a farm. That's what Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge do nightly in upstate New York, where they've turned a tract they bought in 2007 as a weekend escape into a working patch. Today, Beekman Farm is a source of fresh ingredients for the hearty, healthy recipes showcased in the couple's new book The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook, which offers 100 traditional-yet-surprising dishes.

"The idea is that there's something for everyone, it's not all or nothing," says Ridge. "So many people don't know how to cook vegetables or think they don't like them, so these are dishes everyone will like that bring out the best in each vegetable."

Ridge is quick to point out that his recipes aren't vegetarian. He prefers the term "vegetable-forward," which means they make the most of earthy flavors by (sometimes) pairing them with meat. He's particularly fond of working with tomatoes, which are easy to grow, go with everything, and ideal for warmer weather dishes. "I get excited just talking about tomatoes," Ridge says. It's an understandable sentiment given what he can do with them. He provided us with a recipe for his Tomato Tart, which uses cheese, pastry, tomatoes, and basil – the fundamental elements of a pizza – to create something far more interesting. 

Tomato Tart

Ingredients (serves 6 to 8)

  • All-purpose flour, for rolling the pastry
  • 1 sheet (7 to 8 ounces) frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed but still cold
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta, drained
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1⁄3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3⁄4 pound tomatoes, cored, halved, and cut into 1⁄2-inch-thick slices

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll the pastry out to a 10 x 15-inch rectangle and transfer it to the baking sheet.

With a paring knife, score a border 1 inch in from the edge all around the rectangle, cutting into, but not through, the dough. With a fork, prick the dough inside the border all over (this is so the border will rise higher than the center that’s been pricked). Brush the center with 1 tablespoon of the oil.

In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta, goat cheese, eggs, basil, 1 ⁄2 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper. Spread the mixture over the center of the puff pastry sheet. Top with the tomatoes, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the remaining 1 ⁄4 teaspoon salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is set.