Spring is such a beautiful season, good. Taxes that you still haven’t paid, bad. It seems every day is filled with good and bad. I often fall into the trap of wanting things to be perfect. And when I do, it makes me less able to handle real life moments and stress: work, money, relationships, things not working out how you imagined they would.
When you are trying to meditate one of the best techniques is to recognize thoughts when they arise and then let them go. You are not running away from anything or trying to shut something out. You are seeing something for what it is and then moving on. It is a lesson I need to remind myself of day in and day out. This weekend was “almost” perfect. Beautiful sunshine, gorgeous bright green leaves that are so new they almost look neon, a house full of friends, big dinners, warm smiles, cool walks along the beach. But I know that for each of us there was a moment, surely more than a moment where something reminded us of that thing we forgot to do, a work email that caused a stir of anxiousness, an old memory that cropped up bringing with it a twinge of sadness, a phone call that took us out of the present. These moments are no less valid than all the good moments we had, but sometimes it feels like they linger around for longer than our smiles because we try so hard to erase them.
When I think about the places that I love they are filled with chaos: Naples, New York, India. They can be dirty, over-crowded and unruly, but at the same time offer so much beauty, stimulation, humanity and surprise that I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I choose to live in the East Village, not La Jolla after all! Why should my life be any different from the place I inhabit? It probably shouldn’t, there is a kind of beauty in adversity and if it’s hard to see in that moment, it’s all right, because that moment will pass.
Almost perfect, is the new perfect. In light of that idea I’m making a strawberry rhubarb galette this week. Rhubarb in the spring, perfect. Galettes made with hand pinched dough, always beautiful in their sloppy imperfection.
Postscript: After writing this entry, I dashed off to a work event and found out that one of my freelance projects, something I was really counting on, was in jeopardy. Instinctively, the panic alarm went off in my head, but then I thought about the words I had just typed onto my laptop. It was as though I had written myself a letter and it was delivered just in time to appease my apprehensive mind. The words worked their magic. The situation is still unresolved, but I remind myself that when one door closes another opens if you let it.
STRAWBERRY RHUBARB GALETTE – adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart
I made this using the cornmeal pâte brisée suggested in the recipe, which is lovely. But next time I might try a crust without cornmeal such as this one from Canal House Cooks Everyday. I divided my dough into two rounds and created two smaller galettes, so I could freeze one for the weekend.
¼ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
½ recipe cornmeal pâte brisée
2 cups rhubarb, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1½ cup strawberries, hulled and halved
½ lemon, juiced
⅔ cup of turbinado cane sugar or granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
a pinch of ground cinnamon
a pinch of ground cardamon
1 small egg, beaten
a couple pinches of turbinado sugar for sprinkling
vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into two rounds, about ⅛ inch thick.
Place rhubarb in a large bowl, add lemon juice and toss to combine.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and cardamon. Add sugar mixture to rhubarb and toss until well coated.
Arrange rhubarb mixture on top of dough, leaving a 2-inch border all the way around. Fold crust over the fruit mixture, pinching gently to adhere the folds. Brush edges of dough with egg and sprinkle with sugar. Transfer to refrigerator and chill 15 to 20 minutes and then bake until crust is a deep golden brown and juices are bubbling, about 45-50 minutes.
Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm, or at room temperature accompanied by vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream, spiked with a pinch of cardamon.