Fresh Fruit Tart

I like to make a fresh fruit tart at least once a year, but no more than once a year. This dessert is extremely fatty and carb-y, but everything is fine in moderation!

To make the tart crust, I processed walnuts into a fine consistency. Then, I processed 1/2 cup of the walnut meal with 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, and 1 1/2 sticks of softened butter. I pressed the dough into a tart pan with a removable bottom, and bake for about 18 minutes. The crust expands, so I always press it back down to shape while it’s still hot.

To make the filling, I beat together 8 ounces of softened cream cheese (use Neufchâtel for less fat, but also less flavor), lime zest, a big squeeze of lime juice, a splash of vanilla extract, and about 1/3 cup of granulated sugar. When the tart crust was cool, I slathered on the filling and topped it off with berries (or any other in-season fruit).

I glazed the fruit with melted preserves/jam/jelly. If you’ve ever seen a bakery fruit tart, you’ve probably noticed how shiny the fruit looks. Never skip the glaze!

Pretty Korean Food

Kkwarigochu. Aka shishito peppers, lightly drizzled with olive oil, blistered on a grill pan, and dipped in lemon garlic mayo.

Sukju namul. Blanched mung bean sprouts and kelp tossed in mirin, gochujang, gochugaru, soy sauce, black vinegar, sugar, and salt.

Haemul sundubu jigae. Kelp and bonito stock, kimchi, soft tofu, gochugaru, zucchini, garlic, onion, and fresh mussels.

Fig + Prosciutto + Arugula Flatbread

I’ve been anxiously awaiting fig season since the beginning of June. Nothing smells like summer more than the smell of my neighborhood’s massive fig tree by the river. 

They say that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. If that’s true, I guess I need to make a career out of blasting the new Bleachers album while making bougie rectangular pizza on a Harry Potter Weekend morning. 

While my pizza dough was rising, I made a stovetop fig jam by simmering 6 figs macerated with a spoonful of sugar and a few splashes of balsamic vinegar. I also spent about 30 minutes trying to caramelize an onion. It’s not as easy as it seems. 

After an hour of rising, I preheated the oven to 475°F with an upside down baking sheet on the middle rack. I stretched the dough into a rectangle on parchment paper, brushed the surface with olive oil, spread the top with fig jam, and topped it with the onions and fresh mozzarella. I slided (slid?) the pizza and parchment onto the preheated pan in the oven and baked for 20 minutes exactly. Lather, rinse, and repeat with pizza #2.

After cooling for a few minutes, I topped the pizza with arugula, fresh figs, and prosciutto. FLAVORS! 

Massaged Kale 

This afternoon, I took advantage of the sun by laying outside and downing two cans of La Croix. Instead of getting a glowy tan, I got a handful of new freckles on my face. The rest of my body is just as pasty and doughy as before. It’s 96°F in my neck of the woods, and the only thing I want to eat is salad.

I’m into contrasting colors and contrasting flavors. In a jar, I mixed white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, a few black peppercorns, and a smashed clove of garlic. Then, I sliced a red onion into thin rings and placed them in a sieve. To par-cook the onion, I poured boiling water over the sieve. I stuffed the onion slices into the jar and let it cool to room temp before chilling the jar in the fridge. The onions go from a dull purple to bright pink within an hour. I could eat pickled onions by themselves.

I washed a bundle of curly kale and separated the ribs from the leaves. Then, I used a sandwich bag as a makeshift glove, and massaged the following into the kale: olive oil, lemon juice, whole grain mustard, sesame paste, salt, and sugar. Massaging kale seriously makes a difference. If you’ve ever had raw kale that wasn’t massaged first, you’re probably lying if you say you enjoyed it. Massaging each leaf really helps break down the tough texture and gives your jaws a break. It’s cool to see the leaves get darker and more tender. After massaging, my bundle of kale reduced to half the original volume.

I drained and rinsed a can of great northern beans and tossed them into the salad, along with shaved parmesan/asiago/romano cheese. I also chopped up some orange honey almonds, my favorite farmers market find. One of the best parts of massaged kale salads is that the leftovers are even tastier than eating it fresh! This will be my lunch for the next few work days 👍👍.

Sponge Layer Cake with Raspberry Curd Filling 

Swiss meringue buttercream. Do it. You will not regret it. 

I wanted to experiment with Swiss meringue buttercream and figured I would do so by making a Mother’s Day cake. For my sponge layers, I used this recipe and failed miserably. Luckily, the buttercream came thru.  

For my buttercream, I whisked 4 egg whites and 1 cup of sugar over a double boiler. As soon as the mixture reached 160°F, I began whipping until the egg whites were white and glossy. Then, I added a splash of vanilla. I added 3 entire sticks of softened butter (this cake will give you a  heart attack) little by little. At one point, the icing became soupy, but based on my extensive research, that’s supposed to happen. I let the KitchenAid whip the icing for a good 10 minutes until the soupy mixture pulled itself together into one cohesive icing. The end product is 100% smoother, lighter, and less sickeningly sweet than American buttercream is. It’s like eating a cloud.

I free-handed the filling by cooking a pint of fresh raspberries, a stick of butter, 5 egg yolks, and a few scoops of sugar on the stove. After the curd thickened, I forced it through a sieve to separate out the raspberry seeds. 

After hours of baking, mixing, stacking, and icing, I took the easy way out of cake decorating by topping the cake with fresh flowers and greenery.