It’s Sunday again, which means it’s time for projects. One of my best friends is moving away from my high-altitude little mountain town, so this means once a weekend we get together to spend precious time together before she skedaddles. This means that one day of the weekend turns into social day and the other becomes project day.
Saturday was social day. In the morning, I took a hike by myself, then spent the afternoon with my soon-to-be-too-many-states-away friend, then had two more friends over to watch Interstellar and then Moone Boy, because Interstellar is way too emotional to not follow up with a happy-go-lucky comedic television series about a young idiot boy in 1989 Ireland and his imaginary friend.
Thus, Sunday is project day. Today was fun indeed. I made bread (No-Knead Skillet Wheat Bread), breakfast sandwiches like normal, and a lemon and blackberry tart (more on that later).
I also realized two very important things. The first has to do with my conscience. I hate waste. I hate throwing away recyclable stuff, I hate not eating everything on my plate, even if I’m full (the starving African children!), I hate not putting every piece of produce to use… I’m also super into the modern food movement, which on the one hand is built on fancy new flavors (buttermilk-battered rabbit leg! brussel sprout risotto! the cronut!) and on the other hand is built on general hipsterness when it comes to sourcing and use.
I am a big proponent of cooking as an important life skill. Indeed, I even went so far as to teach a life-skills course last year during project week where I taught the kids to cook a meal. We made a quinoa caprese bake and homemade brownies. It was super fun, and too many children have no clue what goes into their food. Half of the American obesity problem, I think, comes from ignorance. High fructose corn syrup isn’t good for you (no matter what the TV commercials say) and homemade really isn’t that hard. We’ve been taught by food companies that homemade is so difficult and you shouldn’t have to put that much time into it. It’s not worth it, and it’s so much work and effort.
It’s really not that hard.
And it’s so worth it.
Thus, I am a big proponent of homemaking stuff. Likewise, I am a big proponent of trying to cut down on not just food waste but trash waste, as well. I basically repurpose all my glass containers that I get when I buy spaghetti sauce, I recently began making my own reusable snack bags, and I bring my own cloth bags to the grocery store. Well, today, I discovered a new thing I could do to help the Earth. (And feel pretty smug about it, I must say. Hence why I’m writing about it. Please don’t hit me the next time you see me, I’m just really excited.) I am allowed to bring my own containers to Sprouts to buy things in bulk. I have a wonderful set of plastic containers, into which I put three types of sugar (because one clearly isn’t enough — I have demarara, brown, and white) and granola. So, being sadly out of granola, I took my granola container to Sprouts and FILLED IT UP. It was pretty exciting. I didn’t have to fuss with getting granola out of those obnoxious bags (have you ever noticed that at Sprouts, the bulk bags are, like, knotted at the bottom? It makes getting the stuff out of them unreasonably difficult). I JUST PUT THE GRANOLA IN MY PLASTIC CONTAINER AND THEN WHEN I GOT HOME I JUST STUCK IT IN MY CUPBOARD.
Then, I also bought sugar. No big, right? Except that when I buy sugar (or flour for that matter…sheesh), I always buy more than can fit in my plastic container. So then I have a 1/4 full bag of sugar that just hangs out on my counter or shoved awkwardly into my cupboard until I can manage to use it up. On the other hand, my brown sugar container was only 1/4 full. BRAINSTORM. I CAN MAKE BROWN SUGAR WITH THE LEFTOVER WHITE SUGAR. Because what self-respecting American baker doesn’t have molasses in their cupboard? So that’s what I did. All my loose ends were tied up neatly today and I AM THRILLED.
Like I said, I’m excited.
Now, onto the tart. Oh, I love tarts. Tarts are so underrepresented in American culture. Tarts are amazing. Light enough to not feel too decadent, still substantial enough so you don’t feel cheated out of dessert. The last time I made tarts, I didn’t quite do it right, because I didn’t have apricot jam to cover the fresh fruit I put over the top. Thus, today, I’m doing it quite differently. See, I had leftover lemon curd from last weekend’s tea time delights. Lord, I love lemon curd, but it’s difficult to use just plain sometimes. Having said that, lemon curd mixed with cream cheese is literally a gift from heaven. The cream cheese makes it super decadent and light, and takes the edge off the tartness. Then, I made a thick blackberry sauce. Then I made paté sucre (fancy it’s-more-like-a-cookie tart crust). Then I put the lemon cream cheese goodness on the bottom, then put the blackberry sauce on top.
However. It did not come together like I wanted. It was too wobbly and liquidy and I couldn’t figure out a good way to make it firmer. Sad. But a good learning experience!
Two positives: it tasted good and it looked good. Better luck next time!