My phone rings at 8am on Saturday morning. It's Kate. She is having a dinner party and needs me to come to Los Angeles and make desert, right now. LA is a two and a half hour drive from our little desert world, but when your best friend from high school needs you to come over and make dessert you grab your tart pan and you go. Luckily the husband is *very* understanding about these things.
And he was planning on driving to LA that morning anyway. Lucky for two doggies who love road trips. Lucky for everyone the freeway was lined with wildflowers. Lucky for me that rich California afternoon light filled Kate's adorable apartment when I arrived with my tart pan.
We cooked all afternoon. We were still flour-speckled when the guests arrived, but no matter. Kate ushered them into the apartment building's garden armed with hors d'oeuvres. It is the kind of the garden one does not mind being ushered into. Especially when armed with hors d'oeuvres.
When you are young and just setting out in life a dinner party is a shared endeavor. So someone brought the table. And someone brought two very large, whole red snappers with very large, whole eyeballs. Which we stuffed with lemons and parsley and roasted in an encasement of rock salt.
We ran out of dinner plates so we used salad plates and saucers. We poached ferns and ivy from the neighbor's overgrown yard to pep up the sprays of freesia and ranunculus. One has to be resourceful, if willing to trespass occasionally, when one has limited party supplies of ones own.
And I delivered on my promise of dessert in the form of a Meyer lemon tart, albeit one that had a rather shy, shrunken crust on one side. It was delicate, it had zing, it was not too sweet. And the making of this tart required the pulverization of an entire, perfect Meyer lemon. Who can contain herself from putting a whole lemon in the food processor and pressing the puree button with destructive glee? Not I.
During the course of dessert the obstreperous corgi discovered the aforementioned red snapper heads in the garbage and devoured them, googly eyes and all, which resulted in much scolding and fretting on my part and much coddling on the part of other, more forgiving friends.
We all ate too much, we drank too much, and we stayed up far too late, and it was marvelous. Sunday morning was not without some gentle chiding from a fresh-faced husband who was in fact Not Hungover, and who Knows How To Act Responsibly When Visiting Friends in LA. What can I say? A desert mouse has to make the most of her trips to the city.
Meyer lemon tart perfectly simple to make and perfectly, outrageously delicious to eat. Cheat and buy an unformed frozen pie crust if you're short on time or pastry dough expertise. Recipe from reliably wonderful Smitten Kitchen here.