So yeah, this post has nothing to do with food except that - once again - I turn to it in order to sort of calm myself down because I'm screaming across the room like a cat with a dangly toy strapped to its neck.
We're in escrow for a home right now. At least we are on the date that I write this. We still have yet to undergo appraisals and inspections of all kinds so by the time this goes up in two weeks (yes, I write posts that far in advance so I have enough time to proof and edit... in theory) we may not be in escrow due to actually getting a set of keys, or because the inspector finds something like severe roof damage or the bodies of numerous missing hitchhikers dating back to the early nineties and therefore the place is not given the go-ahead by the loan people.
And yes, this is actually reason to not be granted the loan. I asked. Because I ask these sorts of things.
So let me tell you the epic tale of dealing with a HUD home (a home owned by the government) and how shit is perpetually flying fan-ward. Actually, not flying, but perhaps nervously humming around like a kamikaze shit-helicopter waiting to obliterate itself upon the blades and explode its stinky bits just oh-my-god everywhere.
And that's really the issue with a HUD home. The hovering. You're constantly in stasis waiting to hear back on the forms you've turned in, or the other forms you've turned in, or maybe those forms you just fucking turned in. All in blue ink, mind you, because if it's black ink they'll reject it on the spot and move on to the next applicant.
Yes. This is actually a rule. I signed a contract stating I wouldn't sue over the fact that they would reject my offer if I used non-blue ink. A contract, mind you, you can sign in black ink. Contradictive assholes.
"What!? You want a home and you turned in these triplicate forms detailing your work history in black ink? Who the fuck do you think you are!? Get out of here before we release the dogs!" Then they release the dogs anyways because human suffering is hilarious to those dicks at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
When you aren't in stasis then you're being asked to jump through hoops and over flaming wires like the circus poodle you are. The government laughs at every adorable little hop you make at the sound of their whistle while you, your loan officer, and your agent all die a little inside with each pitiful chuckle. Weeks later it's about as entertaining for them as it is for you, but they keep whistling because they don't know what else to do with you.
All this is because a HUD home is sold as-is. No negotiations on price based on what you offer, no fixing, no anything. As-is for what you initially offered. Period. And this home is a fixer-upper, too. No broken windows or holes in the wall, but the people who previously lived there probably had a meth habit judging by the half finished projects and general negligence you imagine to see in District 13 of a Hunger Games novel.
So why go through this nightmare? You see, this home is being sold for about $40K less than what it should be going for. It's in a really, really fabulous area. The floor plan is sort of amazing. Perfect, even. The damage - for what it is - isn't all that bad.
I've heard everyone tell me in a fortune cookie tone, "Don't worry if you don't get this one because you'll find the house that is meant for you." This statement is often accompanied with a smile and a gentle pat on the shoulder.
To this I say, please, shut up.
I love you all. I do. But I want THIS house. I want THIS house to be meant for me. I don't want much in life. A good job, a best selling book or five, a house keeper who looks like Erick Elias and does the vacuuming in a jockstrap, and this house so that my jockstrapped Not-Elias has something to vacuum. Is this too much to ask for, Jesus? Really? Aren't I a good enough person?
So yeah, I've been a ball of stress. I haven't been cooking too much as of late since when I come home it's either keep working, make phone calls, do house stuff (for the house that isn't even mine), or god knows what else. I've hit the point where I'm going to have such a conniption it'll look like someone threw a pot of spaghetti and meat sauce across every available surface. There has also been McDonald's, which has brought dishonor to my blog.
Anywhose, I did find time on Saturday to do some legit cooking. I made some savory pie dough flecked with a bit of hazelnut flour because it makes everything taste like what I imagine filthy-rich Republican winters in Vermont must be like. (I.e., decadent as all get out). I loaded it with a simple ricotta filling mixed with some smoked blue cheese, thyme, and lemon zest.
Layered onto all that goodness? Asparagus. The first of the season. Found at the Farmer's Market standing to attention like soldiers ready to advance upon the first day of Spring I took them home in a state of placid jubilation.
This galette is easier to make than a kid with Tourette Syndrome in a Mormon Choir. It will take you only a bit of forethought with the dough - unless you use premade - and then just 5 minutes of work followed by 40 minutes in the oven. Ska-doosh. Done.
It'll make lunch easy. Unlike a home with the goddamn HUD people and their spite for non-blue ink.
Ricotta & Asparagus Galette
Makes one galette, feeds 4-6
For the Dough
Pate Brisee Recipe: I use this one from Simply Recipes and add 1/4 cup of hazelnut flour. It's amaze-balls. This makes enough for two rounds of galette dough (and thus two galettes), save the other in the freezer until you need it.
For the Ricotta Filling
8 ounces whole milk ricotta
2 ounces cream cheese
2 ounces smoked blue cheese or other blue, crumbled
1 egg white
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon chopped, fresh thyme
salt and pepper
Mix together in a bowl until semi-smooth (the blue cheese may be chunky and that is fabulous) and set aside.
For the Galette
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed of woody ends
1/2 recipe of the above galette dough
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water
1. Roll out the dough until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
2. Spread out the ricotta filling, all the way around leaving a 1-inch border from the edge. Carefully place the asparagus over the filling, making them all neat and tidy as if you were doing laundry the way you know you should be. Drizzle with olive oil.
3. Fold over the edges of the dough. It doesn't have to be clean and perfect. Brush the dough with the egg wash. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Allow to cool for 3 minutes before serving.