Happy New Year! Grateful for a new start, new ideas, new ways of thinking, and more self reflection, I was super bummed to see that the year started off with political uncertainty, possible terror threats, miscommunication with satellite and weapons administration, and veritable political institutions rocked by familial distress. So, I of course, decided to hide and figure out how I feel about all of this through cooking and music.
My husband’s birthday is over the holidays, between Christmas and New Years, and this year, he worked. He took the day off for his birthday and I decided to make him this Chocolate Ganache tart.
It’s extremely simple to make, (if I can work, take care of a toddler and make this tart, albeit in painstaking steps, you will do this wonderfully! I did most of it the night before.) My husband is a jazz arranger but he’s a bit more pointed than most jazz musicians. He’s very direct and doesn’t beat around the bush, in music or in life. He doesn’t like to wax poetic if it doesn’t go anywhere, hates wasting his time, and hates “understanding” multiple truths, for the sake of it. (Yes. No one understands how we got together.)
Oscar Peterson’s, “C Jam Blues” is the epitome of classic simplicity- both rich and complex, but catchy enough to be popular- very much in the same vein as the Chocolate Ganache Tart. The crust is multidimensional and idiot proof, (due to the fact that it is made with nuts rather than a pastry shell), and the work can be divided in smaller ways (making it perfect to multitask).
This recording was made in Denmark in 1964, and eerily enough, the same year the Beatles launched their first world tour. How could a jazz great like Oscar Peterson compete with the insanity that followed the Beatles? I’m awe struck at how girls and boys are losing their minds. There’s almost a nostalgic innocence… has our culture become coarser over these decades?
Is the idea of musical archetypes as godlike figures not as powerful because social media and technology dictate trends faster than before? With the idea of technology fast tracking trends, are we, the consumers responsible for this speed due to our limited attention spans or is it only as a metric for companies to compete? If this is the norm for consumer culture, doesn’t it make sense that hence social, then economic, and in turn political behavior be fast tracked? If it’s fast tracked, then what about inherent social behaviors we have as humans… like mob mentality, bullying, moral appeasement, and ethical decision making? Wouldn’t that get messed up, too? Well, here’s some things to think about.
Here’s an interesting article on mob mentality and it’s effects on social media. We’ve all seen the catastrophic downfalls of entire careers being decimated due to an ill placed tweet or posting. Worse still, the effects on a poor teen who commits suicide due to online bullying and mob mentality. There are entire companies now formed to deal with the aftermath of a social media mishap. Here are ways to combat being misunderstood, how the desire to be accepted drives our online behavior, how objective facts still won’t change people’s minds, and how we can combat mob mentality.
Going further still, due to the political unrest that happened over the holidays, I’m constantly trying to understand and respect cultural norms, while adhering to my own ethical standards of right and wrong. I still didn’t fully understand moral relativism. Is it more pervasive in our everyday decision making than we know? Because someone thinks it’s ok, is it really ok, and how do the shades of grey motivate an individual’s decision making? (Considering, most Americans adhere to some type of moral relativism…) Is that why we continually have conflicts in the Middle East? Moral relativism, is more pervasive in our everyday life than we think. It’s interesting how based on whether an individual has a objective or relative moral view, how they respond to certain problems in the world, both simultaneously in a positive and negative way. (I’m not making a value judgment. Just a curious observation.) Check it out.
Finally, if you’re interested in delving even deeper, (rather than a narrow view, which most people identify on a gut reaction), here’s an article discussing moral relativism, in a self reflexive critique, and it’s wider implications on society. It concisely goes through multiple angles to find philosophical holes on moral judgement that in turn, people are using to justify ethical stances on society. It’s far reaching, considering that these narrow views are touted on economic, social, political, and religious agendas.
On a more entertaining note, here’s Oscar Peterson and the C Jam Blues. Playing like butter, effortlessly, and at the tail end of the jazz era. Both are rich and complex, yet so simple, like the Chocolate Ganache Tart.
Oscar Peterson- “C Jam Blues”
Live in Denmark in 1964
And here are people going crazy over the Beatles on their 1964 World Tour at Shea Stadium. It’s worth watching just to try and mimic their expressions (or accents) to make your friends laugh!
The Beatles at Shea Stadium
Thanks for reading! I hope this helped make you laugh and brighten your day! I think we all need to scream like a hysterical teenager sometimes. Lol! Have a wonderful week! Xo, Melissa
Chocolate Ganache Tart
(from Montreal’s coffee-pizza-wine restaurant “Elena” per Bon Appetit Dec. 2019)
4 Tbs unsalted butter, melted, plus more at room temperature for the pan
2 1/2 cups mixed raw nuts (such as walnuts, blanched hazelnuts, pistachios, and /or almonds)
6 Tbs. sugar
3/4 tsp kosher salt
Ganache and Assembly
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups heavy cream
6 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1’’ pieces
flaky sea salt
Special Equipment: 1 12’’ diameter tart pan with removable bottom; ( I didn’t have one and was desperate so I had to use a 9’’ one and it turned out great, albeit rustic.)
Place a rack in the middle of oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter pan; line with a round of parchment paper cut to fit just inside the pan. Pulse nuts in a food processor until finely chopped. Add sugar and salt and pulse again to combine. Drizzle in melted butter and pulse until nuts begin to clump together and mixture looks sandy. Using your hands, firmly and evenly press mixture into bottom and up sides of pan (it doesn’t need to come all the way up the sides). Bake crust until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Let cool.
Ganache and Assembly
Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan until just beginning to simmer; immediately pour over chocolate. Let sit, undisturbed, 5 minutes. Add butter and mix with a heatproof rubber spatula until smooth and glossy. Scrape ganache into crust and smooth out any bubbles. Chill, uncovered, until set, at least 1 hour.
Remove tart from pan; sprinkle seat salt over. Slice into wedges with a hot knife.
Do ahead: Tart can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.