Monday, January 30, 2012

CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO LAYER CAKE

ANOTHER BIRTHDAY


The secret to staying young is to live honestly,
eat slowly,
and to lie about your age.
~ Lucille Ball


Oh, grow up!” he often says to me when I’ve said or done something particularly ridiculous, a smirk dancing upon his lips, a glint of humor in his eyes. “Would you really want me to?” is my usual rejoinder. We revel in our youthful silliness and utter disregard for the rules of behavior that most seem so urgently ready to apply to folks of our age. Another birthday has rolled around and I am now squarely centered in that “woman of a certain age” category. I look in the mirror and see the lines on my skin and the silver threaded through my dark hair, I feel the weight of the years upon my shoulders, pulling me down with unforgiving severity, gravity giving me a less-than-youthful appearance. These old bones creak and the back has a tendency to slouch, the elevator has taken precedence over the stairs and fabric seems to strain at snaps and buttons. But for all of the outward changes, that slow but inevitable metamorphoses that we each go through, the visible traces left by the advancing years, I somehow feel an inward subtle shift in the opposite direction.

Friday, January 27, 2012

ENDIVE, LARDONS & CANCOILLOTTE GRATIN with a Peasant Boule

A BIRTHDAY AND A GIFT


I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it
with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.
- Eleanor Roosevelt


Small baby swaddled in creamy caramel blankets clutched to her chest, the woman in the supermarket line in front of me rattled on happily about the birth of her newest child, wondering that six weeks had already flown by. I smiled at her and exclaimed “and before you know it, 20 years will have elapsed” as I thought of my own babies, now grown men.

Monday, January 23, 2012

GALETTE DES ROIS AUX POMMES – APPLE MAPLE CINNAMON GALETTE

A LOVE AFFAIR


Happiness is the longing for repetition.
- Milan Kundera

Get me going and I can’t stop. Offer me a challenge or tell me you love something. Or worse (according to critics): all I need is a roaring success after having put off attempting something for fear of failure or daunted by difficulty for far too long and off I go! Just the tiniest encouragement, the most minor of successes or just one person I love to look at me and say “Oh, this is good!” with passion oozing in their voice and I only want to do one thing: make it again. And again.

Friday, January 20, 2012

CAULIFLOWER AND POTATO GRATIN

THE MAN COOKS… AGAIN AND AGAIN!


My men are a unique bunch: they are handsome, wickedly funny, bright as all get-out, über talented and creative. But if they are anything at all, they are discreet. Not so much shy as shunning the limelight; they loathe being talked about, are uncomfortable being shown off; they are wary of my verbosity in front of my blog and social media accounts, mistrustful of how much I talk about them to my friends; they don’t appreciate being mentioned nor do they want their photos splashed across Life’s a Feast or my Facebook page; they simply do not want their private lives bared to the world. I am woman and they are man and rarely the twain shall meet, yet as I try and understand their vagaries and respect their wishes, I sometimes, well, let’s admit it, I slip up. Ooops! But how does one such as I write something as personal as a blog or even write at all without talking about the three most basic elements, the most important components of my life?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

CHOCOLATE ORANGE GRAND MARNIER MADELEINES

ISN'T THIS A LOVELY DAY TO BE COZY AND WARM


The turn in the weather
Will keep us together
So I can honestly say
That as far as I'm concerned,
It's a lovely day and everything's OK.
- Irving Berlin


Whoosh! The wintry cold weather sweeps in, a Siberian caress, an Arctic clutch, a frosty kiss across my skin sending shivers racing through my body. Sun, glorious sun arises bright and early showing off the shimmering glaze of ice atop the building facing our own. Weeks of dim, gray misery melt away and the stunning light and the sharp, crisp cold invigorate, energize and excite this Florida girl in love with winter.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

GALETTE DES ROIS – King’s Cake

FRENCH COMFORT FOOD


No Galette des Rois!” he wails. “No Galette des Rois?” the other asks in astonishment, then shaking his head in utter disdain. Indignation hung heavy in the air, the disappointment so thick one could cut it with a knife. Hopes were blighted and I feared irretrievable, inconsolable damage to our familial relations. Crestfallen faces, harsh reprimands as they pointed accusing fingers at the half-eaten cakes sitting on the table, the cookies that I had insisted upon making at no one’s request all the while allowing the 6th of January, le Jour des Rois Mages, Epiphany, to slide by without so much as a glance, a second thought or, as they haven’t stopped reminding me, a single Galette des Rois.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

OLD FASHIONED NEW ORLEANS BLUEBERRY BUCKLE

A BIT OF COMFORT WHEN REQUIRED

The common eye sees only the outside of things, and judges by that, but the seeing eye pierces through and reads the heart and the soul, finding there capacities which the outside didn't indicate or promise, and which the other kind couldn't detect.
- Mark Twain, Joan of Arc


He sits hunched over his ipad, tapping, tapping his forefinger against the screen, a quick occasional glance up at the film on the television. Every now and then, up he pops and scoots over to the other sofa to show me something he’s working on, a discovery, an idea, always interested in my opinion, excited to share. The intermittent dazzle of sunshine energizes and gives us hope, yet the somber leaden skies that normally greet us each day with a mournful shake of the head and an oppressive sigh keep us huddled inside, so we spend our days putting together our projects and pushing towards the future.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

YOGURT CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE GANACHE FROSTING

AND COOKIES FOR MY SON


I'm an average girl, and sometimes I wish I could be more than that: to exceed excellence. As the days seem to go on endlessly, I await the 'someday' I've always been promised. That 'someday' when things are supposed to be perfect... the 'someday' when I find my place in this unforgiving world.
- Anonymous


My New Year’s Resolutions kick in! Determination, productivity, efficiency, concentration…. This is the year to achieve my goals by cleaning up my desk, keeping my nose to the grindstone and sticking to my schedule. No distractions, procrastination out the door; husband hovering around my workspace wanting to play or sons slumped against the doorframe begging to be taken shopping are to be duly ignored, finger shaken sternly and send them back to the other side of the house. Long, drawn out, amusing hours of gossip and chatter with girlfriends over skype, long, drawn out, amusing hours perusing news websites, following politics and campaigns, leaving scathing comments to this article or that, I will, yes I will control myself, I will dominate my sudden urges for pleasure and distraction, I will practice restraint!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

BEST OF 2011 – BOOKS FOR COOKING & READING



The things I want to know are in books;
my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read.
Abraham Lincoln


I love food. I love to eat. I have a food blog, after all. But while all the other food bloggers are putting up lists of their favorite recipes of 2011…well, it did cross my mind to do the same, but somehow my mind always wanders back to books. You see, as much as I love food and as much as I am always eating, and I am, I rarely enjoy a meal or a snack without a book in my hand. Food and books have been enchantingly interwoven together in my life and my memories from the earliest of times, from the moment I could feed myself, hold a book in my hand and read. My own secret garden, I could lose myself for hours in a book; hidden places, faraway lands, each book was a doorway to exotic places I could travel to, people I could become, adventures I could experience even while never leaving the safety and comfort of my home. Shy, self-conscious ugly duckling that I was, with each story that I read I was magically transformed into a smart, self-confident, beautiful heroine. And the treasure, the handsome Prince, the wonderful meal on some Parisian quay would be mine every single time.

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