Happy New Year! Now that the last drop of Champagne has been poured and the final present exchanged, it's time to face 2012 and all it holds up its sleeve.
For years I stopped making resolutions, because the Type-A in me starts to freak out the minute I cheat on my exercise/relationship/savings/diet goals. Setting myself up for that every year seemed unfair. Then I started creating resolutions that looked more like a list of aspirations--not strict, tangible things to attain, but ideas I wanted to form my year around.
I'm feeling that 2012 is already bringing more clarity than years past. For the year ahead, I'm not making resolutions or aspirations. I'm molding my entire year around one single concept: POTENTIAL.
Potential is a powerful thing with two sides to it. The first is outside potential, which is opportunities and experiences that you're introduced to. Secondly is inward potential, which is generated by simply being honest with yourself.
For example, this year, my inner dialogue sounds more like this: "What am I capable of? Do I have the potential to love, forgive, laugh more? Could I dream bigger? Am I able to raise the bar in a certain area?"
It's amazing how exciting things feel when you give yourself the chance to do more.
I truly feel that when we work on inward potential, the outside potential (at work, home, with friends) becomes limitless. The year seems more promising when you're empowering yourself to be better, instead of creating a large to-do list that never seems to get done.
I hope this idea inspires you do think a bit differently about 2012. Let's fulfill all we are capable of becoming. And while that's happening, keep cooking...
Puff Pastry Pear Tartlets
Courtesy of Food and Wine, Serves 6
- Preheat the oven to 425°. On a work surface, sprinkle the top of the pastry with 1/4 cup of the sugar and, using a rolling pin, roll the sugar lightly into the dough. Flip the pastry and sprinkle with another 1/4 cup of the sugar. Roll out the pastry to a 12-by-16-inch rectangle. Using a 4-inch round plate as a template, cut out six rounds of pastry.
- Transfer the pastry rounds to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet and poke them all over with a fork. Top with another sheet of parchment and baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is lightly browned. Remove the top sheet and parchment paper and bake the rounds for 10 minutes longer, until caramelized. Slide the paper and pastry rounds onto a rack and let cool.
- Meanwhile, in a very large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the pears and cook over high heat, tossing gently, until barely softened, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the pear brandy. Return the skillet to the heat and cook until the liquid is nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes.
- In a small skillet, melt the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Add the sliced almonds and cook over high heat, stirring, until golden, 3 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a plate and sprinkle with salt.
- Dollop the crème fraîche on the pastry rounds and top with the pears and almonds. Serve right away.