Well guys. . .I survived my first trip to China. There certainly were times when I questioned whether or not I would make it back in one piece. . .but here I am, making plans to return to the Pearl of the Orient faster than you can blink an eye.
In case you’ve never been to this bustling city, it seems like there is a cloud of pollution perpetually looming through the parade of skyscrapers that march off into infinity. I was aware of China’s reputation for having the “dirtiest air on Earth” before I left. My concerned doctor loaded me up with steroids and inhalers for fear that my asthma would flare up into a rage so intense it could not be contained. All the information in the world, even the endless stream of photos from the Mr., could not prepare me for the thick, fluffy, white cloud that, more often than not, made it impossible to see anything but a wall of white every time I peered from my 58th floor window.
But probably more treacherous than the air quality was traveling about on foot. The simple act of crossing the street was like playing an intense game of Russian roulette. Every time you stepped foot off the curb, you never knew whether or not you would make it to the other side completely unscathed. A green blinking crosswalk light only delivered a false sense of safety as drivers turned a blind eye to it and plowed through the crowds. I got the sense that I wasn’t being just another paranoid tourist as the locals always seemed to hesitate and second guess on whether or not they should continue onward with their journey or head back to the safety of a nearby cafe.
I quickly learned that whenever possible, you should always try to cross as a herd. I took it one step further by thoughtfully positioning myself smack dab in the center of the moving group. This tactic seemed to work, but my trip was not without incident.
I was coming home from lunch with the Mr. one afternoon, hyper aware of the unfamiliar sights and sounds around me. As I plodded down the rain soaked sidewalk, a taxi cab sped up into the entrance of a parking lot that I just so happened to be passing. He zoomed by so close that my umbrella smashed into his battered and bruised vehicle and ricocheted back, nearly poking me in the eye. Fortunately, the umbrella was all he hit.
These are all things that I suspect will start to feel like the norm (fortunately or unfortunately) in good time. The good news is that the Mr. and I found an apartment in a quaint little area in Shanghai. It is larger than our pint sized apartment in Boston and has a tiny gym so I can continue to burn calories, making room for new calories in the form of cakes, pies and cookies. I’m also hoping to take some cooking classes while there. . .so prepare to see some Chinese treats in the near future.
I didn’t take many photos during this trip as Mother Nature decided to fill up her watering can time and time again, causing it to rain relentlessly. Because of this, and the insane humidity, I preferred to seek shelter rather than explore the city. I guess part of me did not feel a sense of urgency as I knew I would be returning soon and would have plenty of opportunity to document the sights that I was experiencing in this fast moving city.
This Savory Tart with Fiddleheads, Ricotta Cheese and Oat Crust was one of the last things I baked before I jetsetted off thousands of miles to the “Paris of the East”. Fiddleheads (If you are wanting to read more about fiddleheads see HERE.) were still in season at that moment. I realize this is no longer the case; however, I think asparagus would make a lovely substitute so I decided to go ahead and post the recipe.
This Savory Tart with Fiddleheads, Ricotta Cheese and Oat Crust is filled with onions & shallots softened in a dab of butter, then topped with a creamy whole milk ricotta cheese. It’s then nestled in a crust made from oat and almond flour which gives it a nice wholesome and nutty flavor. As a matter of fact, I think it is one of my favorite savory tart crusts to date. Even better, it’s simple as can be to make and doesn’t require rolling. Simple press the dough into your pan of choice and voila. . .you have your crust. I topped the savory tart with a sprinkling of lemon zest, chives and crushed red pepper. I also topped the first tart I made with some cheddar cheese because . . .well. . .in my world, more cheese is always better.
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