Further, five years of blogging
“You’re either on the bus, or off the bus.”
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe
There once was a bus named Further (or Furthur). Further’s trip across country is famously chronicled in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe. I read The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test the summer after I graduated from high school. It was required reading for English composition at the local JC. To say I was stunned at the selection of book choice was an understatement. In high school English we read the classics, not books about the roots of hippie culture written in the style of New Journalism. By the time we finished the book and its’ related assignments most of the class had dropped out. It was summer and the book was a long, meandering, crazy read. Sure the book is about LSD laced Kool-Aid (LSD was legal then) and all the crazy things that happened. For me, the book was all about the metaphor of Further. Going further, further than before, to keep going, exploring and learning, living with passion and vigor, being in the moment.
Five years ago, when I started this blog, I was staring down my life. I had just lost my high-powdered job, a severe blow to our income and my self-esteem. I had worked for so long, I had no idea what to do with my time, my life. The days stretched out ahead of me with endless possibility and dread too. Working was all I had known. There were days I was so anxious I couldn’t concentrate or sit still. Long walks helped. I discovered our neighborhood, heck my own home. Before I would race down the streets, barely stopping at the stop signs in an effort to shave off minutes from my commute, I never noticed anything but the time. Always, what time was it? It didn’t take long to realize what a frazzled mess I’d become.
I started cooking dinner with enthusiasm, something I hadn’t done in years. I found myself searching the web for new recipes to try. I discovered the universe of food blogs. Thank heavens for my Mr who suggested I take this gift of time and do something I really wanted. I had no idea what I wanted but I was enjoying cooking and baking so much that the concept of my own food blog materialized. The Mr put the blog together for me, ignorance was bliss. There was so much to learn, especially with food photography. This blog has been my bus, it has taken me further. I am still riding the bus with countless others who have food blogs. I’m not sure if it matters if you’re on the bus or off the bus, maybe the bus ride is just more fun. Thank you for stopping by, reading and commenting. Your kind words are a bright spot in this crazy world and my appreciation is heart-felt and genuine.
This is my favorite pie crust recipe; it makes two galettes, or one traditional, double crust pie. If making a galette, freeze half the pastry dough to use later. Your busy summer self will be ecstatic when you find the dough already made. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and you’ll be ready to bake. I was gifted two huge bags of Carmel Valley plums and made jam and this galette. My desire to let the bright flavor of the plums be the star of this recipe led to a tangy rather than sweet dessert. Picky daughter was very disappointed. Therefore I suggest using a full cup of sugar to coat the plums. I added a few blackberries at the last minute and used then used the rest of the berries when I served the galette. The sweet berry flavor plays well with the tartness of the plums. When I cut into these plums, the intense summer colors almost took my breath away. I’d say the colors match the flavor.
|Pastry/Pie Crust (makes 2 galettes)|
|1/2C||cold unsalted butter|
|1/3C-1/2C||ice cold water|
|1T||white vinegar or vodka|
|2-1/2C||all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough|
|1t||fine grain sea salt|
|Plum BlackBerry Filling|
|4C||pitted and sliced plums|
|1C||sugar, plus more for sprinkling on the crust|
|1/2t||fine grain sea salt|
- Cube the butter and vegetable shortening and freeze for at least twenty minutes. Mix the ice water and vodka or vinegar together. In the bowl of a food processor add the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the chilled butter and shortening and pulse a few times until the butter and shorting is the size of small coins, mostly dimes and a few pennies. Scrape the flour mixture into large bowl. Pour 3 tablespoons of the ice cold water into the bowl and mix together. I use a flexible bench scraper to mix the pastry dough, it makes easy work of gathering it all together while following the contours of the bowl. The dough will come together in large clumps. Add cold water, a tablespoon at a time if the dough is too dry. Do not over mix. Scrape the dough out on a floured work surface. Knead or push the mass a just few times to bring the dough together in a ball, divide into two pieces. Shape them each into a flattened circle and wrap in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least two hours, overnight is even better. If making one galette, wrap the second piece of dough tightly in plastic wrap, label and freeze to use later.
- Heat the oven to 400°. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Prepare an egg wash by whisking the egg yolk and a tablespoon of water together. Place the plums and most of the blackberries (save a few to serve with the galette) in a large bowl and add the sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Gently fold, without breaking up the blackberries, until all the fruit is coated with the sugar mixture and the flour is no longer visible.
- With a floured rolling pin on a lightly floured work surface roll out the dough approximately in a 1/8” thick circle. Fold the dough in quarters, without stretching, and transfer to the center of the prepared sheet pan. Unfold the dough, without stretching, and pile all the plum mixture in the center. Spread the fruit in an even thickness across the center of the dough, leaving a 2-1/2” border. Fold the edges of the dough up and over the fruit, making overlapping layers. Brush the exposed crust with the prepared egg wash and generously sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake the galette at 400° for 45-55 minutes. When the galette is ready the crust will become deeply browned and the fruit juices will bubble up throughout the galette. If the galette is cut while warm, be prepared for juicy servings. Waiting until the galette has totally cooled and the filling has jelled is an accomplishment in self-restraint.
var _gaq = _gaq || ; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-44220881-1']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']);