Pear, spinach, rosemary, bleu cheese galettes

Bleu cheese, rosemary, pear and spinach galettes

Maybe spring is to blame, but I feel as though I’m bursting with recipes I want to share, and recipes I want to make. I have about five things I’ve recently made that I want to tell you about. I’d save them up and tell you about one each day, but I also have about five things buzzing around in my head that I can’t wait to cook! It’s gotten really bad, I tell you! So I apologize in advance for posting more than once a day. As ever, feel free to ignore it all!!

I live in a sleepy little city on the Delaware. I’m no town historian, but our house is from 1850, and it feels as though most of the rest of the town was built up at that time. Lots of brick row houses. Narrow streets and small yards. More antique stores and art galleries than we know what to do with. (Delightfully so!)

One weekend of the year our quiet little town becomes crazy crowded – we have a street festival! Roads are blocked off, booths are erected. Hundreds of people walk by each day. We can watch it all from our store – just on the edge of the action. Our store is small and has a huge window in front, so we feel like we’re in a fishbowl, watching the crowds go by. It’s oddly quiet, despite the sudden population increase. Maybe from the lack of cars. Maybe with the hush that crowds sometimes have, when everybody seems to adjust the volume of their voices to form, all together, a low, incoherent rumble. It’s mesmerizing to watch everybody passing by, at a stately, regular pace. FIrst one way, then crossing back, in tempo, returning the other.

I always find crowds of people strangely moving. I don’t always love humanity in the abstract, but masses of people make me feel oddly affectionate towards us as a species. Small moments of human drama in the sea of people feel so poignant. A child who is over-stimulated and over-tired, with a crumpled, crying face that just happens to be painted like a happy tiger. Eccentric looking couples that seem so happy together, and make you happy that they met each other, even though you don’t know them at all. Straggling groups of teenagers wearing giant 70s sunglasses, who can’t suppress how excited they feel to be wandering without parents at the festival.

Anyway. We had some food in our store, for anybody that was brave enough to come in off the street. I made three kinds of savory pastries. And I’m going to tell you about all of them!! One at a time!! They all turned out really good!! Or so I think!! The nice thing about savory pastries (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again) is that although they’re probably best hot out of the oven, they’re also very tasty at room temperature. So they’re nice for parties, or picnics, or art openings, or to offer at street festivals. They’re easy to pick up and carry around, and they combine lots of good flavors in a manageable package.

The first I’ll tell you about is this little galette. It’s got a toasted oatmeal black pepper crust. It’s got fresh baby spinach, ripe pears, bleu cheese and rosemary. It’s very tasty!

I’ve got the Tom Waits song 9th and Hennepin stuck in my head, so I’ll post that here. Not because it describes my town, thank heavens, but because he’s watching people through windows, just like we were, and he’s rambling on to anyone who will listen. Just like I do!

And you spill out over the side to anyone who will listen…
And I’ve seen it all, I’ve seen it all
Through the yellow windows of the evening train…

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Coleslaw with tart cherries. Or, a brief and muddled history of food photography.

The Guardian and the NPR website recently had articles about amateur food photographers. You know, those annoying people who take pictures of every meal they make and post it on every available social networking site, so that you just can’t avoid … D’oh! That’s me! I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize profusely to all of my friends who are not reading this because they started hiding my posts about six months ago when I began on this strangely obsessive blog.

The articles got me thinking about food photography over the years. It’s not a new thing to photograph food – in fact people have been painting pictures of food for centuries. Food is pretty! Food is inviting, and sustaining and necessary and temporal and symbolic. A meal can be so carefully and imaginatively prepared, so eagerly anticipated, so happily consumed. (And then comes the washing up.) I like the idea of crystalizing that one moment when everything is perfect, after all the work, before all the enjoyment. Before the creation of one person is shared with others. Photography’s great appeal is that it can capture a fleeting moment in a world where nothing is permanent. Everything passes, decays, or is consumed.

[I seem to have gone on and on, so the rest is after the…jump!]
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