Blackberry chocolate chip galette

blackberry and chocolate chip galette

blackberry and chocolate chip galette

On the back of my new copy of Aristotle’s The Nicomachean Ethics, it says “The supreme happiness, according to Aristotle, is to be found in a life of philosophical contemplation; but this is only possible for the few…” Well, I think it’s obvious that I don’t need to actually read the book to determine that I’m one of those few. I love just sitting around and thinking. I do it all the time! Seriously, you can frequently find me sitting on the couch with my dog and, you know, contemplating things. In fact, I think this makes Clio a philosopher, too, because she’s a contemplator. Oh yes, she’s almost always in an attitude of thoughtful contemplation, when she’s awake. All joking aside, I do actively enjoy thinking. I always have. This is why I’m never bored. This is why our recent 14-hour car trip, aside from the stress of driving and the achiness of my back, was no real hardship. I brought books to read and to write in, but mostly I just sat and thought, and that felt good. I tried to steer my thoughts a little bit, to head them away from things I didn’t want to think about, and head them in the direction of things I did want to think about. I tried to focus them on stories I hope to write or the movie I want to make. But I wasn’t too successful at any of this, and in the end I just let my mind wander where it would. But I think that’s fine, because most of the time my best ideas and my best writing–my brightest strings of words–come when I least expect it, when I’m concentrating on something else. I think it’s healthy and even productive to take some time, once-in-a-while, to let your mind meander–not to try to figure anything out or write anything down, just to let it go. I think it was good for my boys, too, to be away from television or video games, and just to sit and watch the world go by, and think their thoughts, and snooze, and wake to watch the world go by again. I feel very grateful to have my thoughts, I feel like they’re valuable. Sure it’s hard to be stuck in the same mind, all the time, and my thoughts drive me crazy sometimes, but they’re mine, and nobody can take them away from me. And everybody has this! Everybody has this gift of contemplation and reflection! All the time, whenever we need it. Everybody’s thoughts are valuable, if they’d only recognize that this is true, and nobody needs to be bored ever.

I believe this galette is what one would call a rustic fruit tart. Which mostly means that you don’t have to worry about getting the crust perfect. You just sort of fold it up on itself. And because the crust has hazelnuts and brown sugar in it, it’s like a big cookie, so you don’t have to worry about making it super-thin. Hazelnuts, chocolate and blackberries are lovely together–juicy, bitter-sweet and nutty. There’s a sort of baked custard that hold everything together in this. If it seeps out of the edges of your crust, don’t worry about it, just break these parts off before you serve the galette.

Here’s Tom Waits with Everything You Can Think.

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Fruit & coconut tart AND applesauce with balsamic, vanilla and black pepper

Ripe fruit tart

Well, I may as well go ahead and tell you, because soon it will be household news. I am, as industry sources have been leaking for months, at work on an epic poem on the subject of The Passing of Time and all of its Sickening Crimes. It will span volumes. It already has spaces slotted for it on the top of the New York Times best seller lists (fiction, non-fiction, how-to, and children’s), and I’ve booked some time on Oprah. It will be composed, in its entirety, in alternating dactylic tetrameter and anapestic hexameter. It will open with a chorus of anguished souls, and will rely heavily on deus ex machina, dramatic irony, and chiaroscuro. In one beautiful flight of fancy, entitled “Tempus Fugit? Indeed!” It will describe time personified as actual winged creatures, evolving from pteranodons to futuristic winged monkeys. In another section, entitled “Ripe,” the vista will open on a Russian farmer, who falls asleep in his fields on a warm day, and has a nightmarish vision of perfectly ripe fruit, just out of reach, rotting as he watches. Heavy, man! I don’t mean to get ahead of myself, but a rock opera is in the works, although it would be a breach of contract to describe the pop stars who are squabbling over the rights.

In all seriousness, I was thinking about fruit as I scrubbed the bathrooms today. (No connection!) The life of fruit and vegetables is like a little parable of time passing. In broad terms, because you can measure summer’s sometimes everlasting, sometimes fleeting progress by the cycle of ripening produce. Spring is small, sweet greens, wild ramps, fiddleheads and peas. All bright green and young and hopeful. Midsummer is plump and bursting with an overabundance of fat tomatoes and juicy zucchini. And fall is sharp and bitter and colorful. And in narrower terms, in the life of each fruit and vegetable, ripe and perfect for such a small moment of time, and then withered and decayed, rotting on the vine. Or on my counter. I feel like I’m doing a good job keeping up with the veg, this year. I go through the CSA box fairly easily from week to week. But I keep buying fruit, because I love it, and the boys love it, and I want them to love it. And it’s summer! If not now, when? Of course I keep buying apples, because I’m addicted to them, and then I complain that they’re grey, and David reminds me that apples probably aren’t in season anywhere in the world at this time of year! So I had a glut of apples and peaches. What to do? When in doubt, I make a tart. This is a light and lovely tart. It has a hazelnut crust, a light coconut custard layer, a layer of fruit, and then a slight glaze of apricot jam. With the rest of the apples and peaches, I made a crazy-tasty applesauce with vanilla, balsamic and black pepper. It’s deep and rich and complicated – a little salty a little sweet. Nice with vanilla ice cream!

Apple sauce with vanilla, balsamic and black pepper

Here’s Barbara Dane singing Woody Guthrie’s song Ramblin’. One of the most beautiful songs I know!

Sometimes the fruit gets rotten
And falls upon the ground,
There’s a hungry mouth for every peach
As I go a ramblin’ ’round boys,
As I go a ramblin’ ’round.

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