Friday, February 8, 2008

Is Spring Here Yet?

Fruit cups window boxes
Flowers Overhead Squash Lattice

Since it finally stopped raining here on the central coast of California, the 50 degree temperatures have almost felt tropical. And the more the brown hills turn to shades of green, the more I am looking forward to Spring making its arrival. Oh Spring, with your fresh fruits and veggies, your outdoor picnics, your colorful blooming flowers, and your warm, sunny skies...why can't you get here faster?

I have a feeling we're going to be waiting a little bit longer for those days, though.

Until then, I will live vicariously through Martha Stewart and her newest special issue publication, Outdoor Living.

Here are some highlights...
Make sure to check out the magazine itself - it is definitely worth picking up for the gardening advice and recipes alone!

I cannot wait to make the Strawberry Tartlets. They are such a warm weather treat...


Makes 6 four-inch tarts

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon ice water, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 pounds (2 pints) fresh strawberries, hulled, washed, and halved or quartered if large
  • 2 cups creme fraiche


  1. Place the flour, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add butter, and process until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together egg yolk and ice water. With machine running, add egg mixture in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube. Process until dough just holds together, about 20 seconds. If dough feels dry, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Divide the dough evenly among six 4-inch tartlet pans; gently press into pans. Prick bottoms with a fork. Refrigerate shells until firm to the touch, at least 30 minutes.
  4. Line each shell with foil, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Place tar pans on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until the edges just begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights. Continue to bake until bottom of crust is golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely. Remove shells from pans.
  5. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix strawberries with remaining 3 tablespoons sugar. Cover with plastic wrap, and let macerate until juicy, about 1 hour.
  6. When ready to serve, fill each tart shell with about 1/3 cup creme fraiche; divide strawberries evenly among tarts.

*images from

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