Hello there my friends. I've been a little MIA for a while, haven't I?!? I'm sorry, I haven't forgotten about you. But I have a few excuses as to why:
1. I got a job!!!
And I couldn't be happier. The people are great, the view is un-freaking-believable (over 30 floors up in downtown Chicago on Michigan Avenue), and I'm really loving being busy and back at work (consulting/medical writing for pharmaceutical companies).
2. I got an apartment!!!
The day after my job offer I put money down on an apartment in Chicago, a whopping 4 minute walk from Wrigley Field. I move in Labor Day weekend, and I've already started some projects before the big move (eg, sanding/repainting some furniture from my folks place). I can't wait for a shorter commute (mine is over 70 minutes each way right now), my own kitchen, and the ability to go out on the weekdays/weekends and not drive home. Haven't had that luxury for yeaaaaars!
I can't even describe how happy I've been these past three weeks. I knew moving back to Chicago was the right decision for me, but having a job and apartment of my own is what I've been missing in the months since I've been back. I feel like "me" again, only happier.
Just the thought of organizing my walk-in pantry has brought so much excitement in my life. Is that normal?!? Ahhh well, I don't care, because I'm as happy as can be!
You know why else I'm happy? Two of the people I love most in this world had their birthdays this weekend. My baby brother turned a quarter century yesterday, and my best friend is celebrating her >25 year old birthday today.
(I'll never forget that meal, or those phallic table lights)
I wanted to find pictures of us from college, but alas my photo albums are in boxes strewn about my parent's house. So these photos from my visit to Sommer when she was in Philly will have to suffice. (Have I mentioned how happy I'll be when I can finally settle into my new place?? Well I will.)
I haven't been baking or cook much of anything these days, but I do have a recipe I made with Sommer one of the last times I saw her before leaving California (the same trip in which we made tostones... mmmmmmm). Since it's Sommer's birthday today, I figured it would be the perfect time to post this very, very belated recipe.
So what do you get when you combine oranges with some sugar, flour and butter? A rustic, melt-in-your-mouth, unbelievably delicious dessert!
Although I do like blood oranges, I'm not sure I go as ga-ga for them as everyone else does. I much prefer a ripe cara cara orange. And there was something about the baking process that turned these blood oranges bitter. Not sure what it was, but I'm actually happy I didn't have enough blood oranges that the recipe required. Instead we were forced to use oranges from Sommer's tree, and they totally MADE this dessert.
I also loved that this dessert was not just rustic, but not overly sweet. As any regular readers know by now (you know, the three of you...haha) I prefer European style desserts (fat-ass, creamy, less sweet) to American style ones (super sweet, cakes and cookies and the like).
But if you'd like to add a little extra sweetness to this dessert, may I suggest serving it with some ice cream, a salted caramel sauce, or a delicious chocolate sauce?
(Blood) Orange Galette, adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Note: the original recipe has you freeze the galette overnight so that you can place it directly on the oven rack to bake. This sounded like a great idea, but we didn't have the time, so we cooked it on a baking sheet on a silpat instead. The link to her original recipe is above, so feel free to attempt it either way.
Also, feel free to use any kind of fruit you like. Tis the season for stone fruits right now, so this would be delicious with some plums or peaches. Just make sure to adjust the sugar, as those fruits tend to be more sweet than oranges.
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
3 tablespoons ice water
Oranges, ~ 2.5 - 3 lbs worth (40-50 oz)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
1. Prepare the crust: In a food processor, pulse the flour with sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the stick of cold butter and pulse several times, just until it is the size of peas. Sprinkle the dough with the ice water and pulse just until moistened crumbs form. Turn the crumbs out onto a work surface, knead once or twice (just enough to bring it together) and pat the pastry into a disk. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the oranges. Peel the blood oranges, removing all of the bitter white pith. Thinly slice 1 or 2 of the oranges crosswise; remove the pits. Transfer the orange slices to a plate.
3. Segment the remaining oranges and place into a sieve to remove as much of the juice as possible (without mashing them). (Here's a tutorial on how to segment an orange.) You will need 1 cup of sections.
4. Once you're done slicing and segmenting your oranges, your crust should be chilled and ready to use. On a floured work surface, roll out the pastry to an 11-inch round, about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer the pastry to a parchment paper or silpat–lined flat cookie sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes, or until chilled.
5. Arrange the orange sections on the pastry, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sugar over the oranges. Using a paring knife, thinly slice 1 tablespoon of butter over the oranges. Fold up the pastry over the oranges, leaving most of the oranges uncovered. Brush the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Arrange the orange slices on top, leaving a 1-inch border of pastry all around. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar on top.
6. Refrigerate or freeze the galette for another 30 minutes or so to re-chill the dough.
7. Position your rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375˚F so it's ready to go when your galette is.
8. Bake the galette directly from the fridge/freezer for 45–70+ minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the pastry is deeply browned. (Honestly, I can't remember how long we cooked this for!! I'd start checking at about 45 minutes just to make sure, but I think it took over an hour to finish)
9. Allow galette to cool for ~30 minutes, if you can. I think we waited about 5 minutes before we started stuffing our faces...
10. Serve by itself, or with ice cream, caramel sauce, or chocolate sauce.