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.
Healthy Comfort Food
People describe raising young kids as a particular season in life. I hadn't heard this until we had a baby, but it brought me a lot of comfort when I'd start to let my mind wander, late at night between feedings, to fears that we'd never travel internationally again or have a sit-down meal in our dining room. Would I ever eat a cardamom bun in Sweden? Soak in Iceland? I loved the heck out of our tiny Oliver, but man what had we done?! Friends would swoop in and reassure us that this was just a season, a blip in the big picture of it all. They promised we'd likely not even remember walking around the house in circles singing made-up songs while eating freezer burritos at odd hours of the day (or night). And it's true.
Oliver is turning two next month, and those all-encompassing baby days feel like a different time, a different Us. In many ways, dare I say it, Toddlerhood actually feels a bit harder. Lately Oliver has become extremely opinionated about what he will and will not wear -- and he enforces these opinions with fervor. Don't get near the kid with a button-down shirt. This week at least. He's obsessed with his rain boots and if it were up to him, he'd keep them on at all times, especially during meals. He insists on ketchup with everything (I created a damn monster), has learned the word "trash" and insists on throwing found items away on his own that really, truly are not trash. I came to pick him up from daycare the other day and he was randomly wearing a bike helmet -- his teacher mentioned he'd had it on most of the day and really, really didn't want to take it off. The kid has FEELINGS. I love that about him, and wouldn't want it any other way. But, man it's also exhausting.
I just finished washing out Oliver's lunchbox and laying it out to dry for the weekend. My favorite time of day is (finally) here: the quiet of the evening when I can actually talk to Sam about our day or sit and reflect on my own thoughts after the inevitable dance party or band practice that precedes the bedtime routine lately. Before becoming pregnant for the second time, I'd have had a glass of wine with the back door propped open right about now -- these days though, I have sparkling water or occasionally take a sip from one of Sam's hard ciders. Except now the back door's closed and we even turned on the heat for the first time yesterday. The racing to water the lawn and clean the grill have been replaced by cozier dinners at home and longer baths in the evening. You blink and it's the first day of fall.
I'd heard from many friends that buying a house wasn't for the faint of heart. But I always shrugged it off, figuring I probably kept better files or was more organized and, really, how hard could it be? Well, I've started (and stopped) writing this post a good fifteen times which may indicate something. BUT! First thing's first: we bought a house! I think! I'm pretty sure! We're still waiting for some tax transcripts to come through and barring any hiccough with that, we'll be moving out of our beloved craftsman in a few weeks and down the block to a great, brick Tudor house that we wanted the second we laid eyes on it. The only problem: it seemed everyone else in Seattle had also laid eyes on it, and wanted it equally as much. I'm not really sure why the homeowner chose us in the end. Our offer actually wasn't the highest, but apparently there were some issues with a few of them. We wrote a letter introducing ourselves and describing why we'd be the best candidates and why we were so drawn to the house; we have a really wonderful broker who pulled out all the stops, and after sifting through 10 offers and spending a number of hours deliberating, they ended up going with ours. We were at a friend's book event at the time when Sam showed me the text from our broker and I kind of just collapsed into his arms. We were both in ecstatic denial (wait, is this real?! Did we just buy a house?) and celebrated by getting chicken salad and potato salad from the neighborhood grocery store and eating it, dazed, on our living room floor. Potato salad never tasted so good.
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.
Porridge is not the sexiest of breakfasts, it's true. It doesn't have a stylish name like strata or shakshuka, and it doesn't have perfectly domed tops like your favorite fruity muffin. It doesn't crumble into delightful bits like a good scone nor does it fall into buttery shards like a well-made croissant. But when you wake up and it's 17 degrees outside (as it has been, give or take a few, for the last week), there's nothing that satisfies like a bowl of porridge or oatmeal. It's warm and hearty and can be made sweet or savory with any number of toppings. The problem? Over the years, it's gotten a bad rap as gluey or gummy or just downright boring or dutiful -- and it's because not everyone knows the secrets to making a great pot of warm morning cereal. So let's talk porridge (also: my cookbook comes out this month! So let's take a peek inside, shall we?)