Remember me? I know, I know. It’s been a while. Too long actually.
And so much has changed during my 6 week hiatus. In all honesty, it was more like 2 months if you count the weeks leading up to my site migration from Blogger over to WordPress. I try to have a post or two waiting in the wings to handle the times when I’m excessively busy, but I needed to clear out my unpublished posts before the move. I was worried my draft posts might become published in the transition, and that would have been like a dressing room door unexpectedly opening on me while attempting to try on a pair of skinny jeans. You would have seen all of my imperfections before I was able to cover them up. So I had nothing to carry me through the busy time. And then summer vacations, activities and all-around fun stuff set in leaving very little quiet time for me to collect my thoughts long enough to write a sentence or two. Essentially time got away from me, and any remaining free time I had was spent researching all of the things I wanted incorporated into my new site.
Speaking of which, what do you think about the new place?
I feel so fortunate to have been put in touch with Victor Thomas, a San Francisco-based web designer, who handled every single aspect of building this new home for Lemons and Lavender on WordPress. I am a picky person especially when it comes to things that are important to me, and to complicate things, I am not the most computer savvy person around (which I am reminded of as I attempt to navigate this new platform). Victor had his work cut out for himself. I had multiple requests, revisions and questions, and he easily took care of them all. On top of all that, he highly recommended the logo design services of Courtney Campbell. I immediately fell in love with the logo above when Courtney first presented it to me. She tweaked it a bit and I couldn’t be happier with the result. It was such a pleasure to work with Courtney; she made it all seem so easy. She was on top of every detail, and every request I made was promptly handled as if I was her only client. To say that Victor and Courtney took good care of me is an understatement. I am so grateful to have had two wonderfully talented people create all of this for me.
One of my most favorite features is the recipe printing and shopping list feature you will find below. I hope you find it useful.
I did a lot of cooking and baking over the past few months, and I’m anxious to get some of the posts up while summer fruits and vegetables are still available. Perhaps my most favorite of all were these Mini Strawberry Tarts with Orange Crust, a recipe I found and adapted from the Junior League of Pasadena’s The California Heritage Cookbook.
As I have mentioned before, I am so lucky to have a nearly year-round strawberry supply from the farms near my house. I’ve been grabbing a half-flat of strawberries every week since the season started. My favorite are the Gaviota variety that I was buying from McGrath Family Farms, an organic, sustainable, family-owned farm that has been in operation for 5 generations and is currently under the direction of Phil McGrath. When I appeared in the farm store one day asking for the Gaviotas, one of the girls behind the counter called in Phil who promptly explained the season for the Gaviotas was just about done. The plants were still producing strawberries but the size was too small to bring to market. The smaller strawberries were exactly what I was after, and I explained to Phil that I had a food blog and needed a smaller berry for an upcoming dessert post. With a quick phone call, Phil made arrangements for the remaining Gaviotas to be picked for me and I picked up the flat of tiny strawberries the next day. I don’t know about you, but for me there is something enormously satisfying when you have the opportunity to interact with the farmers. And knowing that something was picked especially for you is especially endearing.
So while there are still strawberries available (the smaller the better), please make these adorable little strawberry tarts whose crust, speckled with orange zest, gives you the most pleasant flavor surprise. The orange crust is what really takes this from an ordinary fruit tart to an extraordinary one. And it couldn’t be easier to work with especially when you don’t have to pat the dough into individual tart pans. Instead, the dough is rolled out, cut into circles with a 3.5-inch cookie or biscuit cutter, draped over the “cups” on an inverted cupcake pan, and lightly pressed to fit. I did have to monitor the tart shells during baking because my cupcake pan has a non-stick surface and the cups began to slide off toward the end of the baking process. The filling is a standard pastry cream that would definitely benefit from a pass through a sieve before chilling. I didn’t do this and met up with an occasional small lump or two – no big deal but I noticed it. Because these strawberry tarts have a relatively short life, they are best eaten on the day they are made, which shouldn’t be a problem because they are so good. Despite passing them around to my neighbors, I still had a few left over and refrigerated them until the next day. The orange crust remained crisp and the glaze became unsightly, but they were still delicious. Should you need to make these ahead of time, I would suggest preparing everything head and not assembling them until a few hours before serving. The red currant jelly glaze should be the last thing you do before popping the completed strawberry tarts into the refrigerator to chill before serving. And please don’t substitute anything else for the red currant jelly glaze; it is to fruit what salt is to meat in my opinion.
This can be made in stages and assembled shortly before you're ready to serve. Ingredients Instructions
This can be made in stages and assembled shortly before you're ready to serve.