Monday, June 18, 2012

Whole Lotta Love

Things I'm loving this week...cupcakes for two, with sprinkles...that we've had three days in a row.

Pollen-covered bees.

Tiny bouquets made up of flowers from the garden.

"Things" that resemble other "things", like seed pods that look like pointy-hatted gnomes...

 ...and this emerging fennel umbel that resembles an acrobat, twisting backward to grasp a pole.  Do you see it?

Also grown from seed.

Color...lots of color.

When a plan comes a walkway bordered by feathery cosmos that are just starting to open up.  

Yard sales this handmade miniature covered bridge I found for $5.00.

I love doll-free dollhouses and the tiny wooden furniture inside.  One day I will indulge that love, but for now I'll stick to this miniature covered bridge, which may become a trailing shade plant holder, or a bird feeder...or maybe just something to sit on a shelf and admire.  It's got both puppy and kitty seals of approval.

Another $5.00 steal...this was the price for three vintage wooden dough bowls found at Goodwill recently.  Not $5 each...a total of $5 for all three bowls.

They were in pretty rough condition.  Lots of scratches.

Because my arms are usually aching from the gym, I slowly sanded them down over time.

Then I used mineral oil to bring out the natural beauty of the wood.

It's a beauty, isn't it?  I found other, nearly identical vintage wooden dough bowls online ranging in price from $35 - $250 -  per bowl.  

In the midst of so many good deals, I've been feeling a bit guilty for paying full price for some items that I don't even my tart pans.

I decided to make mini fruit tarts this past week, to assuage my guilt...and because they're so tasty.  I don't use a set recipe for all depends upon what you like.

I mixed up my preferred recipe for pie dough (Smitten Kitchen's all-butter pie dough) and placed the  dough in the refrigerator to chill.  I preheated the oven to 350, greased my tart pans, and placed them on a cookie sheet in case of mid-cooking spillage.

Once my dough was chilled (to be honest, I only chill mine for 15 - 30 minutes), I rolled it out on a floured surface and used a tart tin to cut out the pie bottoms.

Of course, this only makes enough dough to cover the bottom of your tins.  

I took leftover dough, sliced it with a pizza cutter, and made sides for each tart.  

An alternative is to just cut a larger circle of dough that covers bottom and sides all at once.  That's the easiest way...I just wasn't thinking when I was making these!  But this method worked just fine and didn't take much more time.  

This is just a miniature version of my favorite three-berry pie.  I measured about 3/4 cup sugar and mixed in 2 tablespoons of corn starch.  I stirred this mixture into 3 cups of frozen fruit, and spooned it into my tart containers.

Since I just threw these together, I didn't pay much attention to time...I just baked these until the crusts were golden...around 20 minutes, I think!  

The tarts are a bit runny when they come out of the oven...

...but they firm up as they cool.

These can be whipped up in no time and it's a perfect summer snack.  Great for picnics!  Each tart is equivalent to a half piece of pie, so it's a small, guilt-free indulgence.