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pie dough

spring vegetable galette

Making this Spring Vegetable Galette was the most fun I’ve had in the kitchen in a while. Pie dough might seem like work, and you could certainly pick up a store bought pie dough to make this fast,  but for me it was a lovely excuse to hang out in the kitchen for a while without being in a rush. I’ve been thinking about a lot about slowing down and leaning into the tasks at hand.

When I worked in restaurants it was easier to do this. Actually it was a joy and make up many of my favorite memories. Cleaning vegetables, prepping before service to get everything in it’s place, working a station and floating between keeping track of tickets, cooking, plating and getting food out to hungry guests. But now I’m home most days with my kids and there is very little time to internally get into any kind of zone. I float between their needs; diapers, food, hugs, conversations, snacks, water, sunscreen, mornings at the park, walks around the neighborhood, finding our escaping puppy Saturn, more snacks, searching for missing water bottles, etc.

This is by far the most demanding and challenging work I’ve ever done. And there’s all these huge feelings like counting down the hours until bedtime while in the very same breath longing for time to stop in its tracks so they stay this playful and happy forever. So it’s super easy for me to get into the groove of doing one thing just so I can get to the next thing. I am so good at getting in this groove that I can do ten things in a row without ever making the room to enjoy any of it. But enjoying this time, these moments…this is kind of what it’s all about.

All of this (above) is what inspired me to make this Spring Vegetable Galette. It’s a show stopping celebration of spring. There is no other choice than for the person making it and the people lucky enough to eat it, to stop and stare (if only for a moment). And sometimes a moment is all we need.

Suggestion: Make double the pie dough. Divide it in half and freeze half for later use. It’s so easy to just 2x the ingredients. The next time you go to make a pie you will be oh so happy.

Ingredients
for the pie dough:
1 3/4 (196 grams) sticks unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup (118 grams) cold water
2 1/4 cups (333 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons (12 grams) kosher salt

for the spring vegetable galette:
1 T. butter
2 leeks, trimmed, cleaned and sliced (white and light green parts only)
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2 c. fresh spinach, chopped
½ c. cream, plus more for brushing on crust
½ c. parmesan, finely grated
1 ½ c. yukon gold potato slices

for the garnish:
1 T. butter
6 spears of asparagus, tips sliced and stalks peeled into strips
½ c. peas
1 t. herbes de provence
salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

  1. Make the pie dough: Cut butter into small cubes and put in freezer.
  2. In a cup mix the cold water and vinegar and set aside.(to keep the water cold sometimes I throw in an ice cube if my kitchen is hot)
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt and sugar.
  4. At this point the butter should be super cold but not frozen. remove butter from the freezer and add to your flour mixture.
  5. Using your fingers (or a food processor if you have one as this produces the best pea size butter pieces) squeeze the butter pieces into the flour until the butter is blended into the flour and resembles small peas.*
  6. Add 6 T. of the vinegar and water mixture. Stir with your hands or a wooden spoon. At this point the dough will probably be crumbly. Continue adding and stirring in 1 T. of vinegar-water at a time until dough comes together into a ball.
  7. Wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper and cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. If you want to keep longer, freeze and thaw the day before you want to use it.
  8. Make the galette: Preheat oven to 350 f.
  9. In a large pot over medium heat, add butter until melted.
  10. Add leeks and cook for a few minutes.
  11. Add garlic and spinach and cook a few more minutes. We want to get as much water evaporated as possible.
  12. Add cream, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Let cook a few minutes more then take off the heat. Reserve.
  13. Assemble the galette: on a lightly floured clean surface, roll on the dough into a 10 inch round. Transfer dough to a large sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
  14. Spread a thin layer of the spinach filling on the surface of the dough leaving a 1 inch border.
  15. Lay potatoes over the filling, just barely overlapping. repeat.
  16. Fold the edges up and over the filling using the 1” border as a guide. This is a rustic tart so don’t worry about it being perfect. Tuck and crease as needed.
  17. Continue layering potatoes and filling until they are gone.
  18. Brush cream over the top of the pastry. Crack some sea salt over the entire tart.
  19. Bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
  20. While the galette is cooling: In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter. add the asparagus, peas, herbes de provence, salt and pepper and cook for just a few minutes until tender but still crisp. Spread over top of the galette. Serve immediately.

Kids in the kitchen! Five holiday recipes just for them

I remember it like it was yesterday. I had been on hold for almost twenty minutes with a certain shipping company who will remain nameless. At the exact moment the agent came on the line, my two year old stood up and started the show that only occurs when I talk on the phone. He started shaking the maraca, jumping up and down singing Jingle Bells at the top of his lungs. I didn’t even know he had heard the song, let alone memorized it.

A couple days later, he informed me it was Christmas day. It was still November, and it occurred to me that if he was already anticipating the holidays at two years old, then he was certainly old enough to get in on a bit of holiday cooking action. So in the hustle and bustle, pull the kids into the kitchen. Give them an apron, a hand wash, and one more reason to love the holidays. Depending on the age of the kids in your life, some might need more help than others, so I’ll leave that up to you.

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Meat Pie (Italian Easter Pie)

There are time in life where a specific taste launches you back in time, flooding your heart and mind with memories. Watermelon blow pops remind me of road trips, Constant Comment tea reminds me of my mom, sister, and cold Ohio winters, and Meat Pie reminds me of Grandma Mary.

This is her recipe. She would make one for me on my birthday. Years later with a single bite, I can remember every detail like it was yesterday; the flaky crust holding layers of sliced salami, ham and cheese, her beautifully wrinkled hands holding the white box tied with red and white butcher string, and her aquamarine ring sparkling in sunlight as she presented me this treasured gift.

Now, each year on River’s Birthday, I make a Meat Pie. I feel so many memories and so much love in the simple act of making it. I feel so happy that this family tradition hasn’t been lost. I wonder if someday he will want to learn how to make the pie with me, someday passing this on to his children, making memories and traditions of their own.

This is a perfect example of how food transforms into so much more than just a piece of pie on a plate. You probably have your own Meat Pie’s in your mind, those dishes that remind you of people, places, and moments in time.

You will notice this recipe calls for store bought pie dough. In this instance, I allow memory to trump technique and don’t waste a single minute feeling bad about it. Here it is, Meat Pie exactly like Grandma used to make it.

I should also mention that this pie is decadent and delicious served warm, but Grandma would serve it cold and at this temperature it tastes amazing and slices beautifully. We like to eat it cold for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is also super convenient on the go in a packed lunch, maybe with a little Dijon mustard on the side.

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