Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Heirloom Tomato Goat Cheese Galette with Anchovies, Olives and Capers

Tomato Goat Cheese Anchovy Galette by Meeta K. Wolff 

How did this happen? And how come it happened so soon? And am I really ready? Do I have a choice?
These were just a few of the many questions I silently turned in my head, thoughts whirling around causing a commotion. I knew however, that the time had come to let go of his hand a little more. We were entering a new phase: the Junior High School Phase.

Last weekend we celebrated the big 10. This week, I dropped him off and watched him high five his friends as he entered the building of a new school, yes this was Junior High. He was the nervous Freshman, I was the anxious mother. He handled it with his usual nonchalance, I hid it under my usual show of coolness.

“We’ll be OK” he said I wanted to hug him but knew that I needed to leave him the room. So, I waved instead. In the car the questions came pounding back into my head and on my way to work I was thinking up of ideas of how to be more involved and of how to stay more connected in his life - he was growing up too fast.

Tomato Goat Cheese Anchovy Galette Ingredients (2) by Meeta K. Wolff

On the way to work my brain worked overtime and began plotting. I planned to drop him off at school everyday, he negotiated that he could take the bus home 3 times a week. I wanted to stay in touch with his new teacher and just be a part of his life, every step of the way. It has not been my style to smother him and nor is it our belief to push him to join 1000 extracurricular activities, we’ve always tried to guide and leave him the space to make his own decisions. So far it has worked. He is quite independent and very confident. So why change a winning formula?

In my wild mind I thought by hovering around him, bubble wrapping him and being more connected with everything he does would be a good thing. Right? After all I just want the best for my kid - something we all can understand. Right?

That same day I bumped into the mother of Soeren’s kindergarten friend. She was extremely excited and over-anxious at her daughter’s first day of high school. She told me how the new teacher had mentioned that her daughter had some great singing qualities and that she should sign her up for the school choir. This seemed to have set her off and she was steam-rolling trying to find the telephone numbers of the best singing tutors to teach her daughter. I remembered that the poor daughter used to be a part of almost every activity and always presented the most immaculate school projects, while Soeren would show-off his slightly lopsided piece of work proudly having spent hours working on it.

It made me stop. Was I heading towards becoming a “Helicopter mum” like her? Was the insanity creeping up on me?

Somewhere along the years, as parents we have taken a turn on this long path of parenthood, becoming obsessed with our kids' success. We strive to “do the best” for our children, in the process we have turned parenting into a form of product development. We demand nursery schools offer more music or language programmes, we plead with high school teachers to review the B on our children’s report, some parents are even calling their college kids each morning to wake them up for class, or negotiating salaries with their children’s future employees.

I always promised myself that I would never take-off to hover high above the ground circling around my child. Man I was going to stay grounded! I admit that I do have some of the tendencies to turn into an über-parent. I do worry and I really do want the best for my son. We all do - don’t we?

Tomato Goat Cheese Anchovy Galette (0039) by Meeta K. Wolff

For some reason I remembered the Easter Egg Hunt we attended at a hotel in Dubai early this year. While parents actually jumped the rope or literally pushed their kids under the rope to make sure they got enough chocolate egg and treats, Soeren, not used to the elbowing, looked rather dejected as he only managed to secure a few treats. As he came up the stairs he noticed a younger child sitting on the stairs with an empty basket. Soeren reached into his own half empty basket and dropped one of the chocolate eggs into the child’s basket. When he came to me, I was the proudest parent that day. As parents we were not doing such a bad job.

On the way home I made a few corrections to my plans. I stopped at the bus station and bought a monthly bus ticket. Instead of dropping him off at school everyday, I think once a week is sufficient. He’s loving meeting his buddies at the corner of the street early mornings to walk to the bus stop. After lunch at the school cafeteria, we have agreed that he walks to my office located 2 streets down. We have also agreed to make a “Meeta-Soeren” lunch date once a week, where he will meet me in the center of town and we will spend a nice afternoon together.

You know what? I am rather pleased of making the choice of not following the path of a helicopter parent. While I will continue to worry and in honesty, I might sometimes see a reflection of myself in their hovering behavior I know exactly that that is the kind of parent I do not want to be.

I want Soeren to experience scraped knees, fend for himself and find his stable position in society for himself. I do believe that his failures will make him a stronger and a better person. Giving him more freedom and independency to live his own life is beneficial for both of us in the long run. The trick is to find a good balance between being too hands-off and too involved - yes that is the kind of parent I strive to be.

So, as the bell rings, starting off a new phase and new school year, I am looking forward to staying grounded and to all the new lessons we will learn together and individually.   Tomato Goat Cheese Anchovy Galette (0059) by Meeta K. Wolff

I am not sure what the new school year will bring but I think both of us are ready to embrace it, he with his usual nonchalance and me with my usual coolness. Inside, we both will probably be nervous but I do believe that we have built a solid path leaving a lot of room for open communication.

One thing is for sure though, there will be many evenings where we all get together in the kitchen to cook up delicious meals. Meals like this full of flavor and good memories - Soeren cutting tomatoes, Tom grating cheese and me kneading the dough. Where we tell stories of our day, laugh at jokes and make plans for the future - together and individually.

This galette picks up some of its flavors from the famous Pissaladière, a tart often served around the Nice, Marseilles area. Salty anchovies are combined with divine marinated olives and spiked with thyme. I add the summer sweetness of ripe heirloom tomatoes, creamy delightfulness of goats cheese and the slight tanginess comes from the capers.

Recipe: Heirloom Tomato Goat Cheese Galette with Anchovies, Olives and Capers

Printable version of recipe here

Tomato Goat Cheese Anchovy Galette by Meeta K. Wolff

Prep Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes plus resting time
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 325g all-purpose flour
  • 100g fine polenta
  • A pinch of salt
  • 125g cold butter, cut in cubes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 70g Greek yogurt
  • 100g ice cold water
  • 1 kg heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 sprigs each rosemary, thyme and oregano, finally chopped
  • 8-10 anchovies marinated in oil
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 125g Parmesan, cheese grated
  • 200g goat cheese
  • 25g marinated olives and capers
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Mix together flour, polenta, pinch of salt and sugar in a bowl. Rub the cold butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Whisk together the yogurt and water, then incorporate into the flour mixture. Knead into a smooth dough as quickly as you can, making sure not to over-knead. Work the dough only enough to bring it barely together into a disk, wrap in plastic-wrap and cool in refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees C and line a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper.
  3. Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Roll out each portion on a lightly floured surface into a circle. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs, spread with the anchovies, goat cheese and the slices of tomatoes leaving about 8 cm around the edge free. Add the olives and capers, salt and pepper to taste then fold the outer edges over the filling. Sprinkle the herbs and Parmesan.
  4. Bake the galette in the oven for about 40 minutes or until baked gorgeously gold.
  5. Serve with a large fresh salad.

Notes:
The galette can be eaten hot or cold, so it makes a great dish to take along on a picnic or for a pot luck.
You can easily make this a vegetarian meal by leaving the anchovies out or adding other vegetables like asparagus or zucchini.

The Food Guide:
You’ll find detailed information to everything you wanted to know about tomatoes, including selecting, storing and healthy tips in my Food Guide.  


Verdict

Tomato Goat Cheese Anchovy Galette Ingredient (1) by Meeta K. Wolff

This is a fantastic and light meal boasting of big rustic flavors. The best part is it is you can experiment with other flavor combinations. If anchovies is not your taste, add shavings of asparagus for a mellower taste, which we added for Soeren who is not big on anchovies.

I would love to hear what your thoughts are on parenting and how you handle it? Are there things you said you would never do and realize that you are? have you adapted your parenting style with each phase? Looking forward to your thoughts, feedback and advice.

Have a great week ahead. Hugs xo

You might like these big flavored tart ideas from WFLH:

Fig Gorgonzola Crostata (0024) by MeetaK Roasted Pumpkin Aubergine Zucchini Tapenade Tarts with Buffalo Mozzarella (0005) by Meeta K. Wolff Roasted Tomato Aubergine and Tahini Tart (0009) by Meeta K. Wolff
Honey Figs Gorgonzola and Prosciutto Crostata Roasted Pumpkin Aubergine Zucchini Tapenade Tarts with Buffalo Mozzarella Roasted Tomato Aubergine and Tahini Tart


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2012 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

57 comments :

  1. Being a 2 week old Junior High mom with a son cycling to school, am taking away more parenting tips than cooking ones from this post for once :) Lovely read!

    - Soumya

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    1. It#s a tricky road to walk on as a parent. But I think we'll be fine. Luckily in Germany the trend is to raise the more independent child. All the best!

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  2. Great steps in life... I bet it isn't always easy for parents to see their child grow up and become more and more independant. It brings a lot of stress.

    A wonderful galette. What a scrumptious filling!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Thanks Rosa. I love the fact he is growing up and turning into a fine boy. I just the process would not be so fast LOL!

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  3. Like you, I feel nervous about my kid growing up, and kids grow up so fast. On his first day of school, he didn't shed a tear, and I was not entirely happy about it :D. I have seen parents who fuss so much about their kids, I cannot decide whether it is good or bad for them. Still learning, I guess :|

    Lovely galette.!

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    1. HAHA! Yes I guess it makes you think what's happening when they react differently. I think it's important to have a good balance and just realize when the time has come to let go a little and leave room for more freedom. It's hard but I think the children benefit more from that!

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  4. It brings back memories of Shyama' when she was in school we were lucky that the school was just 2 street away and later just one. I think it is a wonderful things you are doing letting him take the bus with his friends .

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    1. Thanks Finla. I think it goes beyond just the bus but for him (and for me) it's an important message that says "I trust you" which gives him more responsibility. I think he likes that!

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  5. I hope that some day your son reads this post and realizes how lucky he was to have a mom who made such wise choices.

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    1. Love you so lydia. i hope the future is bright for him :o)

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  6. I want those Tomatoes, such a gorgeous texture, did u grow them at home?

    Just got an oven some days back (finaly...) and I have most of the ingredients at home. I might just feel inspired to recreate your galette Meeta.

    Oh, I dont know much about parenting, but I think you are doing great, at least what I can read out... Dont worry, just flow along, everything will be fine. =)

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    1. I am sure you will love this. It's so full of amazing flavors. Hope you come back and tell me what you thought!

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  7. I am a new parent and I always keep worrying whether I will be as good a mother as my Mom was to me. I feel anxious about building that "solid foundation" like you mentioned. I guess I will learn along the way :) and I felt quite positive after reading the post.

    The recipe is fabulous!

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    1. So happy that I could transfer some of that positivity. When our own parents were so good we already have a good role-model and as you work on your relationship with your child your "solid" foundation will grow too. All the best!

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  8. O I can totally understand how that would work even though I don't have any kids myself. I've seen it with friends and well I've known their kids for their entire life as well so being an 'auntie' of sorts makes me kind of feel their pain too. I'm pretty sure you're an awesome mum Meeta. The kind of mum I would have loved to have as a kid, so you'll be fine. And Soeren will - no doubt - grow up to be a wonderful human being...
    It's funny too that you have a pissaladiere here now as I just saw one made the other day on masterchef Australia. It looks totally delicious!

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    1. "The kind of mum I would have loved to have as a kid" Simone you touched by heart with that and thank you for that compliment. It makes me feel more positive too! I guess the message for you is to make this galette ;O)

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  9. Lovely post Meeta. Experience and failure provide such valuable lessons in preparation for being independent. It's very loving of you to be able to focus on his needs and not your needs. He's lucky to have such a caring mom. I'm sure it doesn't hurt to have a mom who can whip up a beautiful dish like this either. I wish I had some right now!

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    1. I try and step back every now and then to evaluate how things have developed for all of the family and how we can move on - making changes etc.

      I also think both my men do appreciate what I do in the kitchen too. thanks for the comment El!

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  10. The art of holding on and letting go so aptly described. We've been and seen helicopter parents, sometimes we just can't help ourselves so I think it is marvelous that you took a "time out" to think about how you wanted to proceed. How very grown up Meeta! Soeren is surely blessed, and not just for what is put on the kitchen table. Cheers!

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    1. Yes I think any parent involved in their childs life and those wanting the best for them tend to walk the path of Helicopter Parents. It's not a bad thing but only if it becomes obsessive I think it does not help the child much. Love you and your lovely feedback!

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  11. Delicious galette, Meeta... thanks for sharing.

    I can't believe how quickly my nieces and nephews are growing up. Times flies especially during the toddler years :)

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    1. Thanks Kiran! Yes the toddler years is amazing because you can see changes literally everyday. But even now it's interesting to see how his character is developing. Enjoy the time with your nieces and nephews!

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  12. You have ever right to be a proud parent. Soeren is a lovely lad - the Easter egg story is particularly touching. Who is qualified to give advice on parenting? We all just do the best we can don't we. My own guiding rule is to try to enjoy every stage of their lives as they grow into adults. And yes, they have to learn by their mistakes.
    PS A slice of this tart please!

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    1. Oh yes I am following that rule to - trying to enjoy each stage, but still trying to guide him to grow up with values and morals. it's a hard road at times. But fun! I can make some for you in Dubai ;o)

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  13. You are a lovely and deeply caring mother, Meeta! Your post brought back memories of my own experiences with letting go and holding on, worrying whether I had done the right thing in allowing my daughter more freedom and space to grow. And I love the way you describe both your outward attitudes of nonchalance and coolness, I can sure relate to it!

    Lovely recipe to capture the spirit of summer one more time!

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    1. Barbara thanks for your comment. Love hearing from you. It's a double edged sword isn't it? One never knows - but I do think that our gut feeling does not betray us if we are tuned into the needs of our children. I have a few more summer dishes I am dying to share!

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    2. Exactly what I was thinking, Meeta: trust your gut feeling! I will be going to Tuscany (further South than Pistoia) to prolong summer ... very much needed holiday and I look forward to doing NOTHING, well maybe some photography and some fiddling with Lightroom ... And waiting for your summer dishes to enjoy them in an equivalent atmosphere!

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  14. my daughter is only turning 2 this month, yet I concur with you about parenting, striving my best not to be the Tiger mom who wants the child to excel on everything. Yet every single day I left her with the live-in nanny, I wish I was a stay-at-home so she spends more time with me than some stranger:-(

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    1. Jehane, I can relate to what you are saying. However, i truly believe that we as women have so many roles in life not that just of a mother and I belief that we can be happy when we work the other roles equally too. I know that although I love every aspect of being a mother I would not be the happiest only in that role. I love my job, which gives me confidence and a sense of self worth. I think being able to do something individually and achieving a different kind of success allows my to be a better mother.
      So when you leave your child with the nanny - just remember that.

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  15. Meeta, reading your blog is such a pleasure....seeing the photo gives me joy..u have such a great combo of words and pics..u are very talented...everthing in this blog is so unique and I love it..
    I have a daughter who is turning 3 in oct..cant imagine how I am going to cope with her starting preschool...i am sure she is going to be just fine and it would be me who is going to be worried :)

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I think we grow with our roles so once your daughter starts pre-school both you and her will very quickly adapt to the new situation. Wishing you all the very best!

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  16. Hello, your recipe was featured on my blog as our "Photo of the Day" .
    This looks exquisite!
    Check it out here,
    http://foodcitizenship.com/2012/09/photo-of-day-september-6-2012.html

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    1. Thank you Karla. I appreciate it - would you be so kind and ask me per email next time? Have a lovely day!

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  17. I have been a mother for only three years. I enjoyed reading this article and the comments attached to it. I try not to be over-protective with my daughter however it is quite difficult at times considering her young age.

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    1. Yes there is a fine balance that one needs to keep and I think that for most of us parents it comes naturally and we adapt to the needs of our child! All the best!!

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  18. Aww Meeta I can completely relate. You are such a wonderful mom. & gurrl you are speaking my language with this galette. Every single ingredient, without any exception I like. How do I wish I had it today for lunch!

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    1. Thanks Shulie! How I wish you were closer! I would make this for you!

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  19. I totally love your style Meeta...I was raised in a very strict style and my parents decided everything for me right from what I would wear to study and I think somewhere I became a bit of a rebel... I think you are definitely doing a brilliant job and yes I would want to follow your footsteps someday when I have a baby... You have really echoed my thoughts of parenting hee :1) xx

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    1. Thanks for the comment. Glad to get your feedback. I know that many Indian families raise thier kids quite strictly but I think one has to give a bit of freedom to make sure they do not become rebels. LOL!

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  20. This tasty galette is just packed with flavour!

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  21. I'm afraid can't offer any parenting advice but I would like to say that your galette looks fantastic! And I'd love to know where you find green asparagus in Germany at this time of year, because there isn't any around these parts!! :)

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    1. Thanks for the comment Frau Dietz! I cannot help you finding green asparagus in Germany at this time of year ... because the truth is I made this galette when asparagus was in season in Spring. It's not a main part of the dish and only appears in image and as part of a recommendation. If you would like to add the asparagus you might just have to wait till Spring (or use frozen asparagus, which is not really too good).

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    2. I don't think I even knew frozen asparagus existed! I've become incredibly fond of white asparagus since I've been here, but sometimes I just can't resist green asparagus. I wish it wasn't such a long wait Spargel season! :)

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    3. Yes I have seen and even bought them. You can get them in green and white. But they are not really worth the money .. so yes it seems we will have to wait till Spring!

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  22. This post calmed my mind. Also assured me I am on the right track. I have one who started middle school this year and it makes me kind of "happy" to see what I see happening is not just here; parents making a zilion phone calls to see if their kids got the best teacher in school, if the kids would get personal attention as in elementary, what if they forgot their homework and did not have the best grade - would the teacher consider and give them another chance to push it to an A..! Hold on. what about teaching the child responsibilty instead and making sure that no homework is forgotten.. sometimes I wonder if I am my thoughts in the wrong place when I am not writing a note to the teacher..this really makes me feel good. LOL to the parents pushing down ropes to fill the baksets of the kids :) This age for the kids is so very important and it is our goal to make them good citizens instead of panicky people trying to push others around. And they are learning from us.

    Lovely lovely galette. I see asparagus, polenta and rosemary and all that I love.

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    1. Oh Soma so wonderful to hear your thoughts. I have to admit that here in germany it is not as bad as I hear it is in the US. The Germans still believe giving their kids certain freedom and most of them grow up to be quite independent at an early age. However, i sometimes think some of them are too young to be so responsible at that age. They are still kids and need to live lives of kids too.

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  23. It seems many of the questions that you are grappling with present themselves at that middle school time period. I am at that point where I can look back a little bit and see if I would do things differently. So many things I would do the same but another handful of things I would do differently. My only advice is that each decision to "let go" depends on that particular child. We have the luxury as parents to tailor our parenting decision according to the maturity (or immaturity) of each child. As one of my children is entering her college years, I hope to see if some of our decisions will be positive or negative. I need 1 or two more years and I will probably have GOOD advice!! Good luck with the beginning of this year!

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  24. I hear this! My daughter just started 9th grade. It's like the push me/pull you phase ... you have to stay keenly aware of letting go yet being there when they still really need you.

    I love this savory galette and it will be added to my make soon list!
    Happy Fall...

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  25. Aww such a beautiful article Meeta. I wonder how I would be ? My Mom was very different from all her sisters. She gave us freedom and let us chose. Allowed us to make mistake and let us learn from it. Both my brother and I love her for that and so will your boy :)
    As fro Galette .. i have a special love for it specially because you made it savory!

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  26. I'm not a parent, but I do know now, in retrospect, that my parents were far too "hovering", never really believing that we needed our own space or that we should be given too much freedom. You are so doing the right thing... Can't believe Soeren is ten!! Love the flavours in this tart though - can I come over?

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  27. Oh gosh these look fantastic! What incredible toppings. I want a big table of these right now, please!

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  28. A very sweet post, Meeta. The galette looks delicious and I love the fresh flavors in it.

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  29. I should really pay attention to some of the comments of this post. I have a very young son and still have no idea how my parenting style will develop. It's unlikely that I will become a helicopter parent but how to strike that balance?

    This tart looks superb!

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  30. You know, even now that mine are 22 and 24, I still worry. I still stay awake at night until I hear them come home, I still want to smother them. I think it is the kids that set the rules and we instinctively follow the clues they leave, follow their lead. I think you have done more than a fine job with Soeren. He's not mean, he's not neurotic, he's a good, happy boy. And I love the once a week lunch date idea! And look at the food he comes home to each night. My boys would be thrilled to find your cooking on our dinner table every night. Gorgeous photos, Meeta.

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  31. My friend is such a huge fan of these Galettes.. can have them everyday. Would love to try this revcipe for her.

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta