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.
Winter Soups and Stews
If your house is anything like ours, last week wasn't our most inspired in terms of cooking. We're all suffering from the post-election blues -- the sole upside being Oliver's decision to sleep-in until 7 am for the first time in many, many months; I think he's trying to tell us that pulling the covers over our heads and hibernating for awhile is ok. It's half-convincing. For much of the week, instead of cooking, there'd been takeout pizza and canned soup before, at week's end, I decided it was time to pour a glass of wine and get back into the kitchen. I was craving something hearty and comforting that we could eat for a few days. Something that wouldn't remind me too much of Thanksgiving because, frankly, I can't quite gather the steam to start planning for that yet. It was time for a big bowl of chili.
Last weekend it was so windy – apocalyptically stormy, you could say – that our tent at the farmers market was uprooted by gusts of wind that were not messing around. I wasn't there, but apparently despite being heavily weighted down and with four customers holding onto each corner, it quite literally blew down the block. Sam, from across town, was reporting trees falling on every block and traffic lights out across the city. The next morning on a walk with Oliver around Green Lake, we were met with that same biting wind and ended up retreating for a hot chocolate instead. 'Tis the season in Seattle: we all get a little giddy and ahead of ourselves when we spot the cherry blossoms and daffodils, and I always trick myself into thinking that with the start of daylight savings time, summer must be right around the corner. In truth, before we had Oliver, we'd often travel somewhere sunny for a little mood boost around this time of year. When I moved from California, many friends – other (empathetic) 'expats' now living in the Pacific Northwest – recommended this: if you know what's good for you, they'd all say, go find the sun in February or March, and we would follow that advice faaaaaithfully. But with a baby, this just isn't where our priorities are this year, and I've found myself relying on other antics like buying out of season strawberries, drinking white wine with dinner, buying a new pair of sandals that likely will not see the light of day for the next two months, and making big, colorful pots of feel good, springy soup. Let's not kid ourselves: Cherry blossoms or not, Seattle's no Palm Springs when it gets down to bathing in the sunlight. But if you step outside onto your little porch, smell the honeysuckle blooming, take notice of the longer, lighter days and think about how you simply can't wait to see your baby crawling around on the sand when it's warm enough to stroll down to the beach, it starts looking better in its own light.
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).
One of the things I wanted to accomplish before really returning to work in earnest was to print some of our honeymoon photos and get them into an album. This project has taken far longer than expected as I find myself daydreaming about the craggy streets of Naples and meeting up with our friends Mataio and Jessica for a late night slice of pizza which we ate sitting on the sidewalk before embarking on an aimless but wonderful stroll of the city. There are photos of our balcony by the sea, most with tanned limbs, sandy sandals and a Campari and soda gracing the periphery of the frame. There was the little grocery store up the hill from our apartment on the Amalfi Coast that had the sweetest, tiniest strawberries and the best yogurt in little glass jars. Tomatoes drying in the sun, Aperol spritzes and salty peanuts before dinner at the bar across from the church square where all the neighborhood kids played kickball. As I sit here typing this now, photos remain scattered on my desk and it's likely they may not make it into the proper slots in the album anytime soon. Of course, they have me dreaming of sunshine and long days with little agenda, but they also have me thinking about the simplicity of our meals in Italy and how truly easy it was to eat well. Coincidentally, a few days ago Rachel Roddy's lusty new cookbook (can we call it lusty?!), My Kitchen in Rome, arrived at our doorstep. Clearly it was time to set the photos aside and get into the kitchen.
And suddenly, it's fall. I find that realization always comes not so much with the dates on the calendar as it does the leaves on the ground, the first crank of the heat in the morning, the dusky light on the way home from an evening run. Because we were gone on the train for nearly a week, I feel like fall happened here in Seattle during that very time. I left town eating tomatoes and corn and returned to find squashes and pumpkins in the market. It was that quick. And so, it only seemed fitting that I make this soup, one that has graced the fall table of each and every apartment (and now house) I've ever lived. In fact, I'm surprised that I hadn't yet made it for you here, and delighted to share it with you today.