September 14, 2005

gorging on rustic tarts

So many tarts, so little time...

I had my first cooking class today and it went better than I thought it would. However, keep in mind that I thought I'd somehow be responsible for the explosion of a stove or a whole baking pan of burnt rustic tarts. And for some reason, the tarts would also explode. Then Satan would appear and say, "Whoa, this place looks worse than Hell," and laugh at me. I'd also have a stick of butter in my hair for some reason, probably from the explosion...

Each group in my class (called "advanced foods"; what a misnomer, or else I'd surely fail with a D, meaning "DOOMED") had to make some rustic tarts (which have a French name that I can't remember right now) and improvise stuff made of phyllo dough. I got to chop up some pears and wrap them in dough. YES! I'M...SO NOT SKILLED, but that's alright. Never having worked with phyllo before, it was interesting to handle. You take the thinner-than-paper-thin sheets, brush them with butter so they look like transluscent wrappers than once held deep fried fast food, repeat with at least one other layer, and then do stuff, which in my case meant make a bunch of triangle pounches with chopped pears (we had lots of pears) and sugar. Not very creative, but kind of fun, like arts and crafts using phyllo dough, sugar, and anything else lying around in the kitchen (some other groups used chocolate and nuts).

rustic pear tart
rustic pear tart, made by my group
nectarine tarts
another group's tarts

The rustic tarts, which were like pizzas made of pastry dough and filled with fruit, with the crust folded over (check out Honey's beautiful strawberry and pear tart), were very easy to make! I suck at making pie-esque dough, but this one came out alright, even though it was dry at first. If I actually made these at home, I don't think I'd make much else. :O Hence, I won't. We made one large pear tart and two smaller ones. They didn't come out amazingly delicious (we tossed the pears with vanilla beans, sugar, and lemon juice, but I don't think we used enough since you couldn't taste any of the flavors that well), but they were good enough so that I stuffed myself with a lot of them.

...actually, I stuffed myself with a crapload of tart-esque things. You don't want to know. But I'll tell you anyway, of course.


After all the groups presented their various tarts and phyllo creations, we got to eat them. (People were apprehensive until the teacher insisted we dig in. I was just staring blankly at the legion of golden crusted pastries laid before me.) I didn't get to eat too much at first since I had to sweep up the floor, but after I was done sweeping and most people had left, I saw the MOUNTAIN OF LEFTOVER PASTRIES! Yes. Mountain. A really flat mountain, but still a good amount of food that could feed a group of hungry college students. Something inside me wimpered.

Robyn, you must give these pastries a home. In your belly, preferably.

Shall do! Conveniently, I forgot about that "no grain" policy I made up (if you must know, I'm a little wheezy right now, *sigh*) in lieu of eating something I actually made, somewhat. In typical Robyn fashion, I ended up taking a lot of the extras home, although there were still loads of leftovers that are now probably sitting in a garbage bin somewhere (THE HORROR!). Since I was the last person in the kitchen packing my chef things (and, you know...leftovers), I chatted with my teacher and informed her of my non-cooking abilities. She's patient, funny, helpful, and all around a great teacher. Hopefully she'll have pity on me and I won't fail. ;)

I didn't eat all of these, honest!

Oh yeah, I gorged on the leftovers. And I mean...gorged. One moment I'd be holding a piece of blueberry tart in my hand (the tart shivering in its dough, knowing very well of its impending doom) and a minute later, a chewed up tart bolus would be travelling down my esophagus and mingling with my digestive juices in a fruit-filled party of low-pH substances (complete with laser lights; the acid party does not disappoint). It was really good, until I became semi-full. But then I'd wait, ye know, 5 minutes and go at it again.

It's a good thing I didn't dump all the extra tarts and phyllo pastries in my bag or else I wouldn't even be able to move right now. My bag would also be stained with blueberry juices. Not a pretty sight.

So today was "the gorging of the tarts". Yesterday was "the gorging of the fruits and the yogurt and panchan", which was much less fun than the tart-gorging. I don't know what was wrong with me yesterday but I kept feeling hungry. I have a feeling it has to do with the lack of starchy substances (aka "the substance that makes people happy and is conveniently legal"), but I didn't have any on me at the time. No grains, no tubers. Doh. For dinner yesterday I think I ate two nectarines, a bunch of grapes, a 7 ounce container of Greek yogurt with some honey, some sesame seeds and honey (at first I was just eating sesame seeds with a spoon, but the honey made it more palatable), a small container of spicy marinated cucumber, and another container of seasoned mung bean sprouts, both from M2M (I know "container" isn't very specific, but they're the small, pretend you know what I'm talking about). Try to imagine that whole list of food I just gave you in one huge bowl; STOMACHS AREN'T EVEN THAT LARGE! What the hell? I think it took me more than two hours to eat all that food, just munchin' along, increasing my girth, and ignoring the sin of gluttony because I'm not religious.

If you're wondering, yesterday I had a peach and a nectarine for breakfast and some bread for lunch. And by some bread, I mean less than a slice; it was leftover from my friend's sandwich that she got from Starbucks. HAHAHA. That's so wrong. In case you haven't caught on yet, I'm a good example of what is known as "pathetic".

Actually, I didn't really ignore the sin of gluttony. By the end of yesterday, I felt bad about my eating habits and wondered if the satiety buzzer in my brain had gotten smashed by some disgruntled tumor begat by a muffin. "Why did I eat all that food? Why didn't I feel satisfied? WHY IS YOGURT SOOO GOOOD?" I just need to teach myself to eat less, obviously, but it's easier said than done. I couldn't tell you how many people have asked, "Why don't you eat less food?" No, really? Holy crap, I didn't know that! Thank you, for you truly have inspired me to try that "eating less" thing RIGHT NOW.

...AFTER I FINISH THIS 9" PIE TOPPED WITH WHIPPED CREAM. (Just kidding, I've never eaten an entire pie. But I probably could.)

I have no idea what I'm going to eat tomorrow, but I should keep it non-wheaty and non-girth-increasing. But I know I'm going to break those rules because I still have a tart left in the fridge (rather amazing I didn't eat it yet, but I did ingest 34020094.123 calories in buttery crust today).

On a non-gorging matter, as anyone noticed my lack of food descriptions? As in, how things taste and whatnot? People have suggested that I go into some kind of food critic writing field (because I have absolutely no idea what I'd do with a B.S. in food studies and writing seems like THE FUN) but it's rather difficult for someone who doesn't even describe food beyond, "It was good; give me more." While I like reading other people's descriptions of food, I'm not big on actually writing them. Also, you can't be a critic if you like almost everything, figuring the ingredients aren't unpronouncable chemicals and are non-toxic beyond a doubt.

Posted by roboppy at 11:56 PM



Did you mean galettes?

Those look GORGEOUS. I would've done the same thing, except I would have taken some home too!

Oh and I know someone who ate an entire box of doughnuts (a dozen) in a day. We couldn't believe it at first and had to ask her, and no, I'm not referring to myself right there. :D

Posted by: Mel at September 15, 2005 1:32 AM [#]

That sounds like a pretty complicated recipe for your first cooking class! I've never worked with phyllo either, but I want to. Oh, and I'm glad that Satan did not appear in front of you! :)

Posted by: Beth - The Zen Foodist at September 15, 2005 2:34 AM [#]

leftover tarts?! i wish my classes had leftover guys should donate the leftovers to some soup kitchen or something.

Posted by: Amy at September 15, 2005 7:53 AM [#]

i like the way you write. you don't have to get into the description of the actual taste of it, you do a great job of describing your reaction to it without it. frankly, don't go down that road--you'll be stuck like me with describing everything as "fresh" and "full of flavour" which is just a crap-out for "i dunno, it was good." just do the thing you do so well :)

Posted by: santos. at September 15, 2005 9:39 AM [#]

RAORGH! i TOTALLY majored in the wrong thing. if everybody engaged in pastry wars and not war wars, it would be in an infinitely better world.

Posted by: janet at September 15, 2005 12:52 PM [#]

"has anyone noticed my lack of food descriptions"

Know what you mean, I'm always reminded of the Frank Zappa quote about "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." I know what yoghurt tastes like and I enjoy how you get there, besides you use begat and legion. Thumbs up.

Posted by: anthony at September 15, 2005 7:13 PM [#]

Great pictures - love how you wrote about what happened. The tarts look amazing!

Posted by: Joe @ Culinary in the Desert at September 16, 2005 11:11 PM [#]

wow - these look amazing! you are doing such a cool course - wish i did a food major like you!

and i really love your style of writing and photography. and dun talk yourself down... your fooding adventures are so cool!

Posted by: saffron at September 17, 2005 1:05 AM [#]

All those tarts looked really professional. If I were in your shoes, I would've tried to finish all of it too.. heh.

That reminds me of the time that one of my roommates worked at a coffee shop and he got to bring home all the leftover pasteries after the shop closed. We all gorged. :)

Posted by: Wei-yang Wu at September 17, 2005 7:21 PM [#]

Where is the pear tart recipe?

Posted by: Maryann at November 28, 2008 9:32 AM [#]

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previous entries

» 06/20/15: Bye, Taipei, and Thanks for the Despair Juice

» 11/17/14: Visiting Seoul from November 23 to 30

» 11/10/14: Thank You, Cafe Kuroshio, For Pulling Me Out of "I Don't Know How to Chinese" Dumpsville

» 08/27/14: How to Throw a Surprise Birthday Party (From Someone Who Has Been Surprised Too Many Times)

» 07/10/14: Everything I Ate During Istanbul Eats' Six-Hour Food Tour

» 06/07/14: Good-Bye, Serious Eats and NYC; Hello, Unemployment and Taipei!

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» 04/28/14: A Random Conversation About Hot Loose Apples

» 03/19/14: Taipei 2011, Day 5: Mussels, Fried Oysters, and Extreme Soft Serve in Danshui

» 03/09/14: Taipei 2011, Day 4: Keelung River Bikeway, TAS, Beef "Pie," and Din Tai Fung

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