One kid's adventures in gastronomy


Any time is pie time

Well, we went and picked more blueberries. Mama, drawn by an end-of-season panic that our freezer wouldn’t be stocked with as much summer goodness as possible, decided we needed another go at the bushes.

Later, as the berries soaked to remove the grass clippings and errant bugs, I reached in and grabbed handfuls, gobbling them like Cookie Monster. Mama said she was not amused, but I wasn’t buying it.

So while I slept, Mama felt like making a tart. She happened to have leftover dough in the freezer from the tomato pie, so she just used that. And she swapped a cup of the blueberries for a cup of pitted sour cherries, and omitted the lemon juice in favor of the cherry juice.

With just 2 tablespoons of sugar in the WHOLE tart, Mama didn’t feel too guilty about letting me have a piece after breakfast. And I didn’t feel guilty eating it.

After I ate a pretty good breakfast, Mama decided I could try a piece of the tart (as she was having a piece for breakfast herself). She showed me how pretty the bluebies looked, and I was ready to start picking them off. While I was disappointed that I couldn’t stuff them in my mouth, Cookie Monster–style, I liked eating them with my fork. The cherries were still a bit plump, too, and all the fruit was pleasantly tart. The pastry was still flaky and soft.

Maybe I can have pie for lunch too?

Love, Jude


The Queen of Tarts

Mama made a tart. A leek tart, to be more precise. First, she showed me how to rinse then cut the leeks into half moons. We’ve done this before. Leeks can be very dirty, so it’s important to rinse in between all the layers. She had 3 leeks, so that was a lot of little moons to cut. These she sautéed in butter and a little olive oil—“to raise the smoke point,” she said—until they were soft. Then she peeled and grated 2 russet potatoes on the big square grater. She let me help her hold the vegetable peeler, but she said the box grater was too dangerous for my little fingers. When the leeks were soft, she added the potatoes, along with some salt and pepper and a few sprigs of thyme. The kitchen smelled so good as everything cooked!

Meanwhile, Mama did something she said chefs everywhere would shake their heads at: She took scraps from the various pies and tarts she’s made over the past couple months out of the freezer, let them thaw, and then smooshed them together to make one new tart crust. She showed me how to flour the counter surface and then roll out the dough with something called a rolling pin until it was smooth and flat. She wrapped the dough on the rolling pin, then unrolled it over the tart pan. She said you have to gently lay the dough inside the pan so as not to tear it. Then she let me prick it a few times with a fork, and we put it into the oven to bake.

And by the time it was done, the vegetables were cooked. She poured them into the hot tart shell, sprinkled some goat cheese over top and drizzled some balsamic vinegar over it, then put it all back in the oven. Not long after that, it was ready.

I don’t know what I liked more—the potatoes, the balsamic vinegar, the leeks, the goat cheese, the crust…. The whole thing was just so darn yummy, I had an entire piece. Now Mama just has to make a bunch more pies so she has more scraps for a last-minute tart.

Love, Jude