19 April 2011

an unexpected night off and pie crust

Tuesday nights are taken nights. I have a rotating schedule of evening activities, and Tuesday night is small group.

But it's Holy Week right now, and my small group decided to take a holy break, leaving me with a somewhat unexpected night off.

Does this happen to you? You find yourself with a few free hours—hours you didn't expect to have to yourself—and you suddenly feel like you've found a weekend oasis in the midst of the week. You start planning restful things to do, but then you realize that you're trying to cram too much into your oasis.

With all your thoughts of cleaning and writing and reading and phone calls with far-away friends, it's getting a little crowded, and you can't seem to reach the refreshing water in the oasis. Why do we do this to ourselves?

I'm familiar with my crowded oasis challenge, so with tonight's unexpected night off, I decided to do one restful thing, not 12.

And to limit the temptation to do more, I made that one restful thing a multi-step project, which may sound like the opposite of restful, but here's how my mind works: if I do one thing that takes a long time, then I won't be tempted to do many things that take a little time. I'll be focused.

Multi-tasking is not always good. One multi-step project is sometimes better. {And at other times, no project, no agenda, no schedule is the best.}

My multi-step project for tonight was a goat cheese tart, and I needed the process and the method and the structure of cooking to help me relax.

Mostly, I needed the crust.

There's something so astounding and reliable and forgiving about making your own crust.

Throw a cup-and-a-half of flour, a stick-and-a-half of butter, some salt, and some cold water together and you get this...experience.

It's an experience of worrying if it's going to turn out well—as you try to get the butter into pea-size chunks, there are moments of thinking, 'Am I doing this right?'

And then you realize that you're doing the best you can. You started with the right ingredients and besides, regardless of what you do and how big your pea-sized chunks are before you roll the dough out, the butter and flour will combine. They always do.

I had this very peaceful moment tonight as I fit the crust into the tart pan. It was lopsided, so one side had extra hanging over the edge and the other side {not that there are sides in a round tart pan, but you know what I mean} was sadly missing dough.

I tried readjusting the crust, which caused a schism in the bottom, leaving me with a holy, no, I mean holey, crust.

That was not what I expected when I started this unexpected evening off.

But crust, as I said before, is forgiving. I pulled off some of the hanging-over crust and smooshed it into the bottom. I spread out the crust with my fist, giving it the look of gentle waves in a bay.

I know my crust wasn't perfect. I know I probably limited the flakiness of it by smooshing it down.

But I also know that when I go to bed tonight, my apartment will still smell like this goat cheese tart, and even though the bottom is wavy, it will smell just as I expected: like comfort and peace and calm.

1 comment:

  1. so very true! when i find myself with unexpected free time i usually eat. uncontrollably. everything in sight. it's a bad habit. :)



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