It wasn’t so difficult to imagine how to celebrate Spring this morning. My familiar Sunday morning ritual of waking while the house is quiet and then baking something as I make coffee seemed appropriate. But this Sunday I woke in the Basquelandia pied-a-terre, a large light filled space sitting on top of the River Nive in St. Jean Pied de Port. The water rushes under the bedrooms all night long and I dream like a madwoman here. The tidy and workable kitchen is slowly being outfitted and test driven with a few simple shared meals; an omelette here, some garbure there.
Each outing yields a few more furnishings to soften the tiled floors and water white noise. We have 12 beautiful colored glasses for cider and scored several antique embroidered sheets for 5 euros each- curtains, beds, sofa coverings to come. I have a door desk; there is a pink Hello Kitty welcome mat; an old schoolhouse print of the port of Bayonne. Yesterday, Elaine bought the most beautiful rolling pin ever.
Even without a scale, a pastry brush, a marble top, I can make pastry in my sleep. With too many leeks growing old in the frigo, some spare ewe’s cheese, a few knobs of butter (including some made with piment d’Espelette and colored deep orange), and the remains of last night’s cooked artichokes, I had just enough to fill the smallest tarte pan I had bought.
This Basque tourte pastry, inspired by the traditional taloa corn cakes, is golden with yellow cornmeal ground as fine as flour, the orange chili butter, and then finger-brushed with the last farm egg from Camont. It is nutty, tender, and crumbly with that sweet cornbread smell that fills the loft. This little tourte doesn’t have a recipe, a name or a purpose. I just needed to mark my territory on this Kitchen Annex in Basquelandia. I can’t wait for the salt cod and sweetbreads, ham and trout, and wild boar boudin to come. Stand by for more good food from Basquelandia! Follow me for more of #basquelandia on Instagram as katedecamont, on the new Food52 app, and on facebook, of course!