The nicer weather has brought with it numerous things all resulting in joy. It has brought the reddish-green rhubarb leaves poking up through cracks in the dirt. The pleated strawberry leaves unfolding from dark green to light, opening like tiny fans. The cherry bushes are holding onto their pink blossoms, waiting for the right moment to bloom. I am on constant asparagus and morel watch in my yard. The grass is so, so green. It twinkles in the dew when I walk my son to the bus stop at 8 a.m. Even with this morning’s almost frosty cold, and yesterday’s tiniest flurry of snow, the joy can’t be tamped down!
With apologies to Robert Frost, in my neighborhood, nature’s first green is red. All the red maple flower buds cast a red haze as they swell, and soon they will drop and cover the streets with red as well. The understory, however, is gold–the spicebushes, the honeysuckle or lonicera bush, and the lilacs leafing out. I am transfixed by all this beauty. It translates to instant joy and wonder. I am feeling so at ease. Every little thing is all right. Going to bed in the evening is joy–weary from hiking and gardening. Waking up early, and it’s requisite hot cup of coffee, are joy.
You know what else is joy? Yes, you guessed it. Cakes and tarts. They are so full of joy. Lately, my son has been worried about whether what he is eating is something healthy or not. My answer is that most things are healthy in moderation. Having a mix of things is what is most healthy. It’s good to have a balance of all kinds of things. Even a little cake, which, yes, is not all that healthy. But emotionally, isn’t a little cake good for you? It imparts joy, and isn’t that nutritious? Do you like my philosophy?
I made this jam tart the other day and it cheered my day, how pretty and easy and tasty it was. Instead of using 12 tablespoons of butter, I used 8 and added 1/4 cup of full-fat Greek yogurt. My son didn’t like it, because of the almonds on top, but I did. So much so that I froze half of it so I wasn’t tempted to eat it all. [Side note: the recipe calls it fregolotta, but the recipes I’ve seen for true fregolotta were much less dressed up and truly more a dry cookie, with much less butter. But I am no expert on fregolotta.]
Other joys I have bookmarked (most of them from Food52, and many almond-y things):
Almond Coconut Cake (here’s my back of the box discovery: almond bars from Watkins Almond extract)