Letting go

[Disclaimer: I wrote this a couple months ago. I don’t know if it’s still relevant to me, but maybe it will be relevant to someone. I apologize for posting a summer recipe in the first days of fall. But this recipe is a keeper – if you find yourself with some juicy berries or ripe stone fruits, give it a whirl.]

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I noticed that when I’m knitting, I make a lot of unnecessary movements with my hands – holding the yarn in place, trying to ensure that it doesn’t slip off the needle. I’m trying to be aware when I can let a little something go. It’s amazing what a difference these tiny adjustments can make.

I’m thinking a lot about letting go these days. Lots of changes in my life means working hard to remember that change doesn’t have to mean losing something. Every experience remains a part of your story. I don’t need to clench my fists tight around the past in order to keep it with me.

Sometimes in a yoga class, while we’re holding a difficult pose, the instructor will say, “Try to let go of something.” It took me a while to understand what she meant. Although your muscles are working hard to maintain the pose, you can usually find a part of your body that is tensing up unnecessarily. If you can relax those parts of your body, you can go deeper into the pose. Trust in your body and let go of that extra strain, and you’re rewarded with a pose that is more peaceful and more satisfying. Like a lot of things in yoga, this idea applies to my life so clearly. We hold on to thoughts and worries and regrets about the past and future, instead of enjoying the peace and joy in the present.

So I try to listen to my yoga teacher – pick one thing and try to let it go.

Then we can better embrace those times when life is so good and joyful that you just want to live fully within the wonderful experience of the present. Summer feels like that to me. People slow down and enjoy the best parts of life. For me, that’s often wrapped up in summer’s bounty of produce. I could live off of fresh summer fruit, and I wanted to share this recipe that is a perfect way to showcase whatever fruit you find at the market. The name sounds fancy, but trust me, it is super impressive without being nitpicky or labor-intensive.

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*Photo credit goes, with gratitude, to Baruch Moskovits

Strawberry Galette (Rustic Strawberry Tart)

Adapted from GoodLife Eats’ recipe and Food52’s tips

If you have a lot of fruit to use up, I recommend doubling this recipe, which I did – I stored half the dough in the fridge and made the second galette the next day.

Strawberries are mighty juicy – it’s what makes them so irresistible! If you see juice leak out of the tart during baking, don’t sweat it. Do your best to create a solid border so you don’t lose too much of that goodness, and be sure to cool the finished galette on a cooling rack so the bottom dough doesn’t get soggy.

Crust:

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 pinch salt

½ cup (1 stick ) unsalted butter, cubed and cold

¼ cup ice cold water

2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)

Filling:

3 ½ cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered (mine were the tiny variety, so I halved them)

2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for finishing

1 tablespoon flour

Egg wash:

1 egg, beaten and thinned with water

(OR you can substitute milk/cream or melted butter)

Prepare crust:

  1. Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl. Use your hands or a pastry cutter to cut the cold, cubed butter into the flour. Work quickly so that the butter remains cold, until the largest chunks of butter are approximately pea-sized.
  2. Pour water and lemon juice over the dough. Give it a rough mix (Food52 points out that the dough does not need to be uniformly wet).
  3. Form the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and place in freezer for 20 minutes (or the refrigerator for about 30).

While the dough rests, prepare filling:

Combine sliced or halved strawberries with sugar and flour.

Assemble galette:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Flour your work surface and rolling pin, and roll out the chilled dough into a 12” circle. (This is more of a guideline. Remember, this is a rustic tart – don’t try to make the shape perfect! Mine was undeniably an oval.)
  3. Transfer the dough to your prepared baking sheet. (I do this by rolling the dough over the rolling pin, and then unrolling it onto the baking sheet.)
  4. Pile the strawberry mixture onto the dough, leaving a 1-2 inch border. To create the edges, fold a small portion of the dough you left as a border over the strawberries. Then fold over the adjacent portion of dough. Continue all the way around, crimping the dough together slightly with your fingers to prevent juice from leaking in the oven.
  5. Brush your egg wash over the crust and sprinkle the crust generously with sugar. Bake on the middle rack until crust is golden brown, about 45 minutes. The time could vary – begin to check on it after 30 minutes.
  6. Slide the parchment paper with the galette onto a cooling rack. Remove the parchment paper and allow the galette to cool on the cooling rack.
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