I have this fantasy that I should be able to create beautiful things effortlessly. Why? Because that’s how everyone else does it of course! Things that look effortless but aren’t really, at least not for me, perplex me. Frozen puff pastry is one good example. I’ve bought puff pastry and put it in my freezer several times and brought it out to thaw with hopes of creating delicious beautiful desserts. But I have this fear of rolling it. I keep thinking of like biscuit dough and I probably shouldn’t mess with it too much. Or if I keep rolling it I’m going to roll away the layers of puff from the dough – so I end up either being afraid or in a hurry and it just doesn’t turn out. Generally I’m usually not pleased.. But hope springs eternal- I did it again. I brought home the best puff pastry I could find at Whole Foods Market -put it in the refrigerator to thaw and got to work on some beautiful fresh peaches that I bought at the farmers market earlier.
The whole idea behind a rustic tart is its free-form easy effortless construction. Anybody can make a rustic tart right? Especially if they’re going to use pre-made pastry. I cleaned and scored the peaches. Once I dipped them in hot water they peeled easily. Freestone peaches are lovely to work with- these split in half easily and the seeds came out clean. I gave them a rough chop and threw them in a pan with some cane sugar from Mexico and a squeeze of lemon. I also mixed in a couple of tablespoons of a delicious raspberry freezer jam that I made a couple weeks ago to add some tartness. Lastly, there were a few nectarines that needed to be used up so I chopped them and gave them to the pan as well. I let the jam cook down on medium high heat for 20 minutes or so. Afterwards I put it into a bowl and slipped it into the freezer to cool down. Now for the pastry.
The whole idea behind the rustic tart is its freeform easy effortless construction. Anyone can make a rustic tart right? especially if they’re going to use pre-made pastry! I took the thawed pastry out of the packaging and unfolded on to a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. It immediately cracked. (of course!) I smooshed the cracked edges back together and rolled it out some. I feel like maybe not enough, it may have been too much frankly I don’t know. It fit into a half sheet pan. I brushed the pastry with a bit of an egg yolk mixed with water and placed the cooled peach jam in the center of the puff pastry. I brought the edges of the pastry in toward the center and cut some of the corners off. Some of the corners I tucked under. Some of the corners I just left as they were. (see what i mean?) Of course the filling started leaking out immediately. This was not the glamorous effortless experience I was looking for. All of my fears and insecurities realized right here in front of me. I try to stop the leak as best that I could, and sliced a few beautiful perfect peach slices to lay on top of the jam for nice presentation. I brushed the whole thing with the egg mixture and sprinkled raw sugar over the top. I put the completed tart in the freezer for about 30 minutes, then into a 400° oven for about 20 minutes. I took the oven down to 350 and gave it another 15 or 20 minutes
Instead of whipped cream I had some ice cream on hand that I’d made last week. It’s a lovely vanilla bean and bourbon that complements the peaches perfectly. The tart tasted great when it was warm. But I’m not very happy with the pastry on bottom. Maybe that’s just the nature of puff. Maybe it was the leaky juices, maybe I undercooked it? The bottom seemed hard but not really cooked. Do you have experience with puff pastry? Did you have a beautiful effortless experience? If so please give me your feedback in the comments. I want it too!
Last year I had so much fun making jam. I went crazy with the jamming and canning. Last week I decided it was time to make jam! So bought a bunch of raspberries that were on sale thinking I would start-up this year’s Jam-o-Rama. I would start with a huge batch of apple pectin and a small test batch of peach jam. The peaches are the goal for peach jam- but they are not ready yet. Not to be put off-I made the pectin for the peach jam (in the freezer now) and I cooked a few peaches. I made this mixed berry jam and I made these lovely shortcakes. They remind me of biscuits, my husband called them scones. I thought they were delicious. A little nutmeg, a little lemon- yum. I probably would have added the sugar at the end of cooking rather than at the beginning. My sugar browned before the bread did. I would have liked to bake them a little longer. Next time….
The recipe from Bon Appetit magazine I used calls for blueberry jam to mix with berries to make more jam. I had a lovely blueberry jam from last year and then of course the raspberries. I used those and added the blackberries I had on hand too. Why not? Making small batch jam is fun and feel less risky than a whole monstrous jam pan full of boiling sugary fruit. Oh, I also made the lemon whipped dream. IT WAS AMAZING. Easy and fun to do, it was a nice mix and stayed lively a couple of days in the fridge.
You’ve already seen them presented as the classic 4th of July light dessert – but I confess I liked them better as breakfast the next day. I also made some roasted strawberries. They are amazing. I would like to use them in a jam. I used these as a jam and they are pretty intense. You can see them in the photo below. This was a wonderful breakfast. I thought of the song “California Dreaming” while looking at this the morning I was enjoying it. By the way- That’s my favorite coffee as a pour over with half and half and brown sugar. No matter the coffee I like it creamy and sweet- and in a large mug, even “if I was in L A.. ” Oh I froze raspberries. Those are to be continued.
This is an easy peasy recipe from Bon Appetit that would be great at lunch or dinner. The ingredients were on hand, although I did buy extra parsley. I roasted the raw almonds in the oven and it all came together in the food processor. The most “work” was washing the parsley. You’ll need about 2 big bunches to get enough leaves. I sorted out the longer stems. The recipe was fantastic as written, but I’d probably add some garlic next time. Maybe roasted garlic. Try this, I think you’ll like it!
I like to pan roast garlic in olive oil. It’s fun, it’s wonderful on pizza. I made it the last time I made pizza. I kept the oil and used it for pasta and bread dipping. It makes me feel smart to pan roast garlic. It’s lovely roasted in the oven, but this a little faster, and it is fun to watch over. Yummmmm. Pan Roasted Garlic.
It’s been kind of quiet around here on the ole blog, but I’ve been really really busy. I had some surgery, got a new puppy, and I had some more surgery! Some of that repair work has been on both wrists. (I blog with voice recognition software but the thing about pain and painkillers, they make it hard to think. They also make it hard to “do” things. Every time I know I have a surgery I’m just sure that I’ll be “reading a lot” and “blogging a lot” and “doing” all those things that you can do while you sit and rest. For me, surgical recovery doesn’t allow that kind of thing to happen for at least a couple of months. I can buy books and stare at them but I can’t really comprehend. So I’m looking at a lot of pretty pictures and ingredient lists but there’s been no serious cooking around here lately. I did do this fun dessert. Those are groats and walnuts. It’s boozy and creamy. It’s more subtle flavors will surprise you.I made this Shaved Asparagus and sausage pizza with mushrooms and homemade fresh cherry tomato sauce and crust.
By the way I wanted to mention- If you take a look on this page on the upper right side you’ll see a new link for a new page called “what about the yoga?” If you’re curious why don’t you give it a click. It’s really for those people who found this website looking for yoga classes taught by me.
Who knows? Things could get crazy and I could start posting yoga stuff again over there. I certainly intend on practicing asana again this summer. It really is healing when practiced in a therapeutic way… at a reasonable pace. My 3-5 classes- per- day-days will never return. But soon I’ll be doing it- and it’ll be hot. And sweet.
Speaking of sweet- I did bake this cake a few weeks ago:
There is so much going on. There were some less than stellar moments:
I just ran out of this lemonade. It is/was so delicious. It’s the second batch I’ve made this month. What you see there in the picture is what I just finished drinking. I posted about it on Facebook last time I had some;
“I have unlocked the secret to sweet lemonade. Nectar!” It’s true. I think this is my current favorite way to make lemonade. It’s smooth, and not too sweet and SO refreshing. Yep, this stuff is Nectar. And as long as I can get fresh Meyers, I’m going to keep squeezing. :::cue the band::: (push play)
The secret is, like many “secrets” in cooking is just a little planning and a little time. The fragrant Meyers keep everything on the sweet/tart side. There is something about this variety of lemon that keeps attracting me all season again and again. I did add a little bit of “regular” lemon and I couldn’t pass up the blood orange blushing so beautifully in the produce drawer. It seemed the right thing to do to add it too for some interest and depth to the tang. The other secret is to make the simple syrup ahead. Maybe even the day ahead. OH! Also, don’t juice the citrus until around 30 minutes before you are ready to mix everything up.
Not only is this Local Texas lemonade, this is seriously LOCAL Local lemonade. “Local” like, right down the street. Yep, the Meyers are grown right here in the Houston Heights, procured from our own Revival Market AND the sugar is Imperial Sugar. Imperial is our neighbor in Sugarland, TX. Sugarland is SO close I have been known drive all the way out there (30 minutes one way) to get good Bikram yoga. I LOVE Sugarland. The Whole Foods Market out there is as big as a Wal-Mart!
So do it like we do in Texas. Get some good yoga, good sugar and good local produce. Add some nice filtered “local” water and “I’ll tell you what,” you’ll be drinking this till it’s gone too.
Texas Lemonade with Real, by God, Sugar
1.5 cups Meyer Lemon juice
.5 cup reg lemon juice
.5 cup blood orange juice
2.5 cups simple syrup
6 cups filtered water
Zest of Half Blood orange
Zest of one Meyer Lemon
Make the syrup: Mix equal parts LOCAL TEXAS sugar and water. Bring to a boil, let simmer about 15 minutes.
Cool and refrigerate.
When you are ready to assemble:
Zest orange and one Meyer Lemon. Set aside.
Juice the Meyer lemons and the blood orange.
Mix the juices with equal parts of simple syrup.
Add 6 cups of water-more or less to taste- whatever you like.
Add the zests.
Serve chilled or on ice with a wheel of lemon or orange.