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pie

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.

The Best All Butter Pie Dough

It is so hard to choose what to publish during summer. There is so much to cook and so little time before the tomatoes, berries, eggplant, sweet corn, peaches and cherries fade into a luscious memory until next year. Can you tell I’m a bit hungry as I write this?! This week an unexpected surprise, our peach tree with little green peaches that I thought might be little and green forever, has sprung to life growing big peachy peaches in our little wild yard. I say wild because before we moved to Santa Fe…i think it’s safe to say I would describe us as city folk with a dream.

And now this dream is real life and in our yard lives a array of plant and animal characters that are keeping us in a steady state of wonder and curiosity along with a generous pinch of bewilderment. We have met many a lizard, a few black widow spiders, prairie dogs, gophers, hummingbirds, snails that suddenly appear on the stone patio in the back any time it rains, frogs, a snake who lives right outside our side door and sleeps in a little hole in the side of the house (deep breaths, deep breaths, oohhhmmmmmm) and certainly not least is the little skunk who visits our yard after dark and occasionally brushes its straggly white tail across the outside living room window, usually while we’re watching a movie so then we jump with the heebie-jeebies and then scramble to the window to get a closer look before it disappears under the fence.

We have a peach tree, two big lavender bushes, honeysuckle, mint and blackberries all which we discovered after moving here. Each new discovery felt like finding buried treasure. Then we built a raised bed and have been trying (trying is seriously the operative word here) to grow herbs, onions, eggplant, beets, tomatoes, peppers, kale and corn.  The kale and onions are showing the most only promise, especially with all the rain we’ve been getting the past few weeks, but the rest, well, let’s just say there’s always next year.

So now that there are a lot of peaches in my future, I have pie on my mind. And not just any old pie, but the best pie I can possibly make. So for that, I’m going straight to the source of where I first experienced the best pie I had ever had and that was from Hoosier Mama Pie Shop in Chicago, IL.

This is closely adapted recipe from The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie. I feel like I should probably be punished and sent to the corner by a bunch of pastry chefs, but I always use salted butter when making this pie dough and I have never once felt sad about it. I also increase the sugar from 1/2 T. to 1 T. because for some reason on the day that I made the blueberry tart pictured above, it just seemed like the right thing to do. So cheers! I am fairly confident this is the best all butter pie dough you will ever stumble across. Haha. I have been trying to stay disciplined and write shorter blog posts getting to the recipe faster. I guess just like my little grumpy garden, there’s always next time <3.

And if you’d like to watch the master, Hoosier Mama’s own Paula Haney walk you through a step by step pie dough session, you can find that here.

Ingredients

1 3/4 (196 grams) sticks unsalted butter, divided
1 T. (12 grams) sherry, apple cider, white wine or red wine vinegar 
1/2 cup (118 grams) cold water
2 1/4 cups (333 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons (12 grams) kosher salt
1 Tablespoon (12 grams) granulated sugar

 

Method

  1. 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. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and cut in two pieces if you’re making a pie or just leave whole if you’re making a big rustic tart.
  8. 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.

Component in Action

-make big rustic tart with your favorite fruit filling
-make a two crust pie
-bake little tart shells and fill with whipped cream and fresh fruit
-make little pie pockets with circles of dough that you fill, fold over and then crimp with a fork before baking.

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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