I am currently between jobs… literally. Thankfully, this time around that idiom doesn’t mean I am unemployed, but rather that I will be starting a new role at work in the coming weeks. Movin’ on up, so to speak, climbing the corporate ladder and, most of all, trying not to stuff it all up. Channeling my inner Peggy Olson. Lean in, Finn. LEAN IN.
The only thing is, the replacement we’ve hired to take over my current role won’t start for another week or so.
So, I’m in between. I’m in the nether zone, the airlock between the two jobs- quite literally between them. I have one hand doing my current job responsibilities, while the other is firmly planted in my new responsibilities. Half of my brain is juggling micro tasks, the other half macro problems. It makes my brain do flips sometimes, but it’s a good problem to have.
This rapid switching between micro and macro is a great workout for my head. Neuron aerobics, if you will. It also means that when I step away from the office, my brain is a little… tired. I end up sitting on the train home at the end of the day with my iPod in my ear falling deep, deep into la-la land. Sometimes I feel like my brain falls asleep but somehow I remain awake, similar to say- a black out drunk. All of a sudden I will be four stops past where I was supposed to get off and I have no idea where the last 10 minutes went. I was dozing so deeply in fantasy land, acting out conversations with handsome gentlemen in a world where I have a thigh gap and am deeply witty. And then that moment, that sickening moment- no, not the one where you realize you missed your stop (although that also sucks)- the one where you think “Oh my god, have I been talking to myself? Have I been so deep in my own head that I have been mouthing actual words?”
So, you look around the train… no one appears to be looking at you like you’re a nutbar, but then again this is Vancouver, people here are notoriously aloof and polite. Maybe I was mouthing words but without sound? That’s still sort of an unhinged thing to do. Ah jeez.
You lick your lips. Surely if you were mouthing words, your lips would be drier, right? Just look down at your iPhone, like everyone else. Even if you were talking to yourself, I’m sure no one noticed, they’re all so deeply entranced by Candy Crush. Shuffle songs- oooh, a Bond theme. Man, these songs can be pretty rough but honestly, I really like this one. I wonder what would have happened if I had joined CSIS after university instead of sticking around in Victoria for a silly boy. I probably wouldn’t have made a very good intelligence agent, even though I did totally rock that Forensic Psychology 400 level class. I’d probably just have a boring desk job, I wouldn’t be like a James Bond. Does Canada even have James Bonds? I feel like we don’t have the defense budget for that kind of stuff. Maybe that is just what Canada wants everyone to think? Maybe we’re the best spies ever because we’re so nice and sweet and no one ever suspects the Canadians. It’s all a ruse. I’d probably have to learn a bunch more languages. Okay, so I’m a CSIS field agent, and my French skills have somehow gotten 10 times better than they currently are because I’ve had the practice. Obviously, I have that aforementioned thigh gap, because I need to be in tip-top shape. For some reason being an agent also makes me hair a little thicker. In real life, I would probably be in the Middle East somewhere doing really dangerous stuff but that’s not very Bond movie, so let’s say I’m in… Lake Como. Yeah, and the Canadian government somehow has the money to put me up in a sweet chalet and dress me in fabulous clothes because I’m undercover as a nouveau riche socialite. I really don’t feel like the Canadian government would have the budget for this kind of stuff…
Oh my god. Have I been talking to myself again? Did I miss my stop AGAIN? Frick. God, I would make the worst spy.
Maybe I should just walk home, help clear my head. Walking is such good exercise, I bet if I walked everywhere my pants would fit better. I should walk the Camino like my mum did. And just think of all that amazing Spanish food along the way. I could eat and drink fabulously every night and not worry about a thing since I’d be walking like 30 kilometres a day. You can’t really have ear buds in on the Camino, can you. I mean, like, you can, but that would really defeat the purpose, wouldn’t it?
And so it goes… the mind wanders when it’s allowed to.
One of the best solutions to this, for me at least, is to cook. Cooking at the end of the day is a great meditation. I don’t need any music or TV in the background, it’s just me and my kitchen. Of course, there are only so many meals one can make in a day so I have also started baking. Baking! Me! The girl who doesn’t bake!
Something about methodically measuring ingredients, adhering to those detailed instructions, the chemistry of it all- it serves my mind in a totally different way than cooking does. Micro, macro, cooking, baking. It’s rounding out my neural pathways and making me, I hope, better, faster, stronger.
So now, at long last- the recipe. This lemon tart is 100% spring, it’s Springtime in a bite. I love the combination of lemon and fresh herbs (see here and here), the flavour combination always tastes so fresh.
This recipe requires very little active time but, like a lot of good baking, does require time– chilling time, freezing time, baking time. It’s all passive time, but it’s time nonetheless, so if you’re making it for Mother’s Day brunch this weekend, make it the night before!
Time… I wonder if time travel will ever be a thing. I mean, the overall implications of it would be pretty disastrous. But like, barring all the butterfly effect ramifications, when would I time travel to? Would there be handsome men there? Would I have a thigh gap?
|Marbled Lemon Thyme Tart|| |
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp unbleached flour
- 6 Tbsp cornmeal
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 large lemon, zested
- 6 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces,
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tbsp cold water
- 1 tsp unflavoured gelatin
- 6 egg yolks
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup plain yogurt
- Add flour, cornmeal, sugar, thyme, salt and lemon zest to a food processor and pulse until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand. Whisk together egg yolks and cold water in small bowl. With the food processor running on low, pour the egg mixture in, mixing just until a dough forms. Form the dough into a disk shape and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Roll the chilled dough out on a lightly floured surface and place in a 9" tart tray with a removable bottom. Gently press dough into the corners and slice away any excess so that the edges of the crust are level with the edge of the tart tray. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375. Using the tines of a fork, prick the bottom of the frozen dough several times. Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the crust and top with a mug of uncooked rice or dried beans- this will prevent the crust from bubbling up as it bakes. Bake for 15 minutes until the edges of the crust appear dry and are just starting to brown. Remove the foil and beans/rice and then bake for an additional 10-12 minutes until the crust turns golden. Cool completely on a wire rack.
- Now to make the filling. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt. Gradually whisk in the lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and whisk in the gelatin- make sure all the gelatin dissolves. A good way to test this is to dip a spoon into the filling- look at the back of the spoon, can you see gelatin granules? If so, keep whisking! Whisk in the butter, a few pieces at a time, until smooth and well incorporated. Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
- Spoon filling into cooled crust and let set for 5 minutes. Spoon yogurt over the filling and, using a wooden skewer or the tip of a knife, swirl into the lemony filling to create a marbleized effect. Refrigerate until filling is set- at least 4 hours or up to overnight.