Saturday, May 26, 2012

Like A Child

There’s something deliciously comforting in re-creating treats from your childhood.  It’s better than a flashback; it’s more like a rediscovery of memories, of delights, of possibility.  For just a few seconds you glimpse your dreams from long ago, and instead of looking at them with that horrible adult eye of logistics and reasoning and numbers, you simply delight in your hopes.  You dream far and wide and look forward with excitement rather than planning and worry.  While gobbling up something familiar yet new, it’s better than before because it’s slightly more sophisticated, maybe a bit healthier, and it actually seems possible to move forward through your adult days with that restored wisdom of childhood.  

At least, all of that seems possible after a batch of Strawberry Rhubarb Poptarts

I got strawberries and rhubarb from the market.  Again, Kim Boyce’s rustic rye tarts went out the window and I instead scrambled to find a recipe for poptarts.  My favorite kind growing up were the brown sugar variety… the strawberry ones seemed too fake and chemically flavored to entice me enough to toast them  up before school.  Yet here I stand, Strawberry (with rhubarb! At least!) poptart in hand and damn if I’m not a little bit in love.

I couldn’t find an ideal recipe, no matter how I tried. So, I smooshed a couple together and got something pretty wonderful. For the dough I went off Smitten Kitchen’s poptart guide, though I used all-purpose, whole wheat, and rye flours (which I have completely fallen in love with, by the by. So creamy! So dreamy! Oh, rye.) I also couldn’t find a strawberry rhubarb jam that seemed just right…so, inspired as I was by a baked rhubarb/strawberry dish in this month’s Bon Appetit, I turned it into a jam instead (also, it has bourbon. Ahem.)

From one of my favorite movies, "Stranger Than Fiction."  This is when Will Ferrell brings Maggie Gyllenhaal "flours."  I'm officially on my way to multi-flour Gyllenhaal glory.

I will say that a measure of a dish's success is based almost exclusively on how fast it disappears.  Since I brought the poptarts to my dear friend Lina's housewarming party, (also known as L-Diddy, also known as my Indian Sister...and congrats again on the new marriage and house, Chris and Lina!) where I had several strangers come up to me to rave about poptarts with loud thank you’s and hugs, so I’d say that it was a success.  These little guys are  suitable for both special occasions and everyday breakfasting, but maybe not your toaster because these puppies are oven-toasted, thankyouverymuch.

Chin up, adults.  Have a poptart and remember what you were like as a kid.  Start that dreaming again, no logistics allowed, and let’s get ready for an epic summer, shall we?   

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Let's Have A Toast

I had a big plan to make some of Kim Boyce's rye-crust tarts with a strawberry rhubarb compote this weekend, but sometimes things just don't turn out the way you plan.

Instead, they turn out better.

Faced with half an hour to make a summery dessert I grabbed my ice cream maker, a lemon, the strawberries I'd intended for the tart, and...wait for it...champagne.  Opa!  Summer time!  Let's raise a glass, shall we?

Usually when I make a pint of sorbet or ice cream it lasts us for..a week, at least.  But this pint lasted...between three people... twenty minutes.  Actually, less than that, but who's counting?  I'm fortunate enough to have snagged a quick photo or I might have assumed I'd have dreamed the whole thing up.  Summer is here!  I can feel it in the air, and I captured this pic to prove I had in my hands, too, for a few minutes at least.

Strawberries, lemons, mint, champagne.  Could it get any better?  I think not.  Especially when this goodness is mushed about, frozen, and still tickles your mouth with the last bit of bubbly that makes champagne so extravagantly lovely and fun.   Friends, I have brought you summer, just in time, but now you can cheers with your spoons rather than glasses; besides, drinking champagne now seems so last season.  Let's dig into this Strawberry Lemon Champagne Sorbet with spoons instead.

Cheers, summer of 2012.  Cheers indeed.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wild Things Cake

After these past few weeks in DC (besides a quick, glitter-filled, sunny stint in Vegas), I'm almost convinced that I unknowingly picked up and moved myself to the upper Northwest.  One day it's heavy rains and gray clouds, and the next is a breezy, crisp, sunny (not to mention perfect) day. 

I repeat.  Weather is so weird!  DC weather is the weirdest!

But these perfect peeks at the sun are absolutely the best.  Picnics, bike rides, farmers markets and more, all without the gross humidity and ungodly amounts of sweating.  It truly is a springly miracle and I don't mind a week of rain if I get sun for the weekend. 

I'm actually needing a bit of sunshine right now.  One of my favorite children's book authors, Maurice Sendak, passed away this week and I just feel a bit...afloat.  I didn't know him , but I felt like I did, and his drawings and stories were one of the strongest anchors of my childhood.  One of my favorite books, Where The Wild Things Are was a lovely, fantastical, imaginative story, and, I'm trusting, a reflection of the type of man he was as well.

I think I speak for all my fellow Wild Things friends by saying: "Oh, please don't go--we'll eat you up--we love you so!" 

I'd like to think that he might have enjoyed sharing a slice of this French Lemon Yogurt Cake with me, and we could talk about the importance of children's literature, general adventuring, wild rumpus-ing, dreams, and the various whatnots of our lives.

Or maybe you could enjoy some French Lemon Yogurt Cake with the people who inspire you in your life too.  This cake isn't very hard at all, and is actually perfect for picnics and your own adventuring, (with your favorite Wild Things, who always love a good cake, of course).

"Then from far away across the world he smelled good things to eat, so he gave up being king of the wild things."