Food blogging is fantastic. You get to do something you love and share it on your little corner of the internet. You chronicle your favorite recipes, restaurants, memories. You meet readers and fellow bloggers who become real-life friends. You eat, bake, cook, photograph, write, edit, repeat. You’re exposed to wonderful opportunities and you go to some pretty cool events. And you’re always surrounded with incredible food!
BUT. There is an… unglamorous side to all of this.
Like being a slave to the scant natural light that your apartment gets daily. Hitting up two, sometimes three, grocery stores in succession in your search for a specific ingredient. Developing a bossiness that has nothing to do with being the eldest child, but just ordering your readers to make a recipe ASAP. Annoying your friends, or getting the “food has now gone cold because you’re taking too many photos” vibe. Dealing with kitchen fails, lots of them. For example: a Spanish tortilla that crumbles into the plate when you try to flip it. You almost cry but then you still eat it. When I say you, it’s really me.
The other day, I set about my regular weekend routine: wake up early, eat a small pre-workout snack, go for a run, and as soon as I get back to my apartment I immediately open my fridge and start taking out ingredients for something I am cooking. It’s almost auto-pilot.
I made this beautiful mushroom ricotta tart, sprinkled a few aromatic drops of truffle oil on top, topped with fresh chives, and prepared to dig in. I mean, take photos first then dig in. Or really, try to find the best angle, with the best lighting, and the best composition, then take photos, then take a few more, then dig in.
It just so happened that the section in my apartment with the best lighting that particular day was my kitchen floor, so that’s where I plopped down. And when I was done, I ate a slice, and it was glorious.
There I was, sprawled on the floor in my sweaty running clothes, eating a slice of fancy mushroom pizza. In another life, I would’ve wrinkle my nose at my unshowered self, I would’ve said no to eating pizza for breakfast or post-workout, I would’ve spent the first half of the day just lounging around. But I most probably wouldn’t chop up some fresh chives to lend a little color and some extra flavor. I wouldn’t take the extra time to brown the mushrooms. I wouldn’t use both olive oil and butter. I wouldn’t pause for a few seconds and eat with my eyes first and take it all in.
In my food blogging life, I’ve learned to appreciate the small things. I’ve learned to see the beauty in food and more. I’ve happily eaten pizza (or cake) for breakfast. I’ve become the friend/neighbor/co-worker who randomly brings you treats. I really like it.
I also really like this tart. It utilizes one of my favorite “easy appetizer” ingredients: frozen puff pastry (check out this Hot Smoked Salmon Tart or this Tarte Flambee). It’s inspired by one of my favorite writers, Ruth Reichl. And it’s so easy, you can whip it up in about 45 minutes or so.
Mushroom Ricotta Tart with Truffle Oil
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz sliced white mushrooms
12 oz ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon truffle oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and saute until brown, about 15-20 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out your puff pastry. You can further stretch and flatten it using a rolling pin, so that it fits your baking sheet more evenly. Line a 9x12 baking sheet with parchment paper before putting dough in. Poke a few holes with a fork so that your crust won't get too puffy.
- Spread ricotta cheese on top of dough, then top with mushrooms. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese on top is brown and the pastry edges are golden. Drizzle with truffle oil, top with chives, and cut into rectangles before serving.
Inspired by a Ruth Reichl recipe
So here’s my life lesson for the day: it doesn’t matter if you’re eating pizza on the floor or in a fancy restaurant, but if you find something you love and makes you happy – whether it’s a blog or a job or a person – you stick to it.
Now go make this tart.
PS – I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving/holiday weekend! I am thankful for all of you <3