Well, hello, dear readers. Fancy seeing you still here. I know I’ve been a very bad food blogger lately. My posts are sporadic and not very interesting, recipes are few and far between, and there’s hardly any swearing at all. What gives?
OK, I’ll come clean. I’ve decided to retire Food on the Food.
I’ve been wrestling with this for a while. This is my 10th year blogging, and that’s an eternity in internet years. In fact, it’s the longest job I’ve ever had. It was also my favorite job. Sure, the pay stunk, but what else is new? Instead of raking in the dough, I raked in the doughnuts. There’s something to be said for alternative currencies.
When I first started FotF, I was a brand new parent grappling with my untested role as a mother while trying to conserve a piece of my pre-mom psyche. This blog was my sole creative outlet, a place to experiment with my writing, my food, and myself. It always made me feel free. Writing is a somewhat selfish act for me, so I was surprised when other people starting reading too. I really enjoyed this newfound audience—any writer would—but the truth is I still would have written for an audience of one.
Over the years, the blog saw me through some tough times. It also brought incredible opportunities my way, like the chance to write a cookbook, which I enthusiastically embraced (and then another book). I got to be on NPR's All Things Considered. And I wrote a cover story for Fine Cooking magazine. It also brought me the chance to be on a Food Network reality show, which I declined. (That's just not me no matter how you slice it.)
Now I find myself in the role of a more experienced parent, author, cook, teacher, and, against all odds, gardener. More things are competing for my attention now, and I feel like I need to let go of some of the old in order to experience more of the new. And I know this is weird coming from the girl who hates change, but change is coming whether I like it or not. It’s time.
I’m excited to find out what’s next. I hope to write lots of new stories in new ways. Maybe not about food. Maybe further afield. I don’t have any idea what the future holds, but I’m going to keep an open mind. I was very lucky to be able to do what I love for 10 years, and there’s no reason to believe I won’t continue to do what I love for 10 more. I’ll keep the blog up and searchable for the foreseeable future, so don’t panic if you haven’t printed out your favorite recipes yet (but don’t wait too long!). Below is the last recipe I’ll post. It’s a favorite of mine, and hopefully it will become one of yours too.
Thanks so much for reading, whether it was for all 10 years or just the past 10 seconds. I enjoyed sharing my life with you (from a safe distance). I hope you all continue to cook, read, and live joyfully. Maybe drop me a line sometime and let me know how you’re doing. Life is short. Make it count. And eat well!
Grapefruit Meyer Lemon Tartlets with Rosemary Crust
I axed this recipe from my cookbook and regretted it ever since. The problem was that the grapefruit filling as written wouldn’t set up firmly enough to cut into bars or pie slices. When I changed the chemistry to make it thicker, that diminished the flavor or gave it an unwelcome mouthfeel. But it sets up fine for small, individual tartlets, and I just can’t resist the luscious texture and bright, complex flavor. I still dream about them. So I dug the recipe out of the attic and brought it back into the light where it belongs. It makes about a dozen. Oh, and save the egg whites in the freezer for rhubarb pavlovas. Enjoy!
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
Zest of 2 grapefruits
Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
1 1/4 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (about 2 medium grapefruits)
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon
4 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter fluted tartlet pans or muffin pans.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or an electric mixer), cream the butter and confectioner’s sugar for 1-2 minutes until creamy, starting on low speed and increasing to medium. Add the flour, rosemary, and salt, and mix. The dough will start out sandy, then progress to small clumps, and then bind into a clumpy dough.
With your hands, form the dough into balls about the size of golf balls. Flatten them into thick disks with the palm of your hand and press them into your tartlet or muffin pans, pressing the dough at least an inch up the sides, more if you can. Poke holes in the bottom crust with a fork so it doesn’t puff up too much in the oven. Bake about 20-22 minutes, until the edges just start to turn golden. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt until no lumps remain. Rub the grapefruit and lemon zest into the mixture with your fingers until moist, fragrant, and well distributed. Whisk in the grapefruit and lemon juice. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking all the while, until the mixture thickens and bubbles to a boil, 5-10 minutes depending on your burner. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat.
Set a wire-mesh strainer with medium holes over a large bowl and set aside. Whisk the egg yolks together in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle about 1/3 cup of the hot citrus mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly. This tempers the yolks to prevent them from scrambling when added to the hot mixture in the pot. Whisk the yolk mixture into the pot, little by little.
Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat, then turn the heat down to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, one piece at a time, until it melts and incorporates. Pour the mixture through the wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, using a rubber scraper to press it through. Be sure to scrape as much filling from the bottom of the strainer as possible.
Remove the cooled crusts from their pans. Spoon the grapefruit filling into the tart shells. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving.