Chard and Pistachio Tart

Chard and pistachio tart

Chard and pistachio tart

I don’t wait on lines very often. For one thing, I rarely leave my house. For another, I’m too impatient, it always seems like I could be doing something better with my time. I can’t think of all that much worth waiting on line for. I don’t mind waiting, in general, I never get bored; boredom is against my principles. But there’s something about a line of people I just can’t seem to tolerate. Today, however, I found myself on a line in the grocery store and I didn’t really mind. I clutched a box of moldy clementines, and I waited for the attention of the customer service representative. And when it was finally my turn, I had no proof that I’d bought the moldy clementines in this location. For all she knew I could go from store to store with moldy clementines, slowly building up my fortune $7.99 at a time. So she had to venture out into the store to find a price, or someone to help, I’m not sure. But I didn’t mind. I was avoiding something, or some things. I’ve started a new novel, I’ve started a new story, I’ve started a new Ordinary post. I want to write them, I feel like I should write them (why? I don’t know.) I wake up every morning and go to sleep every night determined to write them. But when I sit down to do it I get a heavy fog behind my eyes and I don’t know, maybe my time is better spent waiting on line clutching a box of moldy clementines. Maybe I’ll become one of those people who goes out of their way to complain about things just for a bit of attention or to pass away an afternoon. I’ll send food back at restaurants, even though it’s exactly what I ordered. I’ll call help desks and technical support lines just to chat for a bit. While I was waiting I noticed that the store offered a new feature: a beauty consultant. He was a young man who looked surprisingly elegant, even in his store-issued vest. He had a booth that looked like it could have been made for a high school science fair; a mirror, a stool, a glass jar of cotton balls. A sign said that if we brought in our makeup bag he’d help us make the best use of it. I thought about taking my lipstick out of my coat pocket and saying, “Here’s my makeup bag! Help me out!” And I caught a glimpse of my old face in his mirror in the flattering fluorescent lights of the grocery store and I thought about the women who must end up on his stool in a grocery store in this part of the world–the glamor! I wondered how he’d gotten this job, and I thought maybe he started out as a clerk or a stock boy, but he had this idea and the store let him try it. I hoped he was happy with it, even though he seemed to spend most of his time wondering up and down the aisles. Everyone seemed happy that he was there, everyone seemed to love him. It made me happy to see him there. I thought about how I’ve always said it was a good thing that I had sons because if I had daughters and they asked me how to apply mascara or any other makeup product I’d have to say, “F**k if I know!” But here was someone’s son who obviously knew all about these things. I got my $7.99 and I left the moldy clementines at the desk, and I wondered if they had a whole pile of moldy produce and spoiled milk back there, and maybe they came to life at night as spoiled-food spirits. I apologized for wasting the clerk’s time, and while I drove home I remembered a conversation last week in which somebody had said, “How do you kill a day?” How do you kill a day? It’s too easy, days are very fragile.

I apologize for the crappy picture on this post. The pie was good though. Normal sort of crust, topped with greens and rosemary, then a layer of cheese, then a savory pistachio frangipane. I thought it had nice flavors and textures…comforting for a cold day. And it wasn’t too hard to make.

Here’s Everybody Plays the Fool, which is a song I heard at the grocery store, and which I like a lot.
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Apricot & pistachio tart

Apricot & pistachio tart

Sometimes I think my fun-O-meter is broken. Lots of things I’m supposed to think are fun make me anxious, and things that other people dread as chores (making dinner!) are what I live for. For me, tonight was a fun night! Hooooo boy. First of all, we made vegan veggie burgers that were grillable! They got brown on the grill, they didn’t fall apart!! We made them from scratch! We grilled flatbreads, which we made from scratch as well! I’ll tell you about them eventually, with recipes and everything, but for now let me say that I felt so happy about it, and had so much fun doing it that it was just ridiculous. Then we went for an after dinner walk on the towpath (love it!) and we played tag. But not the kind of tag where you have to run all the time, because that wasn’t an option (sooooo full of grilled veggie burgers). The kind of tag where you could hold hands with someone, or give them a hug, giggling maniacally the whole time, and that would pass along the “it”ness. Good times!!

I also think it would be fun to live in Greece and go to lunch with friends in Paris. And that’s the origin of this recipe. My friend Sandy, (who lives in Greece and goes to lunch with friends in Paris) sent me this “non-recipe” for a dessert she had. She described it thus…

…dessert one of those fabulous french tarts (er tartes) – tart dough, then a pate of crushed or somehow pated pastichios – may have had another ingredient in pate, i don’t know. maybe a bit of a liquer or rose water or something. (it was from a pastry shop so i couldn’t ask). and on top apricots. in a sense it was like a tarte with pistachio pate instead of custard under the fruit, but the apricot was not raw – it was baked.

Well! With my obsession with frangipane, and making frangipane out of hazelnuts or other non-almond nuts(which makes it no longer frangipane!) OF COURSE I had to try this!! I made a simple paté sucrée crust, with a hint of cardamom. I made a pistachio frangipane (an imaginary beast!), and then I just sliced very ripe apricots, and sprinkled them with sugar because they’re quite tart! I liked the resulting tart very much indeed, but I have to admit that my boys wouldn’t try it because they don’t like apricots. And the apricots were tart. It was a tart tart. This appealed to me very much! I think it would be nice with some lightly whipped, lightly sweetened whipped cream. The tart won’t last for days in pristine form, because the fruit softens the crust. So eat up!!

Here’s Noah and the Whale with Five Years Time. They’ll have FUN FUN FUN!! This does actually look like fun to me, but it’s also a critical reexamination of past ideas of funness.
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