Puff Pastry Fails (and Successes)

I ordered a tennis skirt for my summer league. It arrived but when I tried it on, was too tight, so I visited the store’s website to return it got into a live chat with a Tennis Warehouse staff member. I typed in the little bubble:

“I need to return my skirt because it’s too small. Covid.”


She answered back

“I’m so sorry! I hope you feel better soon.”

tennis warehouse chat person.

And I answered back:

No, Covid weight gain.


She ha ha’d me. I’m not even sure if my current extra pounds is even COVID related, although apparently the average weight gain during lockdown in 2019 was 1 1/2 pounds a week, which resulted in gaining 18 pounds over the course of the Pandemic. When I wrote last year of the COVID 19 (lbs), apparently I wasn’t far off. I don’t think I’ve gained 19 pounds, but I haven’t gotten on a scale in ages, so who knows?

I can’t even blame Covid; I think it was more the Holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, even Easter with Honeybaked Ham, Buttermilk biscuits, Potatoes gratin, three salads and two desserts was a gut buster. And then there’s been my frequent ice cream experiments, filled with calorie-dense heavy cream, sugar and eggs; the little containers of delight irresistibly calling to me from my freezer. Caramel Crack may be my so-far favorite. Also, just celebrating my survival and finally getting my second vaccine (another glass of Prosecco, please) has been cause for over-indulging.

It seems like while I’d tried to watch my eating habits during Covid, now that the end is near (we hope), I’ve been eating with abandon. Celebrating the end of the Pandemic as we know it.

Which brings me to a recipe I tried the other night for an Asparagus Tart. Apparently it’s trending, either on Tik Toc, Instagram or other social media outlets so I felt, as Foodie in Miami, I needed to give it a try. I wasn’t sure which one to make, so picked a Martha Stewart recipe. You can’t go wrong with Martha, right?

Martha Stewart’s Asparagus Tart.

It was a simple recipe, using fresh asparagus, which are peaking now and scream Spring! Puff pastry, rolled out into a rectangle is baked, removed from the oven and sprinkled with Gruyere Cheese. As the cheese is semi-melting, trimmed asparagus is layered on top, tip to end alternating, and then baked again. The result?

It was fine (and if you’re a woman, you know this means more than it appears at face value.) The crunchy pastry was topped with the melted cheese, which was just kind of oily and one-note. The asparagus did add a brightness to the dish, but overall I just felt it was kind of blah and not something I would make again. It needed some lemon, herbs, variety, creaminess. A drizzle of lemon creme fraiche would’ve been welcome, or a different kind of cheese. Plus, I don’t feel it qualifies as dinner, more as a heavy appetizer, so I added ham and fruit (Easter leftovers) to my plate.


When I researched other Asparagus Tart recipes, the variety I’d been seeking was exactly what they offered. One by the Food Network had a lemony spread of marscapone cheese, chives and tarragon and another by Melissa Clark (staff writer for New York Times Food) had goat cheese, tarragon, lemon zest and nutmeg. Now that’s what I’m talking about! So maybe, I’ll give it another try.

But, in the meantime, this puff pastry recipe reminded me of an appetizer I used to make all the time for my tennis Christmas Parties, which people loved. It’s an Ina Garten recipe called Savory Palmiers, with sun dried tomatoes and pesto, so the green and red went well for Christmas, but I’ve also made it for Valentine’s Day, as it comes in a heart shape.

Savory Palmiers.

Whatever the occasion, the crunchy, buttery, savory bites go well with a chilled glass of sparkling wine. And it can basically be made ahead and baked right before serving, but do remember to defrost the Puff Pastry in the fridge the night before making. Of course, eating these appetizers (and it makes 60!) isn’t going to help me at all with my COVID (?) weight gain.

It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.


Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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