Peach Galette

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I’m insane. I turned on the oven and stove on a hot and humid day. What was I thinking? I’m not going to lie, it was miserable for an hour or so but I dare say it was worth it. We’re overflowing with ripe peaches over here as you’ve likely seen in the last few posts. It’s a delicious problem to have and I’ll be sad when the season is over. Our little tree is almost done producing so I’m savoring each and every peach from here on out.

This time I decided to try my hand at a galette and since the peaches were juicy, I made a quick mixture of cinnamon, almond and flour to layer on the bottom and help absorb the extra liquid. If you can stand it or if you’re lucky enough to have air conditioning, give this buttery, flaky peach galette a try. Top with vanilla ice cream for an extra decadent treat.

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Peach Galette:

10 ripe peaches

almond cinnamon mixture

pate brisee

1 T butter, melted

1 T raw sugar

Pate Brisee

from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

1/2 cup ice water

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

12 T (1 1/2 sticks) butter, cut into small cubes

2 T heavy cream or 1 small egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place the flour, salt  and butter into a bowl. Using your fingers, cut the butter into the flour leaving some large, irregular pieces. Using a fork, mix the flour and butter mixture while slowly pouring in the ice water until the dough begins to form clumps. Add more ice water if needed to brink the mixture into a cohesive mass. Gently pour out onto a work surface, need lightly until there are no dry patches and separate the dough into two. Flatten into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least an hour.

Remove one of the disks of dough (save the other for something else) and dust your work surface with  flour. Make sure to smooth out any cracked edges in your disk of dough. Proceed to roll out in a circle until approximately 1/8″ thick. If dough cracks or you get some holes, just pinch off excess dough and patch up the cracks. This dough is very forgiving, but you will need to work quickly so the butter does not warm up.

When you have your round shape, transfer dough to a parchment lined sheetpan. If the dough is too soft, place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Poached Peaches:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the peaches. Let boil 30- 45 seconds. Remove and place into an ice water bath. When cool enough to handle, peel skins off with a pairing knife and slice peaches into 6-8 slices per peach depending on size. Set aside.

Almond Cinnamon Mixture:

1 T all purpose flour

1 T whole almonds

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Chop the almonds and place into a food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Process until the nuts are fine and the mixture is incorporated. Set aside.

Assemble the Galette:

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and sprinkle the center of the dough with the almond and cinnamon mixture, concentrating mostly in the very center.

Place peaches over the almond cinnamon mixture leaving a 2″ border around the edges.

Fold the edges toward the center, over the border of the peaches and continue around the perimeter of the tart until all edges are folded.

Brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake 40- 45 minutes until edges and bottom is golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before serving.

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52 Weeks: 30/52

This last week has been crazy crowded in town with everything from  clogged freeways and streets to long lines at some restaurants and general hassle getting around. Add heat and humidity to that equation and it’s easy to see where this bus is going.  Here’s some of what was happening this week:

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Annual Comic Con craziness.

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Getting away from it all and grabbing a beer as the sun went down.

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Tacos and Mulitas + beer = instant mood lifter.

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Checking out the Art Crawl at Glashaus.

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Gotcha! Putting this little guy to the challenge and making him work for his treats. #frustratedpup

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Pink clouds and nightfall.

Stay cool this weekend and enjoy it while it lasts!

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Peach Prosecco Floats

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When life gives you peaches… you make prosecco floats! That’s precisely how I cooled myself down and made use of some of this peach basil sorbet. Prosecco is just a touch sweet and the effervescence brightens the peach flavor making this float worthy of a toast… to the weekend or anything currently making you happy. It’s the small things in life that count, right? Hopefully I’ll be spending part of the weekend sitting on the porch and sipping this float. Hope you have a good one too. Cheers!

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Peach Prosecco Float:

This is hardly a recipe and doesn’t really need directions, but here it is:

Peach Basil Sorbet, recipe here

Bottle of chilled prosecco

Basil leaves for garnish

Place 1 scoop of sorbet into each coupe glass. Top generously with prosecco and garnish with a basil leaf. Think of a clever toast and drink to that. Happy Friday!

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Peach Basil Sorbet

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My wish came true this summer. It was a simple wish for lots of fruit from our trees and vines, enough to be able to make something, anything. I’ve been patient and it paid off because we had so many peaches on hand, I was eating two a day and still not making a dent in it. It’s been too hot to bake a pie and the thought of turning on the oven makes me sweat. By far, the best solution was to make more sorbet. I’m telling you, this is going to be a sorbet summer which is just fine by me since I do love me some fresh fruit sorbet right from the backyard. Can’t beat it. The addition of basil helps to enhance and brighten the flavors all around.

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Peach Basil Sorbet:

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

1 bunch basil

2 pounds fresh peaches, peeled

1/2 to 1 cup water

juice of 1/2 lime

For the simple syrup:

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let simmer 1 more minute and remove from heat. Place basil leaves into hot syrup, stir and let steep until syrup cools.  Strain and transfer to a container and chill in the refrigerator. This can be done the day before.

For the sorbet base:

Place the peaches in a blender with 1/2- 1 cup water and blend until smooth. It should yield 4 cups puree. Add the lime juice and 1 1/2 cups chilled basil infused syrup. Blend again just until the liquids are combined.

Place in an ice cream maker and spin according to manufacturer directions. This batch took 30 minutes in my ice cream maker. Transfer to a container and freeze for several hours, overnight is best.

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52 Weeks: 29/52

Each Sunday I can’t believe how quickly the weekend sped by. Really, where does the time go?

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I love the variety of summer fruits, especially our peaches! This year our tree was super generous and is producing the largest amount of fruit since we’ve had it. If you’re thinking of planting a peach tree, might I suggest the Mid Pride Peach? It’s yellow, nice size and the fruit is juicy and sweet, each and every year.

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Whenever the Queers are in town, we’re at the show. Too bad they were an opening band this night, I’d rather hear them play a longer.

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Beer taps decorate the ceiling at our neighborhood watering hole.

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Enjoying the fruits of my labor.

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Micheladas

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Micheladas are one of those drinks that have so many variations and add-ins,  the combinations can get very creative. Often, you will see them made with Clamato or other spices and salsas. I prefer mine simple, in the style of my favorite restaurant in Porto Nuevo. By definition, the term miche-miche means half and half and chelada is a cold beer. Hence, the michelada. It’s like a beer lemonade, 1/2 lemon juice and 1/2 beer. In my opinion, it’s the perfect thirst quencher on a hot summer day.

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Michelada:

yield: 1 serving

1 bottle Mexican lager beer such as Bohemia

2- 3 lemons, juiced

spiced salt mix for the rim

Spiced Salt Mix:

2 T sea salt

zest of 1 lemon

2 tsp chile powder

1 tsp paprika

pinch cayenne pepper

Combine all and place on a flat dish.

Season the rim of your glass with the spiced salt mix by running a piece of lemon slice around the rim and then invert onto the spiced salt.

Squeeze the lemons into the glass and top with beer. The lemon juice should make up almost 1/2 of the liquid. If your lemons are small, add more. Continue to top off with remaining beer as you sip.

Cheers!

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Barcelona Day Trip: Montserrat Monastery

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Santa Maria de Montserrat

Montserrat is a Benedictine monastery located high atop the jaggedy mountains of Catalunya. It is about an hour and a half journey from Barcelona (Espanya station on R5) to the monastery built into the mountain. The views are sweeping and spectacular from the top and truly a sight to be seen. Get your cameras ready and set to panoramic setting because you’re going to be hard pressed to find a backdrop like this one.

Although there are many reasons one would make the trek to the mountain, ours was primarily to get a glimpse of the Black Madonna, patron saint of Catalonia. After seeing one in Toledo, and doing some research, I became fascinated with them as there are not very many around and they always have an interesting story. This particular Madonna is a wood carved sculpture from the twelfth century.

A word to the wise (not us on this particular trip), get there early! Early as in when it opens if you want to see the Madonna but not spend all day long waiting in a line that slowly inches along at a snail’s pace. It’s definitely worth seeing but there are other parts of the mountain to explore.

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If you survived the Madonna’s line and still have energy for exploration, take the funicular Sant Joan to the top of Montserrat’s highest point. It’s an awesome ride up in the cable car that goes almost vertically up the steep mountain side. Get your cameras ready to snap even more fantastic views of the Monastery and surrounding mountains… if you can get around your many cable car companions, all with the same goal. One more thing, if heights make you queasy, consider yourself warned. But! You won’t regret it.

At the top, there is a lookout point and several trails to choose from. If you are wearing closed-toe shoes, you’re in luck! Take the walk uphill to the chapel and even further up to the hermitages built into the mountain by monks. Be careful, as it’s steep and narrow. There’s quite a bit of nature here to explore and easy to lose track of time meandering about the mountain side. If you’re getting a late start, just be mindful of the funicular’s last departure time back down to the Monastery. Lines can get long at the very end of the day so plan accordingly and above all, have fun!

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Do’s:

+ get there EARLY

+ wear walking shoes

+ bring a light sweater/jacket

+ wear sunscreen, bring sunglasses

+ pack a lunch. There is a cafeteria, but the noise and smells were enough to make me pass on lunch

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Rice Pudding

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Lately, it’s been popsicle and ice cream weather. Iced tea, cold beer, white wine, and grilling season. Sometimes, you may want something different. I got out of my usual routine and made a batch of fragrant rice pudding and substituted jasmine rice. A versatile treat, rice pudding can be enjoyed warm during the winter or straight out of the fridge in summer months. This time around, it was served the next day, nice and chilled. It’s easy and although it does require turning on the stove, if made at night, it’s not so bad. Recipe here.

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52 Weeks: 28/52

I skipped a week but now I’m back! This week I’m sharing snaps from the LA trip:

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Passing by the first In-N-Out in Baldwin Park en route to a midnight snack.

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It takes forever to get anywhere no matter the time of day but this day wasn’t too bad. We’re not stopped bumper to bumper…yet.

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View of downtown from the Getty Center.

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We went for the James Ensor exhibit and were blown away! It was fantastic, eye- opening.

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The grounds at the Getty Center are beautifully landscaped.

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Love the patio lights at night.

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Indulging in macarons for K’s b-day. The salted caramel ones were a hit. Rose flavor, not so much with this crowd.

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Pretty much any night after going out in LA ends with a trip to King Taco.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

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Colònia Güell, Gaudí and an Abandoned Castle

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Colònia Güell

Santa Coloma de Cervelló

Approximately 45 minutes outside of Barcelona amongst the pine woods is the tranquil village of Colónia Güell.  Eusebio Güell, a local businessman, set up the town and opened up a textile mill complete with village housing for workers, sponsored cultural activities, built a school, and offered workers a better social and economic life. It was considered a model society ahead of its time. After the Spanish Civil War, the expansive property was parceled off and sold in smaller lots mainly for residential dwellings. Today, the village retains its charm and visitors can pass by the textile factory, parish hall, and school which have been well preserved. The colonia is charming, however, it is Gaudí’s unfinished church that is the main draw. 

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Crypt at the Church of Colònia Güell

Colònia Güell/ Santa Coloma de Cervelló/website/

One of Gaudí’s unfinished projects, the crypt was commissioned by Eusebio Güell, in 1908. This was an ambitious project that was never fully realized. There was supposed to be an upper and lower level, but only the lower level crypt was completed. In 1914, the Güell family was no longer able to finance the project and construction ceased. Today, visitors are welcome into the crypt and the upper level where the church would have been is a look- out spot which is a good spot to view the town. 

Although not as splashy and extravagant as Gaudi’s better known works, a visit to Còlonia Güell is well worth the 45 minutes or so metro ride out of Barcelona. Here, visitors can breeze in and out with ease, there are no horrendous lines or large tour groups. On the day we went, we had it all to ourselves for the majority of the time. Arrive early and you’ll be rewarded with a tranquil visit and amazing architecture.

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Castillo Torre Salvana

Colonia Guell/Santa Coloma de Cervelló/

Dating from 992, this Romanesque, fortified castle has gone through some renovations over the years, but has long been vacant and deteriorating. It has a long history beginning with Torre d’Eles in the tenth century and later named after inhabitants, Salba family. Also known as the “Castle of Hell”, there are a few paranormal ghost stories swirling around this place. To tell you the truth, as much as I love a spooky story, the only creepy feeling I had was that there was definitely evidence of “residents”, squatters living there and I didn’t want to be there when they returned.

We first spotted it when walking through town. From a distance, we could see the tower and part of the castle walls. Luckily for us, there was a groundskeeper we came across in the town who didn’t mind telling us how to get to the structure. Basically, go through the forest, past the brush and you’ll be there. It’s a magnificent sight and I couldn’t help trespassing into the castle where there was a large hole in the exterior wall large enough to pass through. If you dare enter, beware of the fire ants that are on the ground and crawling all over the way in. If you’re adventurous, persevere, it will be worth it.

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