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Bungo awakened to Sun streaming in the window,confused. It was coming in the wrong side of the room...oh, that's right! I'm not at Bag End. I'm in a guest room at the Great Smials!. Recalling this worried him. He was to breakfast with the Thain's sons this morning. Belladonna's boisterous brothers intimidated him. Still, he took heart when he thought of Gerontius' words the night before. As he dressed, he gathered his courage; he wouldn't see Bella until elevenses when they were to go on a picnic together.
Belladonna flittered about the small kitchen in the Thain's quarters, preparing the picnic basket: green tomato tarts, fresh from the oven; cold ham; cheese; yeasty buns; a small jar of her mother's special mustard, and a bowl of summer fruit--strawberries, cherries, plums, even two prized peaches from the Thain's glass house. She tied a square of linen over the bowl, placing it in the basket. It already contained dishes and silverware for two. She added a bottle of elderberry wine, and then on top placed napkins. Oh! the picnic cloth! She went to the sideboard and took out the small cloth that was used for picnics, and tucked it beneath the handle of the basket.
The two sat upon the blanket, the few remains of their meal scattered for the ducks who were floating serenely upon the pond. They were both quite sated, in that pleasant state that claimed most hobbits after a good meal.
"I enjoyed the meal very much, my dear," said Bungo. He was fidgeting nervously in his pocket.
Belladonna blushed. "Thank you."
He pulled a small box from his pocket. "Belladonna, love, we've been courting for a while and you are soon to come of age. Are you ready to become officially betrothed?" He held out the box, and she opened it and took out the beautiful necklace on its golden chain.
"Oh, yes!" She threw herself into his arms, both startling and delighting him.
The kiss was even more delightful.
1-1/2 cups sugar
Core and wash the green tomatoes, and then roughly chop them. Do not peel them or seed them.
In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add tomatoes and vinegar; toss to coat.
You can make the filling one or two days in advance and keep covered and refrigerated until you are ready to use it.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and stir briefly until the mixture is aerated. Using a pastry cutter, large fork, or your fingers, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles course meal.
Slowly dribble in the water and mix just until the dough comes together. Make sure it's well-mixed, but don't overwork it or it will become tough. Form it into a ball, and then flatten it slightly into sort of a cake shape. Cover and let rest in the refrigerator for about a half an hour.
Then take out and place on a floured surface and roll it out with a rolling pin into a large rectangle. Cut into eight equal squares.
Into the center of each square, put some of the filling; don't overfill. Fold the crust corner to corner into triangles. Use a fork to crimp and seal each tart. Prick the dough with the fork slightly. Place the tarts on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes, or until tomatoes are tender and the crust is golden. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Yield: 6-8 servings.
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