Monday, October 20, 2014

French Meringue-Topped Rice Pudding with Apples

A HOTEL

It is said that desire is a product of the will, but the converse is in fact true: 
will is a product of desire. 
- Denis Diderot 


So the cat is out of the bag. We are buying a hotel.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Caramelized Onion, Herb and Asiago Cheese Bread

ONIONED & TRESSED

Banish (the onion) from the kitchen and the pleasure flies with it. 
Its presence lends color and enchantment to the most modest dish; its absence reduces the rarest delicacy to hopeless insipidity, and dinner to despair. 
- Elizabeth Robbins Pennell 


Nose running like a second grader in finger painting class trying hard not to run a sleeve across her face, barely able to see through the thick veil of tears that have gathered, eyes stinging, I blubber nonsense about the sheer discomfort of the task yet forge ahead, press on with one, two, no three, I can get through to the end but I don't. I have to drop the knife and, a wad of paper towels pressed to my face, against my eyelids, dash from the kitchen and into the living room, fling myself towards the open window and breath in, desperately, greedily sucking in air. While husband sits cozily in an armchair and chuckles at me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Chocolate Whiskey Cake

TIME FOR A LITTLE NIP

It's not how old you are, it's how you are old. 
- Jules Renard


We are off again this week to take care of business. But serious stuff this time, signing papers and all. Meetings, financial and legal things to take care of. Dipping our toes in the frigid waves and getting acclimated to the water. And visiting one aunt. Oy.

Friday, October 10, 2014

An Agent. Step One.

THE CALM

When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. 
That’s what this storm’s all about. 
- Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore 


I was once in a hurricane. I grew up along Florida's Atlantic coast with one foot practically in the water. Our house stood on the narrow peninsula that stretched from Titusville and Cape Canaveral in the north to Sebastian Inlet, surfers' heaven, to the south. The long strip was barely a mile wide and even less in some places, divided from Mainland Florida by the Banana and Indian Rivers, bordered on the other by the ocean. It was treacherous territory disguised as tropical paradise, every hurricane that approached threatening to swallow up the land, pull it out into the crashing waves. Incalculable and capricious was the danger.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Traditional Honey Cake with Caramelized Apples

A SWEET START TO A NEW YEAR

Good news is rare these days, and every glittering ounce of it should be cherished 
and hoarded and worshipped and fondled like a priceless diamond. 
- Hunter S. Thompson 


The Jewish New Year edged its way through the tail end of summer, pushed through those last warm days and the start of the rain, bringing with it something melancholy. Maybe it was the sudden oncoming of the storms and the oppressive mugginess, the unexpected chill in the air. Or maybe I was just letting outside forces, real or imagined, disturb my peace of mind. An unforeseen bump in the road or two caught me off guard and threw me off balance and brought on a bout of wariness and doubt. But trust in the New Year to bring with it the promised sweetness, for one by one good news is here for the sharing.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tex-Mex Savory Cheddar Madeleines with Olives & Tomato Tapenade

FRANCE MEETS TEXAS

Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like 
and let the food fight it out inside. 
- Mark Twain 


Paris, Texas. Remember that film? I don't think I ever watched it, but I always found it intriguing. Oh it isn't the story as much as the mental image those two words, standing side by side, elicit. Paris. And Texas. Very mysterious in its contradiction, evocative in its contrast. Opposite ends of the spectrum. But often opposites attract.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Whiskey Soufflé with Honey Caramelized Apples

STARTING OVER: Step 6 (This is Really It)

Hard is trying to rebuild yourself, piece by piece, with no instruction book, 
and no clue as to where all the important bits are supposed to go. 
- Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down 


My husband and I are certainly no strangers to starting over. I walked away from one university and headed to another even before I had received the letter announcing that I had been accepted to the second. No turning back. I had to start over, wherever I ended up, be it in Philadelphia attending classes or in Boston working, knee deep in snow. I left one job in Philadelphia, saying a quick, breathless yes to a job offer in New York, the exchange taking place quietly while the three of us were crouched over a lithograph in my (soon-to-be-former) place of employ. I packed my things and headed to my new city, my new job, my new life before I could even consider what I was doing. And Paris? I would be starting over from scratch, my dizzyingly impetuous decision one of hazy necessity, but, again, the urge to start over.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Robert May's French Bread from 1660

Trophies of Cookery

Acorns were good until bread was found. 
Francis Bacon (1561-1626) 


As you may know – well, anyone who happened to read my article on Blanquette de Veau in The Art of Eating or Seeing Red: the Bittersweet History of the Radish in The Foodie Bugle knows that I am fascinated by the history of a food. How was a dish created, who concocted the very first one, how did it develop over the years? And very old recipes intrigue me even more than modern inspiration. I just have the idea that it was all so much more of a challenge way back when. So needless to say, I was very happy when I saw that Ilva had selected a recipe for September's Bread Baking Babe's challenge that was originally written in 1660.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Five

FIVE YEARS

Never, never, before Heaven, have I thought of you but as the single, bright, pure, blessed recollection of my boyhood and my youth. Never have I from the first, and never shall I to the last, regard your part in my life, but as something sacred, never to be lightly thought of, never to be esteemed enough, never, until death, to be forgotten. 
– Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son 


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Clams in White Wine

A CHANGING LANDSCAPE

We are the children of our landscape; it dictates behavior and even thought 
in the measure to which we are responsive to it. 
- Lawrence Durrell 


What a hectic week it's been in France! A Presidential scandal, a parliamentary scandal involving a deputy, and the far right national party trying to muscle their way closer to the top. And la rentrée, the start of the new school year and the new changing time organization, five days of class instead of four, which, of course, has led to scandal among mayors and teachers alike. Sigh. I guess a demonstration can't be far behind. On a more personal note, the sun is out and has pushed the dreary, rainy summer out, now a faded memory. The air is crisp, cool, and foreboding good things, a bright future. And our lives are about to change, so this is a very good omen.

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