in the midst

I’m sitting in a sunbeam, herbal tea in my hand and on the stove, a pot of earl grey waiting shyly beside the espresso machine. This morning, I watered the garden and watched swallows and starlings dive through endless blue.

Yesterday I got the laundry dry and hauled in just as another rainstorm blew in. There is a great satisfaction in sitting on the bed with a pile of sun-warmed clothes and a sleepy cat as rain pounds the grass flat outside the darkened window. I made an accidental discovery that I’ll share with you because it was glorious. I like to heat milk for my coffee in a steel measuring cup on the stove. Sometimes I leave it too long and it boils over in a stinky mess. Yesterday I caught it just as the foam was rising, and voila, hot frothed milk for a latte. This is delicate business though, and must be watched.

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I have some catching up to do. Here is Friday:

I think it’s alright to feel a little bit sad on mornings when the sun doesn’t come out. The sky feels heavy today. It is the sort of day that I want to keep for myself, to drink tea and make art and bake pie.

This evening, a spontaneous sandwich dinner on a rainy walk. We walked down to the ocean, into which sky and mountains dissolve in this kind of weather, under the droplets. The water was slate and churned turquoise blue-green, the setting sun somewhere giving the rocks a golden glow. Walking through sheets of rain, water all around, the light faded as we followed the path and bridges over into the Garry oak meadow on the point, blue-violet camas flowers in long grass and the lights of the city across the water. Darker now, the water still shone blue, a deep almost-iridescence. Streetlights illuminated pale old Garry oak trunks and the pathway, and caught on a circle of raindrops like tiny meteors. Lit-up forest and tall grass, deep blue water, rain falling illuminated all around us, and us in the midst of this.

I was playing with a recipe for rhubarb custard pie. It still needs some tweaking but since you might have rhubarb now (?!), I’m including it as a starting point.

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Experimental Pastry
1/2 c each of almond meal, kamut flour and AP flour
1/2 c butter, chilled and cut into cubes (I tend to cube this before doing the dry ingredients and stick it in the freezer for a few minutes until needed.)
1/2 tsp each of salt and cardamom
1/4 tsp each of vanilla and almond extracts
2 tbsp vanilla sugar (or just nice natural cane sugar)
2 tsp to 1 tbsp lemon juice (I used 1 tbsp and the dough tasted kind of sour but once baked it was good, however I might use less next time.)
1/4 cup ice-cold water (I put my water- usually more than called for, just in case- in the freezer before I assemble my other ingredients so that it’s nice and cold by the time I’m ready for it.)
Mix dry ingredients with a fork. Cut in butter. Add wet ingredients all at once and mix with a fork just until it comes together. Chill dough in fridge for an hour before rolling it out.

Rhubarb Custard Pie
a generous 1 1/2 quarts rhubarb, cut up (just use however much fits nicely in your pie dish)
1 1/2 cups table cream (I also made this successfully with 1 can of full-fat coconut milk)
1 1/2 cups sugar (if making this with something less tart than rhubarb definitely reduce the sugar)
2/3 cup flour
a solid pinch of nice quality salt
(Vanilla extract or the contents of a split and scraped vanilla bean would be a nice addition too)
Stir together sugar, flour and salt with a whisk. Add cream and beat until smooth. Put rhubarb into an unbaked pie shell. Pour sugar mixture over the rhubarb. Bake at 400º for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350º and continue baking until custard is set (thickened, glossy, skewer comes out clean), about 40 minutes to an hour or so.

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