Friday, November 14, 2014

Vanilla or Chocolate Sponge Cake with Cherries


Don't threaten me with love, baby. 
Let's just go walking in the rain. 
- Billie Holiday 

Autumn has arrived in full force; great swathes of leaves tinged gold and russet lie matted and forlorn in the gutters and gathered round the trees. Like mud. Autumn is ushered in with rain and smoky skies the color of dull pearls and I am saddened to think that we will never get snow, not in this part of the world. I turned my back and the city was dressed for Christmas, absent for two short days and the city was awash with cherry pickers and men in neon yellow vests and hard hats hooking holiday lights on every lamppost, swags of lights strung between buildings like clothes drying in the wind. But the gray rain-sodden days and my moody soul are not even brightened by the glittery lights, as they will not likely be turned on for at least another month. So we huddle inside and wait for news about the hotel and this weather, the changing season, makes me want to bake.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Olive and Parmesan Bread Stick Twists with Speck


Fallen leaves lying on the grass in the November sun 
bring more happiness than the daffodils. 
- Cyril Connolly 

Rain beats against the windows and batters the streets below, the wind howls (yes howls) in a terrifying rhythm against a backdrop of deep pewter gray, bruised and swollen. It is if the lovely first days of autumn carried in on November have been tarnished, have been sullied and stained by the single day of violence my city suffered.

Monday, November 3, 2014

David Leite's (via Jacques Torres) Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies


And the days dwindle down 
To a precious few, September, November - 
And these few precious days I'd spend with you, 
These golden days I'd spend with you. 
- Maxwell Anderson 

November arrived and with it our son, Simon, back from his two-month internship at a design agency in Munich. As I scooped golf ball-sized rounds of chocolate chip cookie dough onto baking sheets, he chattered away, telling me about the apartment where he stayed, about the people he worked with, about the projects he worked on and his thoughts about where he will apply for his fourth year internship next year. And his fifth year internship the year after. There is nothing like a real work experience to excite and motivate him to get through his next three years of school.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Italian Apple Cake - Torta di Mele

BACK TO SCHOOL – An Apple for the Teacher

School days, school days 
Dear old Golden Rule days 

I head back to school this week, two days in which to earn my Food Hygiene for Restaurants diploma. I was going to take the Permis d'Exploitation pour License IV course, which allows one to sell alcohol in a hotel, bar or restaurant, which I thought would be great fun, but as the Employment Agency at which JP is registered would cover the costs if JP took it, I was shuffled off to food hygiene. Well, I will be the one making the jams, cakes and breads served to hotel guests, so it is only fair. And school starts Monday.

Monday, October 20, 2014

French Meringue-Topped Rice Pudding with Apples


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


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


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.


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


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


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.


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