Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Visual Feast IX


For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. 
 – Ivan Panin 

An argument with my son about the aesthetics of cemeteries has me thinking of beauty.

A brief but hysterical phone call berating me for posting so many photographs of cemeteries, of graves and headstones, everlasting ceramic floral arrangements nicked and chipped, monuments to the often-forgotten dead. On instagram. Morbid. Horrific. Bad taste.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Chocolate Breton Cookies or Palets Bretons


J'aime la Bretagne, j'y trouve le sauvage, le primitif. Quand mes sabots résonnent sur ce sol de granit, j'entends le son sourd, mat et puissant que je cherche en peinture. 
- Paul Gauguin, letter to Emile Schuffenecker, 1888 

The boisterous clamor drags up from the street below and bangs on my window, calling for attention. I pull myself away from my work and press my nose against the cool pane to see what the hullabaloo is all about. A sea of black and white dotted with red swims by, banners unfurled, flags waving. Another demonstration, you say. The French taking to the streets, yet again, to voice disagreement and disillusionment? The French marching, chanting, stirring up controversy and making uncompromising, impractical demands? Well, almost but not quite. This is Nantes, after all.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pretzel Croissants


Fusion food as a concept is kind of trying to quite consciously fuse things that are sometimes quite contradictory, sometimes quite far apart, to see if they'd work. 
- Yotam Ottolenghi 

Rare is the occasion that I come across something that perfectly embodies the two cultures I am straddling, that of my own, my American culture, and that of my French husband. Food has always been an important cultural learning tool in our home and we have always been comfortable in the habit of keeping the dishes, foods and baked goods we serve our sons traditional and unsullied by any concept of fusion. The better with which to teach them about their individual and separate heritages. And to tell the truth, I am sometimes put off by those amalgams, those often tiring mélanges of flavors and ideas that just should not be fused. Cronuts, for heavens sake! Duffins! And please, don't even get me started on Thanksgivukkah!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

French Financiers with Blueberries or Chocolate Chips


Perhaps this is what the stories meant when they called somebody heartsick. Your heart and your stomach and your whole insides felt empty and hollow and aching. 
Gabriel García Márquez 

I've been thinking about heartbreak lately. The concept of a broken heart. The heart is but an organ, a "hollow pumplike organ of blood circulation", claims the dictionary, a known expert. It feels no emotion yet it is considered to be "the seat of life and emotions." Funny that. So why, tell me, why does one feel such soreness in the region of the heart when the brain ponders something ineffably sad, such as the loss of a loved one? Why not the brain where the thoughts collect and seethe? Why is it the heart that pounds, why is there distress in the center of the chest, a pain like searing white heat, an intense pain as if someone has reached into your very core and ripped it out, knocking the breath out of you?

Monday, April 7, 2014

An Easy Wonderful One-Bowl Chocolate Cake


Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 
"What? You too? I thought I was the only one." 
C.S. Lewis 

This post is linked to Creative Culinary and Barb's tremendous words about internet friendships, a chocolate cake and the Saveur Best Food Blog Awards. Please hop over and read her great post. And be rewarded with cake! 

My husband was the hardest to convince. He has seen me sitting at my laptop day in and day out for the better part of six years, typing and chatting. He has watched me engage on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram with a passion and fervor that surprised him. And he has spent so many years rolling his eyes in ridicule, shrugging his shoulders and furrowing his brow in dismay, begging me to disconnect. How many of us have non-blogging partners that feel the same way? He has also decried my "naiveté" in believing that people I have met and chat with on any social media site could possibly be true friends.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Cocoa Espresso Almond Passover Sponge Cake (gluten free)


It's spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!  
- Mark Twain

The arrival of Passover each year means many things: springtime is in the air, the hard, driving, icy winter rain has transformed into a milder, warmer drizzle; boxes of matzo are stacked on my kitchen counter, anxious to be turned into sweet and savory treats or simply smeared with butter and jam for breakfast; and (best of all) I get to twiddle around with recipes and come up with a new cake for the family, one without either flour or raising agent.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Caramelized Onion and Raisin Couscous Tfaya


People's dreams are made out of what they do all day. The same way a dog that runs after rabbits will dream of rabbits. It's what you do that makes your soul, not the other way around. 
- Barbara Kingsolver 

It's been a hectic week around here between the post-IACP conference catching up and the follow-up emails and the post-away-from-home time spent with my little family; I've been in a whirlwind. The Plated Stories Workshop inches closer and I am busy at work finalizing my new program and work sessions and looking for the next great workshop location. Marty, as many of you who follow me on Facebook know, has been sick and is now as I write in the hospital as they try and figure out what is wrong. A Martyless house is no home. Two good things have happened this week that I would like to share with you.


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