I recently learned about something called our "aspirational selves". These are our selves who put foreign films and documentaries on our Netflix list, but never feel like watching them; or buy nicer clothes than we would normally ever really hope to wear; or perhaps save that rather complicated recipe intending to make it when you have more time. Your aspirational self really wants to believe that you will watch those cerebral films, and that you will be the sort of person who gets invited to some shin dig where you can don your fancy duds, and just knows that someday you will make that souffle.
Stella (the snowstorm, not character in the famous Tennessee Williams play) hit New England on Pi Day, so we got a day off of work, and I took the time to assess my culinary aspirations. One of the things I notice is that James and I like the idea of fresh fruits and vegetables more than we actually like to eat them. Sometimes I pick recipes based on ingredients we have so that I can use what we bought but didn't eat, and sometimes I pick the recipe and then buy only the ingredients I need so that we don't end up with a lot of stuff we really don't intend to eat. Recently we fell victims to my sister's aspirations. When she arrived for a much anticipated visit we went to the store to buy food she would like -this included carrots and celery. I am no stranger to the carrots and celery aspiration. I have bought both on several occasions with the full intention of cutting them into smaller sticks and then snacking on them, rather than Doritos, when I wanted something crunchy. I have learned my lesson, many times over, that I really just want salty chips when I come home from work. However, these were for my sister and they were purchased and put in the refrigerator where they stayed for the duration of her visit. I ended up using some (but not all) of the celery in the Succotash Chowder and so when I found myself with a "bonus" day off I decided that I would try to make something out of all of the produce I had sitting around.
First up was carrot/raisin salad: shredded carrots, mayonnaise, raisins, and lemon juice. Prepared on Tuesday and eaten on Wednesday for lunch. I did not use all of the carrots, however. I actually did cut some into sticks to feed my dog who, my sister discovered, would eat them! Who knew? Maybe she won't be so fat now!
I made a Waldorf Salad with the celery and apples that had been waiting too long to be eaten. I used essentially the same recipe from several years ago but with raisins instead of grapes. We had this as a side dish for Wednesday's pizza dinner.
Our Pi Day creation "Pear and Goat Cheese Tart" came from Teeny's Tour of Pie: A Cookbook. We already had some goat cheese and bought some pears the day before especially for the recipe. For good measure I included one of the apples as well. As one can tell from the name of this dish this is not so much a pie as a tart. However it is round, and pie-like (see photo above), so we give it a pass for Pi day. The sliced apples and pears (mixed with sugar, cinnamon, and corn starch) were placed on top of the crust and the crumbled cheese was added, then the edges of the crust were folded up around the fruit and chėvre and baked for about half an hour. Sweet and savory Teeny says this "is one of the easiest recipes in the book". We bought Teeny's book on Pi day a few years ago, but I think this may be only the second time we've used it. My aspirational self will try to use it again before next Pi Day.