Tag Archives: thyme

Pear Gorgonzola and Walnut Rustic Tart


I’m not much of a New Year’s resolution person.  I could blame it on the fact that I often don’t finish what I’ve begun, and to some extent that may be true, but know it’s more about being someone who constantly takes stock, reflects, compulsively evaluates, over-analyzes, sifts, sorts, and thrives on general hair-splitting.  It’s endless, so to some degree  I welcome January 1 each year to think in a more focused way — at least that’s what I’ve convinced myself of.

It’s really more about being able to sigh for the first time after a busy holiday season and quietly celebrate that I don’t have to cook anything too involved if I’m not in the mood.  That for the first day in quite some time, mental lists, menus to plan, groceries to purchase, and errands to run aren’t interrupting a quiet moment, or causing alarm should something important be forgotten.  It’s exhausting, and each year I vow to live through the holidays more graciously, more collected, and more as someone who enjoys and participates rather than orchestrates and delivers.

And so I’m reflecting on our holidays today and remembering some of the delicious food we shared with those we know and love.  It always allows us to pause long enough to enjoy one another’s company, to laugh, clink our glasses in a toast or three, and then smile at the quiet that comes after everyone has picked up their forks and begun to eat.

This beautiful and delicious Pear Gorgonzola and Walnut Rustic Tart was made on Christmas Eve in celebration of a special couple, recently engaged who happen to have a kitchen always filled with music, and often, dancing.  Here’s to you Lisa and Steve!

This year, there will be more music and dancing in my kitchen.  I promise myself.

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Carrot Raisin Thyme Muffin Tops

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I've had a muffin pan in my cupboard for years that hasn't had much use.  The point of it from what I can remember was to create only muffin tops, and not an entire muffin.  I guess there are some individuals who prefer eating the puffy crispy top of a muffin and not the entire thing?

I can't imagine, because I don't hesitate for one second when I'm eating any part of a muffin.  But I bought the pan anyway. I'm incorrigible when I see something that is different.  Different as in — that's the strangest thing I've seen — and then toss it in my cart.

It's been used for tarts, mostly, because the cups are so shallow.  And it's been used for brownies because they pop right out and there's no cutting necessary.  It's also been used for a dessert I still haven't posted that keeps taunting me because I can sort of remember how I made it, but not exactly, so there the lovely photos of it sit, reminding me I should be more organized when I experiment.  Right.

But recently, I actually made muffins in the pan — finally.  The recipe I used to make these Carrot Raisin Muffins caught my eye because it was staring at me from the back of a box of Sun-Maid California Golden Raisins one morning when I was trying to dig my cereal out of the mess that is my son's pantry area.  I'd had carrot cake on the brain for a while and had been looking for a recipe that wasn't drowning in oil.  Instead, this recipe uses some butter and buttermilk. 

Maybe if I used the shallow muffin pan, I'd have little carrot cakelets…okay, muffin tops.

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Blueberry Peach Galette

<img alt="Blueberry Peach Galette"/>

What do you make when you have fresh peaches on the counter and some blueberries in the fridge?  You make a tart to share with your mother who’s coming over to have coffee, talk, and help dig through my dusty crafts box.

I used to spend quite a bit of time cutting and pasting, gluing and pressing, but time got away from me and my materials were shoved into a corner in the garage and pretty much forgotten the past five or six years.  It’s funny how one interest can replace another as time passes, and not just because my attention span is at times not as great as I’d like it to be.  It’s more about how technology continues to provide opportunity for diversion and that that opportunity, at least to me, is more intriguing than what used to interest me.

My mother and I spent time playing around with images, using Photoshop, and then drawing by hand while we watched a movie.  At one point, she mentioned that she felt like a third grader since we were parked each at a card table placed side by side in front of the television, markers and pens strewn across both tables.

Although we didn’t exactly finish what we’d started out to accomplish, we enjoyed messing around, and eating the tart which is perfectly simple to put together.  Make sure you allow at least two hours for the dough to chill ahead of time…

 

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Figs and Olive Oil Thyme Cake

Figs

I’ve been on a kick to try things I’ve not tried before.  I often boast that my palate’s not picky, but know very well that there are a few things I conveniently avoid when they surface in a menu or cross my path in the market.

One of those would be figs.

Outside of eating Fig Newtons when I was growing up, I don’t think we ever had a fig in the house.  I liked Fig Newtons’ gooey sweetness, but didn’t connect them with figs until I first saw them growing on a huge tree I was thinking of climbing on one of our summertime adventures in Chipiona, Spain.  I don’t know who the tree belonged to, but it was perfect for climbing.  The fact that it had fruit on it made things even better, whether I knew what the fruit was or not.

Of course I had to try one, and thinking back on that now, know that the fig didn’t stand a chance.  I have a problem with soft fruit, or fruit that’s overripe.  So when I chose one that had fallen to the ground, not only was it very soft, it was cloyingly sweet, and, I’m thinking, beginning to ferment.  Tree climbing was quickly forgotten because it truly was one of those spit and wipe your tongue off experiences.

Then I saw the “last bite” in Food & Wine’s 30th Anniversary issue“Olive Oil-Thyme Cake with Figs,” a recipe by Elizabeth Dahl of Chicago’s Boka.  When my son called about the morels, I asked whether he’d seen figs as well, wondering if I might be brave enough to give them a try.  I’ve seen other food sites where people were singing their praises, and nearly groaning over their fig passion.  Yes, Whole Foods had both green and black figs, or in this case, Calimyrna and Mission.

I guess I was going to have to step out of my food comfort zone on this one — a rare event.

But I had a very open mind…

Mission Figs

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