I generally work on weekends. It’s something I’ve come to terms with only because I know it won’t last forever. I write. I bake. But those two things don’t always pay the bills, so I work retail on the weekends and dream of the day when I’ll have a Sunday like this one:
or this one:
Have you seen this book, Sundays are for Lovers? It’s the kind of little book you can have by your bed side and just keep glancing at and it makes you happy. It’s curated by MAV (maria alexandra vettese) 1/2 of the blog, 3191 miles apart and features writers like Molly Wizenburg, photographers like Jonathan Levitt and artists/designers including Deb Wood and Lena Corwin. It’s a veritable visual smorgasbord of what a sensual Sunday is all about. There is a photo or illustration accompanying each contributor and then they’re asked to answer a few simple prompts about their Sundays. From spicy Bloody Mary’s and grits to dreaming about a house by the sea and sitting on the stoop in the evening…this is Sunday encapsulated.
So I thought it’d be fun to answer the prompts, too as I thought about Sundays when I’m not waking up and putting on my practical shoes so I can stand and talk to customers all. day. long. These are my Sundays to come. I encourage you to make a Sunday list. It could be your current Sunday list…or maybe it’s your Sundays to come. Share it here if you’d like. I’d love to hear yours.
My home base is: just north of San Francisco
Day to day I work as: freelance writer
If I didn’t do this I would: bake
Next year I will travel to: the South (Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina)
To me Sunday means: catching up with friends and family, brunch, the New York Times
And I like to eat: poached eggs on toast. Or jammy scones. And strong coffee.
And I will get out of bed: 9
And get dressed around: 3
And I will smile about: the morning light, broken-in slippers, my favorite mug, possibility.
And I just may daydream about: spooning
And when Monday comes: I’ll answer work emails and make some more coffee
Thankfully, even when I’m working I still find time to bake. And these are the most perfect Sunday treat ever. They’re honestly a cinch to put together–the components themselves take a little time which is o.k. on a Sunday when you may be putzing around the house in the morning. It’s a dessert you’ll look forward to in the evening, and by now you know how I like to eat baked goods for breakfast. So I’d encourage that, too. These galettes make the house smell like a dream. Even if you have big weekend plans, you may not want to leave.
For this recipe, I used a very common and traditional pate brisee recipe for the galette crust and Tartine Bakery’s recipe for Frangipane Almond Cream. I love the combination of the beautiful, ripe figs with the slightly sweet almond cream and the flaky, butter crust. While the directions appear lengthy at first, this is really a very simple fall dessert. And it’s versatile: you could do this with stone fruit or berries in the summer, and I’m looking forward to trying it with apples.
Begin by making the galette dough: Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the cubes of butter and quickly pulse until the pieces of butter are about the size of large peas. Add the ice water through the feed tube while using long pulses until the dough comes together and sticks together when you squeeze it inbetween two fingertips. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons more water if the mixture is too crumbly.
Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and pat into a round disk. Wrap tightly and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 4 days.
Next, make the almond cream: In a food processor, combine the almonds with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and process until finely ground. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the remaining sugar (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) and mix to incorporate. Add the almond-sugar mixture and beat until thoroughly combined. Add the salt and the egg and mix until incorporated. Then, add the milk and mix until light and fluffy. Note: You should have about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the almond frangipane leftover. It stores well for up to a week; don’t be tempted to use it all in the galettes or they’ll tend to overflow and
Now, assemble the galettes:
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and slice into 4 even triangles*. Flour your work surface and your rolling pin. Beginning with one piece of dough, quickly form it into a round shape using your hands. With a rolling pin, roll out into a 7-8 inch rounds, about 1/4-inch thick. Don’t worry if they’re not perfectly round–it doesn’t matter. Place each dough round on lined baking sheet.
Spoon 2 tablespoons almond frangipane in the center of each dough circle and arrange the figs concentrically in the center, leaving a 2-inch border around the edge. You can allow the figs to overlap. Lift the pastry edge and fold over filling to make a nice, crimped border–again, doesn’t have to be perfect. Once galettes are assembled, place in refrigerator for 1 hour (this helps with the flakiness of the dough).
Preheat the oven to 375 F. After the dough has chilled for 1 hour, remove from the refrigerator and prepare the egg wash: Whisk egg in a small bowl to make egg wash, and use it to brush the edges of the crust of each galette; sprinkle the sides of the crust with sugar.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, until figs are bubbling slightly and edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 30 minutes. Top with whipped cream or mascarpone and honey if you’d like.
Glimpses of Spring
We returned home from San Francisco on New Years Eve just in time for dinner, and craving greens -- or anything other than baked goods and pizza (ohhhh San Francisco, how I love your bakeries. And citrus. And winter sunshine). Instead of driving straight home, we stopped at our co-op where I ran in for some arugula, an avocado, a bottle of Prosecco, and for the checkout guys to not-so-subtly mock the outlook of our New Years Eve: rousing party, eh? They looked to be in their mid-twenties and I figured I probably looked ancient to them, sad even. But really, there wasn't much sad (or rousing, to be fair) about our evening: putting Oliver to bed, opening up holiday cards and hanging them in the kitchen, and toasting the New Year with arugula, half a quesadilla and sparkling wine. It wasn't lavish. But it's what we both needed. (Or at least what we had to work with.) Since then, I've been more inspired to cook lots of "real" food versus all of the treats and appetizers and snacks the holidays always bring on. I made Julia Turshen's curried red lentils for the millionth time, a wintry whole grain salad with tuna and fennel, roasted potatoes, and this simple green minestrone that I've taken for lunch this week. Determined to fit as many seasonal vegetables into a bowl as humanly possible, I spooned a colorful pesto on top, as much for the reminder of warmer days to come as for the accent in the soup (and for the enjoyment later of slathering the leftover pesto on crusty bread).
It turns out shopping for wedding dresses is nothing like they make it appear in the movies. Or at least it hasn't been for me. Angels don't sing. Stars don't explode. Relatives don't cry. There isn't a sudden heart-stopping moment that this is, in fact, "the one." To be honest, I always knew that I wasn't the kind of gal for whom angels would sing or stars would explode but I did think I'd have some kind of moment where I could tell I'd found the best dress. Instead, my mom flew into town and we spent three (yes, three!!) days shopping for dresses, and since then I've been back to the stores we visited -- and I'm more undecided than ever. Tomorrow morning I'll return with my friend Keena to try and tie this business up once and for all. Cross your fingers.
When I was single and living alone in the Bay Area, I made virtually the same thing for dinner each night. I ate meals quickly while in front of the computer. Or even worse: the television. This most often included what I call "Mexican Pizzas" which were basically glorified quesadillas baked in the oven until crispy. Sometimes, if I was really feeling like cooking, I'd whip up a quick stir-fry with frozen vegetables from Trader Joe's or a mushroom frittata using pre-sliced mushrooms. Mostly, though, it was Mexican Pizzas -- a good four or five nights a week. Today, thankfully, dinner looks a lot different. Meals in general look a lot different. How would I explain that difference? I think that ultimately how we feel about our life colors how we choose to feed ourselves and the importance that we place on preparing our own meals.
Today was 75 degrees in Seattle and it seemed the whole city was out and about drinking iced coffee in tank tops and perhaps not working all that hard. When we have a hit of sunshine like this in April (or, really, any time of the year), we're all really good at making excuses to leave the office early -- or, simply, to "work from home." I just got back from LA last night, unpacked in a whirlwind this morning, and took Oliver to meet up with three friends from our parents group at the zoo. The only other time I'd been to the Seattle zoo was once with Sam a few years ago when we arrived thirty minutes before closing and ended up doing a whirlwind tour -- sprinting from the giraffes to the massive brown bear to the meerkat. The visit today was much different: we strolled slowly trying to avoid the spring break crowds and beating sun. I managed to only get one of Oliver's cheeks sunburned, and he even got in a decent nap. A success of an afternoon, I'd say. Coming home I realized we didn't have much in the fridge for lunch -- but thankfully there was a respectable stash of Le Croix (Le Croix season is back!) and a small bowl of this whole grain salad I made right before I left town. It's the kind of salad that's meant for this time of year: it pulls off colorful and fresh despite the fact that much of the true spring and summer produce isn't yet available. And for that reason, I make a few versions of it in early spring, often doubling the recipe so there's always the possibility of having a small bowl at 1 p.m. while the baby naps in the car seat, one cheek sunburned, windows and back door open -- a warm breeze creeping into the kitchen.
On Monday our little family of three is headed to the airport at 6 am to board our first with-baby cross-country trip. We'll be visiting Sam's family in New Jersey for a few days, then renting a car and driving over to meet up with my family at my mom's lake house in the Adirondacks. Sam's younger sister and her kids have yet to meet Oliver; my grandpa has yet to meet him, and Oliver has yet to take a dunk in a lake, see a firefly, or spend quality time with energetic dogs -- of which there will be three. A lot of firsts. This week my family has been madly texting, volunteering to make certain meals or sweets on assigned days while we're at the cabin and it got me thinking about really simple, effortless summer desserts -- in particular, ones that you can make while staying in a house with an unfamiliar kitchen and unfamiliar equipment and still do a pretty bang-up job. I think fruit crisp is just that thing.