Tuesday, June 26, 2012

CHERRY RICOTTA CHEESECAKE VERRINES

SUMMER FUN

Life is just a bowl of cherries, don't take it serious, its mysterious. 
Life is just a bowl of cherries, so live and laugh and laugh at love, 
love a laugh, laugh and love. 
Bob Fosse 


Summer was a series of random thoughts, urges unencumbered by parental restrictions. We were left to our own devices, basketball in the driveway, hopscotch on the sidewalk, dodge ball in the grass and kickball in the street were the order of the day, every day. Innocent pleasures, our games were simple, back then in the olden days, energy bursting forth with the daylight, children exploding from houses up and down the block to gather in the street and decide what the day would bring. Maybe a bike ride to the public swimming pool or over to the library, Barbies in someone’s living room or board games at the kitchen table. There was order to our summer days, an order only we as children understood, from breakfast until a series of moms stuck their heads out of a row of backdoors to call us all in for dinner, a universal order understood and responded to immediately by each one of us.

Friday, June 22, 2012

CHARD, FENNEL AND FETA PIE

A HEALTHY MEAL AS EASY AS PIE

“If you knew how to cook, maybe I would eat," Jace muttered. 
Isabelle froze, her spoon poised dangerously. "What did you say?" 
Jace edged toward the fridge. "I said I'm going to look for a snack to eat." 
"That's what I thought you said." Isabelle turned her attention to the soup. 
- Cassandra Clare, City of Bones, 2007 


There is a lot of chatter these days around the food blogosphere about from-scratch cooking. The discussion centers mostly around whether or not we, as food bloggers, should be encouraging our readers to try it, should offer recipes simple enough for the inexperienced cook, should expect more than just our fellow food bloggers to want to cook with more than just the canned, boxed or ready-made. Some say that cooking from scratch is expensive, others say it is out of reach of the average home cook, while others say that the concept itself simply scares many inexperienced cooks away. I say it can be as easy as pie.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

LEMON CHIFFON PIE

RETRO GOES MODERN


 My father planted a lone lemon tree in the backyard. This was about the time that he went on his homegrown produce kick and had planted a small vegetable patch at the side of the house, which boasted big fat red tomatoes and long, slim chili peppers. He worked long and hard on that 6 x 2-foot kitchen garden, hacking at the hard, dry sand until it gave way, dragging carloads of manure from the horse stables on the other side of the river to feed the soil and keeping up a valiant but losing battle with the mole who dug trenches through the yard, playing his own game of whack-a-mole with a shovel. What could possibly have inspired this serious man to try and master the unforgiving wasteland that is Florida dirt? What would influence and embolden this man to spend weekends out under the harsh Florida sun in order to cultivate and ultimately harvest a couple of dozen splotchy tomatoes that his children were afraid to eat or strings of chili peppers that hung forlornly if somewhat decoratively in the kitchen over the sink, untouched, for years on end?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE MACADAMIA NUT BROWNIES

AN IDEAL FATHER


There is a story of a man that I’ve told before, a man whose one wish was to become a father. “I’ve sown my wild oats, I’ve travelled far and wide and I’ve done it all. Now that is all behind me, chapter closed, and I am ready to settle down and have children,” he said, staring into her eyes, squeezing her hand in his. “And,” he continued, face aglow, “I want to have them with you.” “Ah,” she exclaimed, eyes demurely turned toward the sidewalk, her heart beating just a little quicker, smile playing on her lips, “Ah, but I’m a nice Jewish girl! I must be married before I have children.” He pulled her closer and laughed “Anything you want!” And married they were.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE LAYER CAKE WITH CHERRIES

FIRST MEAL AND A LIFETIME IN PARIS 

Il n’y a que deux endroits au monde où l’on puisse vivre heureux:  
chez soi et à Paris.
There are only two places in the world where we can live happy:  
at home and in Paris.
- Ernest Hemingway


We were living in that tiny studio apartment – one room with a long wooden table pushed up against one wall under the window, the double bed mattress cleverly perched above on a mezzanine. The shower stood formidably in the center of the living room, odd man out, daring someone to question his presence. A tiny corner nook consisted of tiny refrigerator and sink, a poor excuse for a kitchen but perfect for our first summer in Paris. Light flooded into that long-ago space all day, warming us, soothing us even as we worried where we would move to once the real occupant of the apartment returned from summer vacation.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

INDIVIDUAL VERY BERRY CHOCOLATE TARTS

ONE MORE TIME


We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, 
because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. 
- Walt Disney 

No one ever claimed that moving was easy. Many find it a trial, both physically and emotionally draining, painful and sad. We leave a cozy nest we have created to fit us just so; each piece of art or photograph removed from the wall leaves the ghost of a memory marked indelibly on the paint, tracing our passage through time. We discover long-forgotten toys hidden behind furniture, childhoods left long ago. We run our fingers down the doorframe, counting fine, faded pencil lines recording the growth of our sons, sons now grown. We glance out the window at a view that will no longer be ours in too short a time, drinking it in, savoring every mouthful. The sentimental among us feel our heart pulling towards what is being quit, feel the poignancy of change, the growing older, that passage of time that we can never recapture.

Monday, June 4, 2012

STRAWBERRY MASCARPONE WHIPPED CREAM TART

PHOTOGENIC


My father had an old Brownie camera, a black plastic box, not too big, not too heavy, that created memories. His Hawkeye Brownie in shiny Bakelite sported a cute little carrying handle and an attachment allowing us to screw in tiny little bulbs that flashed with a satisfying pop like in an old film noir. A drawerful of square black & white photos is proof positive of his passion for capturing images, albeit sometimes blurry, stills of giggling children, smiles frozen in time, caught in the joyous movement of childhood or formally posed like good little soldiers. The flimsy, frilly-edged snapshots with the date stamped indelibly in the white edging framing the smiling – or otherwise – faces of the four of us and mom fading gently into ghosts of time past now lay strewn across my own desktop connecting me to something long gone.

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