It’s been a while since I sat down and wrote up a post hasn’t it? Fear not, I have a reason for my minor absence. I've been fairly busy as of lately. I recently finished up an article for the Kitchen Journals on Raspberries and celebrated the fourth of July with the family. Summer months are supposed to be made up of BBQ’s, carnival rides, senseless debauchery, and late night music in the parks. My summer has been far from that. I’ve been in an avid growth mode. My days have been spent cleaning, organizing for my new apartment, recipe developing, and website tweaking. I’ve been frivolously replying to emails, meeting with clients, updating the blog, and being on the phone until one AM with Yahoo tech support over domain issues. My summer has been spent tirelessly scrolling through page after page of analytics, searching for that sense of hidden truth, the niche I need to take my blog to the next level. A few months back I sat down and took a real hard look at myself in mirror and asked myself;
“What am I doing?”
I didn’t ask this question in an existential crisis sort of way, but rather in a hypothetical, what is TermiNatetor Kitchen way. These past few weeks, I’ve have been through a bit emotionally as a creator. I’ve had ups, and I’ve had downs. I’ve had triumphs and defeats. I’ve been in love with my work one minute and hated the sight of it the next. Though as a content creator, it’s my job to push through those thoughts and grow my brand in a way that reaches a wider, more diverse audience while still staying true to my authenticity. That’s what I’ve been doing. Emailing potential clients, getting my brand out into the local populous, and striving to make a name (and income) for myself. Gratefully, I do have some pretty exciting collaborations coming up in the months to come. Stay tuned for more updates on that.
With email after email sent, many were ignored, I feel into a silence. I was getting discouraged. Was my work even good enough? Did people even see the value in the content that I was producing? I fell into the endless pit known as doubt. As a creator, I fall into the pit of the doubt quite often. A botched recipe, a poor photo shoot, or when all I seem to write is gibberish, I find myself discouraged and view my work as lesser. Quickly and almost without restraint, I plunge headfirst into the world of self-loathing and insecurity. I feel like I’ve being devoured inward. The heart races and my body sweats. Chills echo through my spine and the heat of disapproval radiates through my pores. The monster of regret prowls softly behind. To cope, I start looking at other blogger’s work and ask;
“Why can’t I cook like that?”
“Why can’t I photograph like that?”
“Why can’t I write like that?”
“Why can’t I be like that?”
Stop. I think of the phrase; just stop. I take a long, deep breath, allowing the dark, hindering air to escape my body completely. Whenever I get into these tiffs, I find solace in stepping back, taking a breath, and beginning to rational think. I remind myself that I’m not perfect, and I never will be. I remind myself that I’m worth something. My quest for growth and understand is important. Am I at the professional blogger level with thousands of followers and brand deals left and right? No, or at least not yet. I remember that those bloggers too started from nothing. What did they do? They worked day after day tirelessly perfecting their craft, improving upon recipes, expanding their photographical knowledge, and growing with each new post. I’m still very new at all this. I’m constantly learning and being inspired. I will never grow if I never put myself out there and strive for growth. I must learn to love my work, all the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s the less than that will impact the greater than the most.
Rustic Balsamic Cherry & Basil Galette
Recipe adapted from the NY Times
The cherries were a gift from my Aunt. They received random shipments of fresh fruit after my cousin’s credit card got stolen. The thief had failed to change the address of the purchases and my cousin soon found baskets of seasonal fruits on his doorstep. Cherries were one of those items. My Aunt asks if my family wanted some, and I graciously accepted. I knew precisely what I was going to do with them. It was my first time attempting a Rustic Galette, and I have to say I was truly impressed. The crust was buttery, warm, and flakey with a subtle hint of lemon flavors. The basil added a fresh, out-of-the-garden flavor that highlighted the subtle sweetness of the cherries beautifully.
- 1 1/3 cups / 165 g all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon / 15 g sugar
- ½ teaspoon / 3 g salt
- 1 large egg
- Heavy cream, as needed
- 1 stick / 113 grams unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 teaspoons / 10 milliliters lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon / 4 grams lemon zest (optional, but recommended)
- 3 cups cherries, with the pits, removed
- ½ cup to ¾ cup / 125 g sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2 tablespoons basil, minced (optional)
- 4 to 5 tablespoons / 35 to 45 grams cornstarch
- For the crust: In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, or in a large bowl, pulse or mix flour, sugar, and salt. In a liquid measuring cup, lightly beat the egg, then add just enough cream to get to 1/3 cup. Lightly whisk the egg and cream together.
- Add cold butter to the flour mixture and pulse or use a pastry cutter or your fingers to break up the butter. You need chickpea-size chunks of butter. Drizzle the egg mixture (up to 1/4 cup) over the dough and pulse or stir until it just starts to come together but is still mostly large crumbs. Mix in lemon juice and zest.
- Put the dough on the lightly floured counter and form it until it comes together. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill for 2 hours, or up to 3 days (I refrigerated mine overnight). Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll the dough out into a 12-inch round (it can be ragged). Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and chill while preparing the filling.
- For the cherry filling: Toss together the cherries, all but a tablespoon of sugar, the salt, the lemon juice and zest, basil (if adding), and the cornstarch. Use more cornstarch for juicy stone fruit and less for blueberries, raspberries and figs. Pile fruit on the dough circle, leaving one 1/2-inch border. Gently fold the pastry over the fruit, pleating to hold it in (sloppy is fine). Brush pastry generously with leftover egg and cream mixture. Sprinkle remaining sugar on the crust.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the filling, bubbles up vigorously, and the crust is golden. Cool for at least 20 minutes on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.