Friday, July 25, 2008

Music and Picnics in the Park

Thursday was suppsed to be a coffee shop-friend reunion between MC, AB and I. AB couldn't make it so MC and I alone went to Music in the Park in DT St Paul to see Our long-time favorite local artist, Jeremy Messersmith.

I packed a picnic, just like last year:

This year again went overboard with the picnic. I made some cornmeal rolls that I made a few months ago, but made them bigger so we could top with sliced apple, avocado, cucumber, cheese, and/or butter. I brought along my homemade Vanilla Granola and some fresh blueberries and coconut cream. Threw in a few chocolate covered peanuts, crackers and homemade peach-gnger iced tea for good measure. However, the piece de resistance was my homemade Almond-Cream Tarts with Blueberries and Pluots. Oh My Goodness!! I made up a batch of pate brisee and just kept rolling until I finished off the dough. I was able to get 4 small tart pans, 2 medium and one large. I only filled two small tarts and one medium with said almond-cream goodness. Wow, were they good.

Here's the thing when you make your own almond cream. You need almond paste. Well, I didn't have any on hand (and always prefer handmade over store-bought,) so I had to make some.
To make almond paste you need blanched, skinned almonds. When you don't have those you have to blanch and skin the almonds yourself!

First step--done! Then you grind them up with powdered sugar, and a corn syrup simple syrup to make almond paste... which is then added back to the food processor to create almond cream. With which you are able to fill your tarts, place your fruits and voila! Yums out the oven.
Obviously I went overboard with the picnic, but it was expected, I set the bar high for myself last year. No pictures from the event this year, but other friends were in attendance too, KW, AK, and a few others. The evening started sprinkling on us during the opening act so we packed up our picnic and went to get some coffee at the Black Sheep. We headed back downtown and easily parked and finished up the show with some rockin' JM. Can't wait for his new CD this fall!

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