HUD: Asparagus & Ricotta Tart

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

-Swearing and political incorrectness ahead. So business as usual. Deal with it as I delete bitchy comments and emails.-

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.

-Just... just 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.

-Still, holy crap, I forgot how good those fries are.-

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
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
ricotta filling
olive oil
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. 


  1. As much as I love reading all of your posts I think it's the first photo of the post with its blunt/smart ass/"inapppropriate" caption that I look forward to each week.

    May your supply of blue ink outlast the attention span of the HUD folks.

  2. That is one of delicious tart, Yes home buying is difficult process, it makes you crazy.

    1. All house and no play makes Garrett... something something.

  3. If it makes you feel less shamed, I eat McDonald's fries every New Year's Day. What a way to start fresh, man. (Also, house problems? Give me a ring and we'll vent. I got those in spades.)

  4. That tart looks AMAZING. Smoked blue cheese? Purple tipped asparagus? Bubbly cheese next to buttery, golden crust? I am making this for the weekend. Yes.

    Blarg on the housing front. Just you wait, though. You've been a beacon of wit and determination through what seems to my memory to have been several months of one shitty thing after the other. By now you've built up a karmic credit rating to rival a saint. You DESERVE to have this house, and if you don't get it I can only assume it's because the gods are about to officially anoint you God of Snark, a position which comes with its own rather fabulous property in Asgard.

  5. The good news is they accept the offer. The bad news is they accept the offer. From the time we made our offer and it was accepted, Fannie Mae took over 60 days. I don't think we would have closed then, but, it was the end of the quarter. Sad, but true. Our wait was worth it and it sounds as though yours will be, too. I wish you all the best. BTW, my favorite was, "Prove you don't have a mortgage." ( We had another place we owned free and clear.)

    1. I am praying to close mid-may at this rate...

  6. Best best wishes for the house. The tart looks amazing and this post gave me a good but sympathetic laugh.

  7. i enjoy how the recipe ends with the most precise instructions - let cool for 3, not 2, not 4, 3 minutes. how i wish i had an oven here with a thermometer! or indeed, a functioning oven at all. Japanese dormitories are rubbish for that sort of thing.

  8. Yeah, I thought I would be original and use bright colored ink at previous job. I was desperate to be creative in some small way!!! No, the medical records ink police told me black was best, and basic blue was acceptable, but nothing else was ALLOWED.
    Tart looks amazing. I must remember to read your blog before going to grocery, rather than after! I hope the house thing works out. Someone I know I trying to get a mortgage approved. She says she thinks the banks only want to approve a mortgage if your already have that amount of money sitting in their bank. So it's not personal. They are messing with everyone.

  9. "This galette is easier to make than a kid with Tourette Syndrome in a Mormon Choir."
    I am honestly not worried about it being offensive, but I just don't get it, and I want to because I bet I would LMAO.
    Anyway, beautiful asparagus.

  10. That tart looks tasty and I am NOT a fan of asparagus.

    Also, you should have also gotten a shamrock shake to dunk your hot fries in. The perfect combo of salty, sweet, and guilt.

    1. Never tried the Shamrock Shake. Am I missing out?

  11. I made the tart tonight and OH MY GOD is it good. Wish I'd used the other half of the tart dough and made two because I would love to be sneaking downstairs to make a big dent in a second one at 2 AM.


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