DSCF1421 DSCF1429 DSCF1430 DSCF1433 DSCF1436 DSCF1439 DSCF1440 DSCF1444 DSCF1449 DSCF1453It 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!