Friday, 31 July 2015

Easy Peach Galette

I had my first peach of the summer the other day. I took the first bite, pulled it away from my mouth and stopped to look at it, while thinking: this is the best f*^king thing I have ever eaten. Peaches are everything that summer is about: sweet and ripe and messy and full of juice, and just don't stick around long enough. This is why people can the crap out of peaches: to catch summer at its peak and enjoy them in February, when things are just plain bleak. A bad peach is a horrible disappointment. I can eat a mediocre strawberry, but I just can't eat a less-than peach.

I've been battling an annoying addiction to the internet and all of its many rabbit-holes, one of them being looking at beautiful food. Do men do this? Look at pictures of food on the internet? My husband thinks it is downright strange that I do this, but I think his scrolling for guitars and music gear is just as weird. We obsess... And then - I notice myself at the fruit market buying a basket of peaches and I realize that I have seen about 537 beautiful pictures of galettes this summer. Galettes. A quick, throw-together, rustic, messy pie of a thing. I finally had a mission and purpose in life: to make a peach galette.

Here is what I did:

Spelt and Cornmeal Pate Brisee:
1 3/4 cups organic light spelt flour
1/2 cup organic yellow cornmeal
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp raw sugar
2 sticks of ice cold unsalted butter, cut into small squares
1/4 c ice water

Place the flour, cornmeal, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until blended. Next add butter, and pulse again until the butter looks like tiny peas in the flour. Then with the food processor on, add the ice water in a stream and stop as soon as the dough begins to clump, but is still crumbly looking. Shape the dough into a disk with your hands, without handling it very much. Wrap it in saran wrap and put it in your fridge for at least one hour.
When you are ready to make the galette, take the dough out of the fridge, and preheat your oven to 425F.

Peach Filling:
6 medium-ripe peaches (not too ripe), cut into 1/2" wedges
2 tbsp organic light spelt flour
2 tbsp raw sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp butter, cut into chunks

Place all these ingredients - except the butter - in a bowl, and toss everything together lightly to coat the peaches.
Roll out your galette by dividing the chilled dough in half, and placing one mound on a rectangle of parchment that matches your cookie tray (mine is 9" x 13"). Sprinkle some cornmeal on the top to ease the rolling. Roll it out to a circle approximately 10" in diameter. Either throw your peaches on there in a big heap, or do it nicely by making neat rows starting 2" in from the edge. Once the fruit is placed, fold the edges over. Try to seal the cracks if any of the dough breaks while folding. Scatter those butter chunks on the top, then transfer the parchment to your cookie tray, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges of the crust look golden-brown.

We served ours with coconut whipped cream. I can't give you that recipe right now because I'm really hot and tired, but I'm sure you can easily find it on the highly-addictive internet.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Colour of Grief

My father died eight years ago today. I didn't realize this until I was at the coffee shop with Cedar and Brian this morning, and wrote the date into my journal. I wrote about my dad while Bri and Cedar drew funny pictures of aliens.  I cried, wrote, answered to Cedar a few times, drank my coffee, and kissed the top of my boy's head more than usual. 
I made a pact with myself, that even when I am with my kids, I will still find the time to write, even if it's a messy sentence or two minutes of a poem, or just an idea to paper. 
I also made a pact with myself to share more of my writing. Here is what I wrote this morning. 

The Colour of Grief

Death - it's a shaken box. Everything in it, rattling. A snowglobe scene of life, upside down. The car, the heatwave, the blueberry hand pie and strong espresso, my stomach, his long limbs - bare now. No fat. No momentum. Like a tree whose leaves did not take. Skinny poplar branches.

He was sleeping in my brother's bed, the bed I'd slept in the night before; listening, listening for any sound he might make. A part of me awake all night. A vigil. The TV channel was set to a nature sounds station. Birds chirping all night, a monotonous stream, sometimes crickets and wind. My father’s snore, for the first and last time, the greatest comfort to me.

Love. Love in my chest. A weeping love. A nervous love. Love holding on tight, making stamps of everything, everything, to keep as memories.
The heat wave, the fan, the back and forth, the up and down of stairs.
Death. Making its slow, definite way toward us.
You don’t, you can’t say goodbye. Who and what are you saying that to? People slip through dimensions, their bodies left like laundry on the floor.
I did not say goodbye.

My body was so heavy with love; love’s new face, love’s new sadness, love’s loss.
My father’s eyes were blue as Lake Louise that morning, as he slipped away, through that building of his body, clean as a canoe cutting through water.

And me, us, here like remnants. The rattled box now still. The sweeping through complete. Now there is just debris. Now there is just grief.
The sunset that day was the kind that makes you breathe more deeply, makes you stop, makes everything feel held in beauty. It was pink and orange and even purple in places. It was every colour my heart was; a bruise so beautiful I could not look away.