Eckhart Tolle writes in his book The New Earth, "The mind is more comfortable in a landscaped park because it has been planned through thought; it has not been grown organically. In the forest, there is an incomprehensible order that to the mind looks like chaos." I liken the landscaped park to the way most people are comfortable cooking and the forest to the reality of 5 - 7 p.m.; people coming and going (irritable from traffic), homework going on, phone conversations, plans, forms to be signed, a ride needed, the dog to be walked, the children hungry, dinner to be made. On the surface appears to be chaos. But take a deep breath, open the pantry, imagine the kind of meal you would like to eat and experience a higher order, much like that of the forest, which lets dinner come together with ease.
Living in the moment is a goal becoming increasingly popular. Extend this idea to cooking - using the senses of taste, touch and smell - and you have perhaps the best kitchen tool of all for meeting the high order of making meals from scratch day after day.
The Spring Fingerling Potato and Leek Tart I was preparing just last night resorted to becoming a more mainstream Ham and Cheddar Tart in progress - as the shell was par baking - due to timing and schedules. (I will add, due to a lack of planning and energy on my part, the tart dough did not get its recommended 1 hour chill in the fridge or a lining of parchment during the par bake. The crust was wonderful, which proves only that the more you cook the more you know which steps can be skipped in a pinch.) Most importantly, our family ate dinner together. We discussed what unfolded during the day; disappointing news, orchestra rehearsal, an upcoming party. The tart was delicious, a little fruit salad on the side, and the meal pleasurable.
The fingerling potatoes will instead by used tonight with a Sherry Basted Pork Tenderloin. I'll set a few aside for another attempt at the fingerling potato and leek tart later in the week.