Summer in Aspen is a perennial Mad Dash surrounded by an undeniably extraordinary setting. With its intangible quality of art, cultural and intellectual pursuits mixed with multiple sports opportunities, no one, just no one, can do it all. As evidenced by the plethora of minutiae displayed below, I still try:
- In mid-June five semi-trailer trucks pulled into the parking lot at the Aspen Music Festival and School to unload 144 Steinway pianos. At the end of the summer the pianos will be sold.
- NFL Atlanta Falcon Quarterback Matt Ryan says that for peak performance he needs 10 hours of sleep a night. (Time enough for sweet Super Bowl dreams.)
- Yale University professor David Blight who won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for his biography, Frederick Douglas, Prophet of Freedom, must have a toothpick in his mouth when he writes.
- MFA Grad student Julia Marsh, School of Visual Arts in NYC, just completed a remarkable thesis which she presented at the Aspen Institute’s Ideas Festival showing how to replace single-use plastics with sustainable seaweed-based packaging she’s named SWAY. (8.8 million tons of plastic spill into the oceans a year)
- Anointed by Snoop Dog as America’s Cool Weed Grandma, Martha Stewart, attending her first Aspen Food & Wine Classic in June, announced she is consulting with Canopy Growth, Canada’s largest marijuana producer, to develop hemp-derived CBD health products for animals.
- Author Susan Orlean, a staff writer for The New Yorker, resolved to never write another book after publishing Rin Tin Tin in 2011. Then her son, a first-grader, interviewed a Los Angeles city employee for a class assignment. His choice of questioning a librarian inspired Orleans to write her latest best-seller, The Library Book.
- Aspen has gone all blue, green, red, orange and yellow to join the international celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus this year. During the 30-years that designer Herbert Bayer, a Bauhaus master teacher, lived in Aspen, his lasting impact turned Aspen into ‘one of the greatest examples of a Bauhaus total environment that exists in the world.’
GALETTE – A free-form tart.
Our first summer CooktheBookFridays recipe is a Mushroom, Bacon, Leek & Walnut Galette from Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook. By a fortunate stroke of serendipity, I was searching for some effortless summer recipes. Dorie’s savory galette, was almost too perfect a fit. Later in the week I found my first plump apricots at a fruit stand at the Roaring Fork Valley Coop in Carbondale. Just stopping for gas but ended up with the makings of a fruit galette, the perfect bookend to my savory galette.
Galettes. Sweet or Savory. Exactly what Summer should look like.
Below are my two recipes for savory and sweet (fruit) galettes. Since a galette-fail is almost an impossibility, let the next visit to your farmer’s market “speak” to you. When using other ingredient combinations in galettes, use these same recipes, adjust and follow my Tips.
1. Use your preferred pie/tart dough or try Dorie’s: https://www.bakepedia.com/dorie-greenspans-basic-galette-dough/ For ultimate ease, use store-bought pastry.
2. Add other flavors to the fillings if you wish. Lemon zest, spices and even fresh herbs work.
3. Because you can’t par-bake a galette crust, prevent fruit juices from making the crust soggy by brushing the galette crust with egg white or spread a layer of crushed graham cracker or cookie crumbs (I use Keebler’s Sandies) or brush on jam thinned with water.
4. Before baking, brush the crust with an egg wash. For sweet galettes sprinkle with turbinado (raw sugar)
5. Search through the Internet to find countless filling suggestions for savory or sweet galettes and interesting add-ins to crusts whether homemade or store-bought. Dorie likes to add custards to her fruit galettes. Check out her Baking, From My Home to Yours from your library to see those recipes.
MUSHROOM, BACON, LEEKS, WALNUTS GALETTE by Dorie Greenspan, Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook
4 slices bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 pound trimmed and coarsely chopped mushrooms, white, cremini, wild, or a mix
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, split, washed and thinly sliced, or 1 large sweet onion, such as Vidalia, thinly sliced, rinsed and patted dry
1 finely chopped garlic clove
Fine sea salt
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 tablespoons heavy cream
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
1.The Dough: Put your homemade or store-bought dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll it, occasionally turning and lifting the paper to prevent sticking until you have an 11-inch circle. Slide the rolled-out dough, still between the sheets of paper, onto a baking sheet or cutting board and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or freeze for 1 hour or (well-wrapped) for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to use the dough, leave it on the counter for a few minutes just so that it’s pliable enough to lift and fold without cracking.
2. The filling: lay the bacon strips out in a heavy skillet and cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crispy and golden brown on both sides. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate, cover with more towels and pat dry. Set aside one tablespoon of bacon fat. When the bacon is cool, finely chop or cut it into slender strips.
3. Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 400°F. Leave the dough on the counter for about 10 minutes while the oven preheats. You need the dough to be pliable; very cold dough will crack when you work with it.
4. Pour the olive oil into the skillet with the bacon fat and return the pan to medium heat. Toss in the mushrooms, leeks or onion, and garlic, season lightly with salt and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened—the mushrooms will release liquid and then, as you continue to cook, take it up again.
5. Add the white wine and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan, until it evaporates, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the cream and cook, stirring, until it’s mostly absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the bacon, walnuts, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, the thyme and pepper.
6. To assemble the galette, peel the top piece of paper off the dough but leave on the bottom sheet of parchment and keep it on the baking sheet. Scrape the filling onto the crust and use a spatula to spread it into a circle that’s about 9 inches in diameter. Lift the bare border of dough and fold it over the filling. As you fold, the dough will pleat on itself, and that’s what you want; don’t worry about being neat or about getting everything even. If you tear the dough, just use a little cold water to glue it back together. You can refrigerate the galette for a few hours before baking and bake it straight from the fridge.
7. Bake the galette for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the crust is deeply golden and the filling hot. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan over the top of the galette — and, if you’d like, the crust. A drizzle of olive oil is also nice. Let the galette cool for 10 minutes before serving with a small green salad and glass of wine.
APRICOT BLUEBERRY GALETTE
FILLING & TOPPING
7 to 8 apricots, cut in half or quarters (your choice, but make all pieces the same)
1 cup, fresh blueberries
zest and juice from 1/2 small lemon
1/4 cup turbinado or granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
pinch of salt
1-2 TBSP. turbinado sugar
- The Dough: Put your homemade or store-bought dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll it, occasionally turning and lifting the paper to prevent sticking until you have an 11-inch circle. Slide the rolled-out dough, still between the sheets of paper, onto a baking sheet or cutting board and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or freeze for 1 hour or (well-wrapped) for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to use the dough, leave it on the counter for a few minutes just so that it’s pliable enough to lift and fold without cracking.
2. Halve or quarter the apricots and remove the pits and place in a bowl with the blueberries. Toss with the lemon zest, juice, sugar (adjust to sweetness of fruit), cinnamon and nutmeg. Pile the fruit on top of the dough into a mound, leaving a 2” border around the edges. Fold the dough over the fruit and press gently to seal. If the dough tears, glue it together with a little water.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Whisk together the egg with a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Brush the edges with the egg wash, then sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
Bake until golden brown, about 35-40 minutes. Let cool, then serve with vanilla ice cream.
https://cookthebookfridays.wordpress.com/ is an international group cooking virtually through Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook by Dorie Greenspan. To join the group or to see what my colleagues are making, click our link.