Archive | January, 2010

a jar full of sunshine

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When I was in college one of my best friends, Dan, came up to visit me several times a year. One of those years, on one of those visits, we embarked on what is to this day the greatest grocery shopping trip I have ever been on in my life.

I can’t really explain why, only that it’s one of those seemingly unremarkable days, those everyday-days in which nothing really happens, and yet you’ll always, always cherish it. A little slice of memory that perfectly sums up your friendship.

We spent hours (yeah) in the store, wandering up and down the aisles, throwing completely random things into our cart on a whim because we liked the packaging (a tiny jug of apple juice!) or similarly superfluous reasons. But the BEST thing about that trip is that Dan and I discovered lime curd.

Me and Dan, loosely around the time the infamous grocery trip took place

Me and Dan, loosely around the time the infamous grocery trip took place

Lime curd, in a little jar on the shelf at a grocery store in Ithaca, was somehow the most bizarre and hilarious thing Dan and I had ever witnessed. We shrieked and laughed in that aisle until we couldn’t breathe. Because, really, what the hell was curd, anyway? We had no idea, but it sounded horrifying and hysterical. It instantaneously became an inside joke we’ve tossed back and forth ever since.

But last year, I finally found out exactly what curd is: DELICIOUS.

Now, I’ve never made (or tasted) lime curd. I just can’t bring myself to do that without Dan. It would be blasphemous. But I have become rather well acquainted with lemon curd, and I’ve got to tell you that stuff is stunningly tasty.

You can eat it right out of the jar. Off a spoon, your finger, whatever. Put it on toast. Put it on cake. Put it on anything and everything. Just please enjoy that tangy-sweet, sunshiney bit of heaven.

Or, you could really go all out and make a strawberry galette. A galette is a “rustic” tart. In other words: you don’t have to bother with making the crust look all beautiful and professional because we’re just going to lazily throw the whole thing together and say it’s homemade and charming. Fantastic!

Strawberry Galette with Thyme Crust and Meyer Lemon Curd

(Meyer Lemon curd and Strawberry Galette adapted from Dishing Up Delights)

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Ingredients

  • 1 pint of strawberries, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • several tablespoons of lemon curd (although you can buy it in a store, it’s super easy to make your own, which I did here. I can post the recipe if anyone’s interested)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 stick butter, chilled and cubed
  • 2-4 tablespoons ice water

Directions
Mix the flour, salt, and thyme. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender (or do the whole thing in a food processor. It’s a tart, not a pie, so I won’t be picky). Add the ice water a tablespoon at a time until dough is just combined. Gather into a ball, cover in saran wrap, and chill in the fridge for at LEAST an hour (the longer the better).

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the strawberries, cornstarch, honey, and lemon juice in a bowl and set aside.

After properly chilled, roll out the dough in a circle a 1/4 inch thick. Top with a few tables spoons of lemon curd, spreading the curd into an even layer over the dough, but leaving a one inch border around the edge. Top with the strawberry mixture, and fold the edges of the dough over the top.

Brush with the egg wash mixture, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until crust is golden and filling is bubbly. Let cool before serving. If feeling truly decadent, top with homemade whipped cream. Swoon.

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Posted by on January 12, 2010 in Food

yeah, you make me merry–make me very, very happy

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Every January I make the same resolution: “I shall learn to make button holes, and attend to my parts of speech.” A few among you may recognize that heroic declaration as belonging to Miss Amy March and appearing in chapter eleven of LITTLE WOMEN (one of my all-time favorite re-reads). My parts of speech are rather well attended, in my opinion (although it’s true that I don’t know how to make button holes), but I like having this little bon mot ready whenever someone inevitably asks what my resolutions will be on any given year.

I don’t like to make proper resolutions. They always seem trite and insurmountable. But of course there are things that I’d like to change or accomplish within the next year or more.

There are the obvious things, such as being financially stable and landing a full-time job that I enjoy. I’d of course like to be healthier and use my time wisely and take ballroom dance classes like I’ve sworn I would since 2005.

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But mostly, it’s the little things I truly want to master in 2010. I want to learn to accept compliments with grace. To let go of that which truly does not matter. To be sure that the people in my life know how much I love and appreciate them. To be kinder to myself. To embrace new challenges sincerely and openly. To lift the restrictions I place upon myself and to become an active, courageous participant in the story of my own life.

I want to take steps toward becoming my best self with each passing year.

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2009 is the year I left behind an established career that I loved, the city that forced me to grow up, and my best friends and family, and moved to the middle of nowhere (sorry, but it’s true) for the love of my life and our future together. And that was just the tail end of the year!

I also baked bread for the first time in 2009, which quickly became a habit. I joined yet another writers group and still didn’t get any closer to finishing my novel. I had a gym membership and actually, you know, went to the gym. Some of the time, anyway. I visited Chicago and Minnesota, attended the wedding of one of my dearest friends, purchased and wore rain boots, discovered a favorite cocktail, paid forward all the good will (and couch surfing) that was given to me upon my arrival in New York so many years ago, ate Ethiopian food for the first time, saw my first real shooting star, ate at the 21 Club, and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.

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I can only hope that each coming year is better than the last. And with the way things are going, it looks like 2010 will be.

I love and miss you all! I wish you health and happiness in 2010!

xoxo

Posted by on January 6, 2010 in Personal