Monday, August 22, 2011

LEMON RISOTTO (RISOTTO AL LIMONE)

THE WEEKEND BEFORE THE TRIP


My suitcase lies open at the foot of my bed, clothes spilling out as items are piled up, tossed on to the top higgledy-piggledy. Shorts and flip-flops, swimsuit and sandals, lipstick in every shade of pink, clothes for a conference and clothes for a shopping mall, clothes for strolling the French Quarter of New Orleans and clothes for lounging around the house in the heat of a Florida summer. Frantically have I been working, packing, writing a presentation and blog posts, planning, organizing and wishing that I had more time!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

GLAZED LEMON BUNDT CAKE

BARBECUE FANTASIES


A barbecue culture. From Girl Scout campfires to front yard grills, from Fourth of July parties on backyard decks, Brooklyn rooftops or lakeside park to summer bonfires, I’ve lived and eaten my way through many a tremendous barbecue. Foot longs nestled into soft, warm buns, burgers flipped and chicken dripping with spicy sauces were our mainstay, those homey barbecue staples both north and south, always causing endless minutes of agonizing distress and indecision, never being able to decide which to choose, wanting it all yet knowing that I would never be able to eat one of each. Tables groaning under the weight of endless bowls of cool, crispy coleslaw, tangy with vinegar, creamy potato salad studded with gems of celery and carrot bits or speckled with chopped fresh herbs; steaming bowls of baked beans, heady with the salty bite of bacon, thick with molasses, as spicy or as smooth as you please. Potatoes tossed whole straight into the fire, snuggled deep down into the coals then opened like presents, peeling back the shimmering silver foil to reveal the crispy skin and meltingly smooth flesh of a truly “hot potato”. Pyramids of sweet corn on the cob, dripping with butter, its saltiness mingling ever so perfectly with the sugary corn; each kernel cracking under the bite of your teeth, digging into the tender-cooked nibs, the best part of the meal hidden underneath her silky husk.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

FABULOUS EASY ONE-BOWL CHOCOLATE CAKES

AN EMOTIONAL LIFE IN BLACK AND WHITE


Shadows amid the starkness of pure black and white, moody and ethereal; mystery fills the empty spaces, statements clear and honest fill in the blanks. Sharp lines drawn across faces and bare torsos like the scratch of a stick pulled across the damp sand, withered and wrinkled, each deep, shadowed crease speaking years of experience; eyes burning out of the glossy surface, admitting so many secrets, hiding so many more. Black melting into gray, something ominous, sinister oozes out of each photo, emotions raw, almost palpable, a persona created from an idea, a vision. Or colors both sharp and hazy at once, rich hues of feminine pink, gold and orange of sunsets and dirt, the blues of skies both limpid and stormy. Colors emotional, sensational, creating a fairytale land of objects both living and not that feed my soul and nourish my imagination, forcing me to feel and think, inspiring me, urging me to create. Breathtaking images of life captured in a moment, a breath, so real in their falseness, portraits not portraits but rather images that reflect a yearning, an emotion, a memory, a dream inside of me.

Monday, August 8, 2011

LEMON, BLUEBERRY AND POPPYSEED MUFFINS

The best thing one can do when it’s raining is let it rain.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Our hopes were dashed to the ground before we could even find a steady footing. Summer had burst upon us sunny, hot and bright. I had painted my toenails my favorite shocking pink and had dug out my sandals; husband had slipped on his shorts and folded away his sweaters. We spent a few afternoons with the dog walking through the park, watching in wonder and amusement as Marty learned to feel comfortable wading into the cool water of the Erdre. His reluctance edged away just a little each time we went, each time he tentatively stuck a paw in the river, took a hesitant lick then waded in a little further than the previous visit. The heat pounded down on us as we strolled further into the park and poor Marty was reduced to a panting bundle of exhaustion, anxious for another refreshing dip on our way back to the car.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

BROWNIE CHUNK VANILLA ICE CREAM AND MOCHA MACARONS

EMPTY NEST


Is this what it is, the so-called Empty Nest Syndrome? Our baby boy, Simon, has been in the States for the past year and our older son, Clément, left us for his summer internship early July. We are told that our home should be filled with an oppressive emptiness, the weight of loneliness heavy on our hearts. We should yearn for the company of our dear children, their presence a necessary part of our happiness. Shall we feel abandoned, as the experts say, craving the bustle and camaraderie, desiring for nothing more than overseeing their needs and wants, preparing them hot, wholesome meals and providing them with clean and lovingly ironed laundry? Do we feel the chasm their desertion has left; are we jealous that they have quit the bosom of the family for greener pastures and the companionship of others? Just two lonely parents who have given their every waking moment for the last twenty years to a pair of beloved, darling offspring, parents now wandering aimlessly around an empty space, a home no longer a home without the noise and laughter, the demands and the exciting challenges of parenthood? A family no longer quite a family?

Monday, August 1, 2011

RASPBERRY-BLUEBERRY CINNAMON COFFEE CAKE

GOOD DAY, SUNSHINE!


Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.
~Sam Keen

Sunday. Summer has finally swept over us like a warm blanket. Waking earlier than usual, our sleep disturbed by a tumult of angst, a jumble of confusion, we felt the sun squeeze through the slats of the shutters and reach towards the bed, chasing away the discord of the night like a prayer chasing away the darkness and fear. We knew that today was the day to head outside of the city for a walk or a ride, a day to revel in the second coming of summer. After what has been a melancholy, dismal season, overnight the world has seemed to shift to right.

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