Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Les Petites Tartlettes au Citron...for a birthday 'chez nous'








There are so many "firsts" in life.  We just passed another "first" of many that are happening this year as our first little bird flew the nest.  M. wouldn't be home with us for her birthday.  A sweet group of friends, whom I have never met, all took her out for dinner to celebrate her special day.

Birthdays, more so than other holidays, are big for me.  It is the one day a year that the birthday person gets sole focus.

It's that full day each year to remember and celebrate how much that one little soul that entered our family changed our world forever.





Fortunately for us, we were able to get her home for the following weekend and delight her with many of her favorites...not surprisingly...they were food related.

And as we all may remember, those "favorites" become so dearly missed when faced with college cafeteria food day in and day out.





I had been "pinteresting" her many proposed ideas for her birthday "cake".  I figured she wouldn't choose the traditional birthday cake with frosting, as she has always preferred simpler sweets.

She was my child who took those frosting laden cupcakes at birthday parties, flipped them over, and ate the cake part only. (I can assure you that tendency does NOT come from her mother)




I knew when I hit upon these sweet little lemon tartlettes she would love them.  I combined a couple of ideas into one...borrowing the tart crust recipe here, a filling recipe there, and the meringue topping idea from another spot.

Is there anything more fun than making "les tartlettes"? Yes, that is a rhetorical question.  How special to have one's own mini pie right there - so pretty and...all to oneself!





It's amusing at this stage of parenting to ponder how traditions come about and become defined as something not to be missed from year to year.

They start out as small occurrences...barely noticed.  Somehow, they get repeated a few times until special recipes, events, occurrences...become beautiful new traditions.




It's cute how siblings often reinforce traditions for the benefit of each other.  R. will often point out, "Oh, Mom...what about fixing her this...or doing that...like we have always done."  

"Really, have we always done that?"  I mused...realizing that without fully knowing it, we as a family have established our own unique traditions.





I can already predict there will be the "college years" traditions that I can already recognize.  The long drives back and forth from college establish pattens of favorite things to do along the drive.

Of course, Austin offers any number of fun spots to discover.  And we do have fun with that...but, for me, its the little roads off the main highway that call out to me.  





Each drive back and forth, I venture out farther and farther into the Texan countryside to discover what little pockets of life exist in the farm country.

Little roadside barbeque stops billow out their smoke while the intoxicating scent of beef roasts in black barrel smokers, handfuls of freshly gathered pecans are piled up to be bagged, and all sorts of jams and jellies are to be had...of course many with a dash of spiciness to complete that Texan twist.

I just came home with my favorite...fig preserves!






We've discovered the love of all things "kolache",  which is a Polish pastry with a variety of fruit fillings tucked inside.  We've also discovered that a kolache from this road side stop IS NOT the same as that other kolache stop...over there.

I'll definitely have to delve into the history of the kolache more and possibly feature this pastry here on 'thyme'.  A polish heritage that settled in Texas?  I must know more about these stories...  






All of these new foods we're sampling, I'm sure are being incorporated into our ever evolving panorama of yearly traditions that define our family.

Think about it...what are some things your family repeats year after year...whether you are living in the same location or have moved to a new one?  

From our time spent in Japan, my son always gives M. a little package of Japanese treats that we enjoyed while living in Japan.  

The package usually consists of seaweed wrapped/soy flavored crunchy snacks, Pocky sticks dipped in chocolate, and these little marshmallow balls filled with a sticky fruit filling.  

So, what yearly traditions do you have...that you may not even realize yet ARE traditions?  I'd love to hear them. Do you have a favorite food, restaurant, habit, event that seems to be repeating itself over and over again?










27 comments:

  1. What a gorgeous and dreamy post Sarah! I am loving it. I owe you an email ... with some ideas to your trip to Germany. But one thing you need to do is put Weimar and me on your itinerary ;)

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    1. Oh, no worries Meeta! We had a "house swap" request but we going to hold off on it. I hope your leg is healing quickly. It's good your next workshop is on home turf! Thank you for your sweet comments.

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  2. beautiful post Sarah. I agree birthdays are so special and so difficult when all our children have flown the nest, especially if we dont get to see them on or near their special day. Your tart looks delicious and a perfect treat for someone who's is not overly keen on frosting...I have one of those too :)

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    1. Thank you Lindsey. I adore frosting. I remember when I made it for the first time and realized the ingredients that go into it. Ew! Terrible for my body...but I still adore frosting!

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  3. magnific blog , thanks for tjis pictures.
    rugs from spain

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  4. What a wonderful question! Whenever we move to a new place (which is often, because my husband is a diplomat) we always make a batch of spaghetti and meatballs and one spice-laden Indian dinner. Then we know we're "home." Perhaps the garlic, onions, and cumin is our way of marking our territory ;)

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    1. How wonderfully interesting! You see, I love hearing these insights into what makes people's traditions...

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  5. Your photos and recipes are simply magnificent my friend :D
    And your post so elegantly expressed!

    Cheers
    CCU

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  6. Where do I start? your photos keep getting better and better and those little tarts look sublime. I wish I could taste them. Maybe I should just go ahead and make them. I can't think of any traditions right now, but every Easter break, I am making it a point to take a day off and go on a little 'adventure' with my son. Just him and I. We usually have a blast.

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    1. Perfect. An adventure with your son. Our road trip with just me and the kids will continue again this summer...possibly a new tradition...can't wait to you hear what you do with the little guy.

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  7. What lovely little tarts. As you probably know, I have a particular soft spot for tarts and love having my own individual tart. I will have to think about the family traditions I am creating as opposed to those I am carrying through from my parents.

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    1. I'll bet once you sit down and think about it,you will have all sorts of traditions you didn't realize. Better yet, ask your son what he thinks are your family traditions!

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  8. Such a pretty pretty post! The tarts look lovely! I find such comfort in traditions. One of my favorites is on La Domestique tonight- baking Irish soda bread! On a side note, I remember seeing a lot of kolache shops when I lived in Houston, so you've got to get to the root of this kolache Texas phenomenon.

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    1. Me too. I need to make some Irish soda bread. I'll have to pin your recipe! Don't worry...I am on the kolache history hunt....what an odd tradition for Texas!

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    2. ....and....I've just read your exciting news!! Congratulations!!

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  9. I love anything citrus! I lived in Austin for several years decades ago (my son was born there) and did grad work at UT - is this where your daughter is? Ice-cream sundaes for breakfast the first day of summer - a tradition that was born many years ago.

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    1. Ice Cream sundaes for breakfast the first day of summer. YOU WIN! That is fabulous and I'll bet no one in your family let's you forget that awesome one. (And...Yes, U.T. is it.)

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  10. This is such a lovely post, Sarah! Tartlets are my favorite dessert to make and to eat--and perfect for the nontraditional cupcake eater! I love how traditions come about and how they even change over time as our lives change. Since moving away from home, I have my little traditions when I go back--like having an egg salad sandwich and cookies and cream milkshake at the old fashioned ice cream store on the square of my hometown. It makes me feel like a kid again!

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    1. Thank goodness I just ate lunch. Because, an egg salad sandwich with a cookies and cream milkshake sounds...divine. And the setting of your tradition sounds...splendid.

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  11. Stunning photos, as always, Sarah! I just get lost in your posts! Your daughter is so lucky to have you and be treated so specially!

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  12. Gorgeous photos and tarts! Love lemon curd. Wish your daughter a Happy Birthday for me!

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  13. Ah...I loved this post! Those photos are a feast for the eyes! ha. I'll take 2 tartlettes, the coin purse and the earrings, please! lol....

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    1. Betsy, I'm thinking of swiping her coin purse for myself, too. It is vintage japanese fabric pre-purposed into a coin purse.

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  14. Ahh, now this is what I'm talking about!!
    I can almost taste the tang of lemon on my tongue!

    Wishing your beautiful daughter a very happy (and wee bit belated) birthday!
    (let her know that I will gladly take the frosting off her hands.. just trying to be helpful...wouldn't want it to go to waste ;)

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  15. Dear dear Sarah, I wish more people could see the world through your lends, through your eyes.

    I love this post - the gorgeous barbeque and oh you made me miss buttermilk pie - I must post this soon!

    And these tarlettes, they are perfection itself. M is lucky to have you and you her. Belated happy Birthday to M and btw the caramlzed meringue brings me to my knees!

    hugs!
    Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

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  16. Do I like your post? No, I LOVE it with all my heart. I enjoyed and appreciated every photograph you took! Thank you! Details are amazing.

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  17. Gorgeous tartlets! Would love to make these some day so I'm pinning these!

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How wonderful to hear from new friends...