the danish outpost
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2001-05-15

feeling kinda how a girl feels

jesus h. christ on a raft without a paddle! augh! i so don't even have one nerve left right now. and everyone has been all over that last shredded synapse.

first i go shopping on the way home. i find everything i need, but am stunned at the price. gah! is this what it costs to live in the city? some veggies, pasta and a few niceties. $55. that is so not right! if i had my garden going, i could grow half of what i bought for pennies. pennies, i tell you! and they charge $4 a pound for peppers. peppers. not even the fancy schmancy ones. just plain ol' bell peppers. what is this world coming to?

and then i try to make my nonna's tart. it's a great recipe. i've made it a million times, and it comes out well with very little fuss. the directions say to use a food processor to make the dough, but Luddite that i am, i always whip out the pastry cutter and do it by hand. i've been baking for so long that it's easier for me to judge the dough by feel. except my carpal tunnel has been acting up recently, so i decide to use the short cut.

big mistake. i forgot to account for the fact that the motor will heat up the butter, and i need to add more flour. it was a sodden mess when i was done, too mushy to knead to the right consistency. fine, i think, i'll pop it in the fridge and all will be well. :huge sigh: oh, that so didn't do the trick. i should have added flour. it's still sticky and mushy and the little rope bits you're supposed to make for the lattice are biting my ass in a huge way, falling apart at the slightest provocation. y'all, i'm screaming at pastry dough. it's sitting in the fridge right now. i'm hoping to eke the last few ropes out of that sorry excuse for pastry. never again with the damn food processor, i'm telling you.

and then there are my neighbors. let me say this first: i have very cool neighbors. but. but tonight, one of them has been practising on the drums. All. Night. for the love of christ, we've gotten that you can barely keep the beat! could you play *something* other than the semi-tempo quasi riff you've been attempting all night? gah! if you don't stop soon, i swear, someone is going to die. and it isn't going to be pretty. picture all the things i can do with those drum sticks, and maybe you'll be kind enough to STOP. because i'd hate for you to die swallowing splinters.

ah. a moment of peace. :silently looks heavenward: oh, the small blessings.

okay, since you were kind enough to listen to my rant, here's the recipe for the tart. it's actually easy to make, despite my quibbling. you can use pretty much any sort of jam or preserve for the filling; black cherry or raspberry is nice, because of the color, and apricot tastes very yummy.

Crostata della Nonna

2 c all purpose clour
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp packed fresh grated lemon peel (note: i just mince the peel from one lemon)
scant 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c plus 2 T chilled unsalted butter, diced
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 c cherry or apricot preserves (i find a 12 ounce jar works well)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. With a pastry cutter, blend flour, sugar, lemon peel, butter and salt until a coarse meal forms. Add yolks and egg and blend until dough starts to come together. Transfer to a work surface (a marble pastry board is ideal) and knead for about a minute.

Divide dough into 2 pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Press larger dough piece evenly into bottom and partway up the sides of a 9" tart pan with removable bottom. (in other words, a quiche pan) Spread preserves over crust. Cut remaining dough into 12 equal pieces , and roll into pencil thin ropes. Arrange 6 ropes in one direction, 6 in the other, forming a lattice. Press ends of ropes into edge of crust to seal, and trim and extra dough.

Bake tart until crust is golden brown, piercing with toothpick if bottom crust bubbles, about 50 minutes. Cool tart in pan on rack. Remove pan sides, and lightly sift powdered sugar over tart.

it's about to come out of the oven right now, and the place smells wonderful. oooooohhh, peace. a glass of wine, no drums, jazz show on the radio, laundry is done, place is clean. phooooo. ah, a good night's sleep, and we can do this all over again tomorrow, right? but maybe tomorrow will be calmer.

yesterday :: tomorrow

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