Over the 5 years that I worked in the bakery at our local grocery store I made about 1,000 fruit tarts. They were seriously a customer favorite. We didn't really make them from scratch and over the years the process and style of the tarts changed and evolved. No matter the version, they essentially consisted of a pastry crust, filled with vanilla custard and topped with fresh fruit and glaze. In making the tarts my job was one of assembly: putting together pre-made parts and topping with fruit. As you can imagine, by the time I left the bakery I was fruit-tarted out. If I never halved another strawberry or peeled another kiwi it was fine by me. I was D-O-N-E. Donezo, fo show!
Now, believe it or not, in all that time at the bakery, I had never actually had a fruit tart. Never tasted one in spite of the 1,000 tarts I had made. Not that I don't like fruit, or vanilla custard, or pastry. Totes like all those things, its just that other stuff in the dessert case appealed to me more. I'd always go for the slab of chocolate cake, the fudge topped eclaire or a luscious lemon pie. Seriously, why waste dessert calories on fruit? I'm not crazy. And then I finally had a slice. Pretty yummy. Fresh and fruity, vanilla-y and custardy and a cookie crust to boot. Why had I not tried one before? Why had I not made one before. They're easy to make (although lots of steps) and impressive. Silly me.
Now, first things first. For a good fruit tart, you need to start with a good crust. . .
(Note: I doubled the recipe so quantities in the pictures are twice what the recipe calls for. This dough will freeze pretty much indefinitely and it's nice to have on hand next time you want to make a tart.)
A couple of months ago I bought a jar of coconut oil at Trader Joe's. It was sitting out on an "impulse" display and I got suckered. It looked interesting. Plus, I'd be reading and hearing all sorts of bru-ha-ha about the miracle of coconut oil. I wasn't sure what I was going to use it for: to wash my hair, to try oil pulling, as a dietary supplement, cook with it, make a face scrub or bla bla bla. Apparently there are about a million different things that you can use coconut oil for and if you believe everything you read, it'll pretty much cure whatever ails you. WOW, this stuff is a miracle in a jar. I'm gunna save the world with this stuff, or at least my family. Look out, I'm armed with coconut oil, and not afraid to use it. . .
And then it sat, for about 6 months, in my pantry, unused. I didn't save the world, or my family. We're the same old family we were before I bought it. And, ya know, that's my life sometimes, lots of good intention and no time for follow through. Whatcha gunna do?
Then, on Pinterest, I came across a beautiful picture of Soft Batch Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies. So I retrieved the coconut oil from the far corner of my pantry, dusted it off, checked the "best by" date (whew, just in time) and decided to try making these cookies. . .
At heart, I'm a meat and 'taters kind of gal. What's "'taters" you ask? "Po-ta-toes, ya know, boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew." (extra points if you can name the movie quote.)* I just like, er, love potatoes. In all their configurations: mashed, roasted, baked, boiled, hash browned, O'Brianed, tater totted, French fried, scalloped. And any variety, baby new, russet, fingerling, Yukon Gold. The list goes on and on. Whenever I discover a new way to make potatoes I'm game. Seriously, the more ways I have to serve potatoes, the more meals I can serve them at and still have variety.
When I saw a recipe for Roasted Parmesan Potatoes on Pinterest, I couldn't try it fast enough. It looked super easy and super yummy so I gave it a whirl. . .