“I wanted to make you a diamond (by squeezing a piece of coal, like Superman) but it didn’t work.” — Bobby Previte

Last night, on a challenge, I forbade myself a trip to the grocery store.  Then, pen in hand, I proudly scratched my way to a menu that I baptized “vaguely thematic”.

Because I wanted my beggar’s purses to come out of the oven at just the right time, I planned to assemble them fifteen minutes before we sat down to eat the first course and pop them straight into the oven.  Feeling virtuous, in that “I’m-really-making-this-work” sort of way, I tore into the box of phyllo dough that’s days of residence out number my own, only to discover that its contents were positively polka dotted with mold.

I looked up at the clock, trying not to panic, then gazed deeply into the bowl of artichoke filling, as if it held a solution.

I remembered the wheel of tart dough in the freezer.

I looked at it, unwrapped it, said a prayer and even thought about putting it in the microwave; and I knew I couldn’t do that.  I pressed on it firmly with my warm hands, thinking that I might be able to defrost it with sheer will, but it was frozen rock solid.  I pretended that the problem was solved for a few moments, then sadly slipped the dough back into the freezer.

I didn’t even have enough butter to make a new dough.  In a flash of desperation, I leaned over the computer and quickly typed the phrase “olive oil tart dough” into the search engine and clicked on the first link that came up.  Then, I barked to myself, “Ratios. Ratios. Ratios.  Look at the ratios.  Recipe. Recipe. Recipe.  Look at it.  Make it.  Turn up the oven.”

In about five minutes, I made and rolled out the tart dough.  I chilled it for slightly less than ten minutes, assembled a rustic gallette, brushed it with the small amounts of butter and cream I had left, then chucked it in the oven.  It wasn’t the best dough I’ve ever made, but it baked faster than a butter dough, had a nice, crispy bottom and even exhibited some tenderness after it rested a while.  It was so much better than I hoped it would be.

I would love to re-evaluate my efforts this morning with a slice of tart, but there aren’t any left.

9 February 2012

potato and beets with sieved egg, pickled chilies and horseradish mayonnaise

artichoke, onion and goat cheese tart with a salad of foraged chickweed and watercress, parsley, mint and radish

left over persimmon sorbet


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