Full disclosure: this is my first summer with a 40 hour-a-week job. Last summer, I was planning my wedding and European honeymoon adventure, and then I was enrolled and about to start a graduate program in the fall. So, over the summer months I spent some time waiting for school to start (during which I watched every single episode of Gilmore Girls on Netflix. Where have you been all my life?!), before finally deciding that, nope, I’m ready to move on from school and start working a real job (not that school isn’t a real job. Hi Jonathan).
Living in the Bay Area and NOT working in tech is kind of a rare thing. This is the hub for tech majors and STEM subjects. We’ve got Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Ebay, SAP, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. And Stanford, school-of-the-startups, right down the street. Jon and I like to play spot-the-Tesla when we’re driving around the neighborhood. I ride the train to get the work, and almost everyone connects to their company’s wireless VPN and begins their morning conference calls.
Getting used to this pace of life has been a little difficult, I must confess. On one hand, I like actually having a weekend. No homework to speak of. But on the other, I do miss 3 p.m. naptime and writing essays (wow, I never thought I would say that!). To be perfectly honest, sometimes it’s hard for me to finish books I’m reading for fun in a timely manner, because there’s no deadline!
One thing I do quite appreciate about the summer, even though now I don’t get many of the days off, is that other people tend to come visit us whom we don’t usually see during the year. My sister-in-law and bestie Jen came over this weekend, and we attempted to work on a recipe together with the abundance of figs that are available this season.
Last year, I was officially introduced to fig season at the end of the summer. And now, and forever, I can assure you, I will go a little fig-crazy every pre-fall season. They are so amazingly sweet and delicious, and go SO well in baked goods. However, in our first attempt, Jen and I experimented with a fig ice cream concoction, which utterly failed (I will only say, I do NOT advise using an entire can of sweetened condensed milk in place of heavy whipping cream when you make ice cream).
This beautiful, fall-welcoming galette recipe was one I thought up spur-of-the-moment, and was confident I wouldn’t ruin. I was inspired by what we found at the farmer’s market that morning; a practice I highly encourage. Go to farmer’s markets without grocery lists, and sort of just see what happens. In this case, I made a delicious galette with some sour Damson plums. The farmer selling them said would “bake beautifully” and boy, do they ever. That being said, I do think that this recipe would taste just fine with regular sugar plums (and in that case, I would decrease the amount of sugar by one tablespoon) but I love the delicious tartness of this dessert, and it’s even more perfect with some vanilla ice cream.
I started out with Martha Stewart’s classic pate brisee recipe for the crust, but tweaked it to include buttermilk, which I’ve had leftover in my fridge for a week or more now, and am desperately trying not to waste. My secret to a flaky crust, is creating the layers myself. I made enough crust for a double crust pie, but folded one layer over the other. This makes the crust a bit more dense, so be sure to really flatten it out. It will bake into a nice, thicker, flaky crust, if you are sure never to over-mix the dough and refrigerate in-between steps. Happy end-of-summer and early fall to all!