Thursday, June 23, 2011

MUSHROOM & CARAMELIZED ONION QUICHE

ONE FOR THE BOY


I hadn’t baked in several days. Or has it been weeks? The chill that has hijacked summer along with the damp seeping into the apartment uninvited has sapped my energy and my baking mojo seems to have withered and died a slow, numbing death. But deprivation seems to have woken something animal in my son, the one who complains of too much cake being shoved down his throat, the one who implores day after day that I leave him and his friends alone, to stop coming into his bedroom while they work bearing plate upon plate of baked goods. The one who always has unannounced (to me) plans for dinner, leaving me with too much on my hands and Tupperware containers full of uneaten scraps. He and Valentin, who has moved in for the month of June, spend their days in the back bedrooms working on end-of-the-school-year projects and various work assignments. They occasionally wander out of the darkness and into our half of the apartment looking for something to eat, often finding the cupboard – and refrigerator - bare. JP and I finally strapped on our safety helmets and buckled on our humor jackets, grabbed the stack of baskets and bags and made our way to the grocery store, ready to forage, hunt and gather what to feed a small family up and down the savage, untamed aisles of our local hypermarché, hoping to stave off hunger and save the young. But apparently it was not enough for the young cub. The same old same old provisions piled up around him and tumbled out a refrigerator door opened much too quickly: packs of ravioli and tortellini, cured meats and ham, cheeses and yogurts just weren’t enough to soothe the savage beast. He was bored and indignant! And with teeth bared, he spit out his displeasure at always either having too much or not enough or simply not what he craved! I was indeed a bad mother!

ORANGE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES… and a Guest Post

SHARING


Here I am, surrounded by my own brand of mess, desk half straightened yet not quite, baking supplies lined up on the spare space allowed on a kitchen table not yet cleared of breakfast dishes, one too many writing projects awaiting my attention as the documents line up impatiently on my computer desktop. E-mails tap their hypothetical fingers and toes, arms crossed and annoyance glowing almost audibly as one, two, three more ask for my participation in this activity or that challenge, demanding immediate action. I love being solicited, I am fueled by writing projects, I am more than flattered by each request for help, yet how can I possibly take on more and more as disorderly as I am, as chaotic as is my life?

Friday, June 17, 2011

JP’S LASAGNA two ways

WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN

When you love someone, all your saved-up wishes start coming out.
~ by Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973)


Stunning jewelry, expensive shoes, evenings tête-à-tête in quiet, elegant restaurants or a stroll through a bustling, noisy, laughter-filled fairground. Romantic getaways in some out-of-the-way, secluded spot or a picnic in the breeze of a warm summer day. Snuggled up together as the lights are dimmed and the movie splashes across the screen, box of hot, buttery popcorn perched between my knees or jetting off to some exotic, exciting far away dream location. Armfuls of roses or peonies, boxes of chocolate or a hot, greasy kabob with fries. Charming, often sophisticated gifts wrapped up in a dash of mystery, a jot of quirkiness bordering on the corny, smothered in some enchanted evening and definitely the way to capture a girl’s heart. With each token of love that he places in my hands, each sign of affection that he graciously and generously offers me, with each excited schoolboy grin that melts my heart as he impatiently, nervously watches for my reaction, I understand and appreciate how much he does love me.

Monday, June 13, 2011

VEGETABLE PIZZA BIANCA

STARTING OVER – STEP 2


Starting over?” he asks, full well knowing the answer, his question merely facetious and playful. “Let’s see,” he says, gaily rubbing his hands together in anticipation of all the activities born of this wiping the slate clean: the pure, unadulterated pleasure he has in going through stacks of papers for dividing into “keep”, “toss” and “file away”; combing through the minute details of years’ worth of bank statements and bills looking for errors; drawers and closets to be cleared out and straightened in a way that reminds me eerily and, I must say, fearfully of my own father on one of his cleaning sprees. I don’t know whether to tremble or to laugh at that odd, disarming glint in his eyes! Crazy eyes? The excitement is palpable in his every word, every movement as he rushes into his office and swings open the door of the cabinet where all of the household files are kept, his only problem is deciding where to start first. He adores the satisfying snap of the elastic band on each cardboard file folder he fills; with the flourish of his marker labeling the contents and his joyous, triumphant shout of “file closed!” he signals one more step taken and I know that he is happy and occupied.

Monday, June 6, 2011

SWEET FOCACCIA WITH STRAWBERRIES & CHOCOLATE GANACHE

STARTING OVER – Step 1

Like the beat beat beat of the tom-tom
When the jungle shadows fall
Like the tick tick tock of the stately clock
As it stands against the wall
Like the drip drip drip of the raindrops
When the summer shower is through
So a voice within me keeps repeating you, you, you

Night and day, you are the one
Only you beneath the moon or under the sun
Whether near to me, or far
Its no matter darling where you are
I think of you
- Cole Porter


Life is an adventure,” she said, no trace of cliché on her lips. He scooted down a little lower, snuggling deeper into his corner of the sofa. His eyes searched out her own, slightly pleading, slightly mocking, filled with the desire to believe her once again. She had just returned from Germany and stepped off of the airplane into a new life, one of risk and a daring adventure, one of complete togetherness. They were tossing caution to the wind in their great desire to grab at happiness and contentment, something so rare these days. And from here on out they would be together each and every day, all day and into the night.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

CINNAMON CHOCOLATE MARBLE CAKE with chocolate ganache

OLD FRIENDS BECOME NEW FRIENDS


Lanky frames filled out as becomes their age; low-slung jeans puddling around sandals updated, no longer dragging along the dirt in ragged abandon or political statement; hair once long and unkempt, sweeping low over the insolent, mocking eyes of youth, now cut short, shot through with gray befitting “gentlemen of a certain age” and eyeglasses now perched on the same two noses peeping out from old, grainy photographs scattered across the table. Meeting again after thirty-some years, two crazy young men now respectable members of society, doctors both, so different from those two who traveled the world together with nothing more than a backpack, a tent, curiosity and their dreams, yet still the same. They may have aged, moved on, changed lives, but what drew them together so many years ago, their passions and creativity, their humor and intelligence, are still what makes them both tick, what fuels their lives and off hours, what makes each who they are. What they had in common thirty-plus years ago joins them still and rekindles a friendship long ago lost to the dust of time.

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