My Story

I've always loved being in the kitchen. Isn't that the gathering place at parties and get togethers! That's where the action is, where delicious smells come from, and where I go to create some really great stuff! My Grandma was my inspiration. She lived her life in Baltimore and she was ALWAYS in the kitchen (or down at the VFW for a crab feast and beer) but Alice created so many wonderful meals for our family. I remember there was always soup before the meal, usually a steaming bowl of crab soup with a rich tomato broth and lots of vegetables. Her crab cakes were incredible, a recipe I use today, and undeniably the best. I would challenge ANY other crab cake recipe to match my Grandma Alice's. The first meal I made for my mom was macaroni and cheese from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook back when I was about 7 years old. I was very proud of it, and it was really good..a creamy white sauce combined with good old cheddar and shells sprinkled with toasted bread crumbs..yum. So off I went through life, cooking and baking, and came to realize that baking was the shizzy. I loved finding a great recipe and making it even better. Funny my kids didn't like sweets much, so I showered friends and neighbors with treats. Later down the road, when some real decisions needed to be made, I decided to attend the baking and pastry arts program at The California Culinary Academy. I was 47 years old and had no idea what I was in for (another blog). So I mastered the art of baking thanks to a dedicated and talented team of instructors. I did a gig in the basement of well known pastry kitchens and had a wonderful time working for a small caterer cooking with a great bunch of gals. But here I am now, still cooking, still baking and loving it, in my own kitchen where I can share my love of this sport with the world. I take all my own photos (another passion) and I hope you will have patience and stay with me in this newest adventure. So thank you Grandma Alice for all those delicious memories, stories and inspiration. Stay tuned..

Thursday, August 12, 2010

2 Peaches and a Pint of Blackberries..

galette [gah-LEHT]
"Hailing from France, a galette is a round, rather flat cake made of flaky-pastry dough.The term also applies to a variety of tarts. They may be topped with fruit, jam, nuts, meat, cheese, etc. Galette des Rois, the traditional cake served during Twelfth Night festivities, often contains a bean or other token, which is guaranteed to bring the recipient good luck."

In the middle of a fairly busy afternoon, I made a galette, or free-form pie, in 15 min. (bake time is about 45min). I had the dough already made (the second disk from the blueberry pie) so all I needed was fruit.

The last time I was at my little market, I noticed how lovely the peaches looked. The local peaches here in the East Bay are from Brentwood, a farming community about 45 minutes to the east of us. Brentwood is known for growing delicious corn, tomatoes and summer fruit. The country roads are dotted with U-picks, but our favorite is Mike's, family friends who produce delicious peaches and cherries each year.

So off I went to the market, and picked out 2 lovely, fragrant peaches (once again, give it a sniff, if it smells like a peach, it's done) and a pint of dark, plump blackberries. The combination of the two would be perfect for a colorful, sweet taste of summer. Total cost..$3.15

There's really no right or wrong way to make this lovely little galette, and it's so quick and easy, I made it in under 15 min (bake time is approximately 45 min) and no bowl needed!

The secret though, is to make sure you have wonderfully ripe fresh fruit. You want all the flavor to come from the fruit, not any additional ingredients.

So grab a piece of parchment (useful in so many ways, and always in my kitchen) roll out your galette crust, pour the chunks of peaches and the blackberries onto the parchment, and sprinkle on only enough sugar to add a bit of extra sweetness. I always add a squeeze of lemon juice to bring out the flavor of the fruit.

In order to thicken the juices from the peaches and blackberries, add a tablespoon or so of flour.

Start by folding up one side of the dough, then gather a section at a time up and around the fruit, mounding it as you go.

Remember to give the crust a quick egg wash and a sprinkle of sugar, and it's ready for the oven..or if the it's too hot to turn the oven on in the afternoon, move the whole thing, parchment and all, onto a cutting board, and pop it in the fridge until your kitchen cools down. When it does crank the oven up to 400º and bake for about 30 min until the galette is golden brown. Cover it lightly with foil, bake another 10-15 min or so (some ovens run hot, so adjust as necessary). Let it cool while the smell of freshly baked pie floats through your house..delightful!

..This one's for you Becky and Jenna!

1 comment:

  1. OH MY, you are killing me! This looks so pretty, too pretty to eat. Did you give it to the neighbors? Great blogging here Kate.