Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

as this day
draws to a close
i reflect
upon the gifts
family, friends, kind strangers
health, joy, laughter
 i am thankful
right this instant
chestnuts are roasting
in our fireplace
the perfect ending

may the spirit of being thankful,
carry us


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

it is probably time to get a cat...

we have a mountain home
i often talk about all the wonderful things about it
what i rarely mention
is our rodent population
it is the mountains
after all
we have mice
they stay outdoors
 under the house
as it begins to cool
snow falls
they make their way inside
it does freak me out
when i find a nest
in the arm of my robe
under a pillow

this morning
may possibly be my favorite tell
 the pantry held an empty walnut bag
across the room
another cabinet held this

walnuts in a vase
we have
fancy mice
eating only
from the finest of crystal

Sunday, November 20, 2011

almond cake

i owe david lebovitz a debt of gratitude

while searching for 
an almond cake recipe
not calling for almond flour
i came across his recipe
one he admits comes from chez panisse

my pantry held marzipan rather than almond paste
so, i changed the recipe
ever so slightly

this cake looks light and airy
and it is
but it is also
incredibly moist
and almondy

have a slice on its own
or pair it with
 brandied cherries
peach ice cream

this cake
would be a gorgeous addition
to your 
thanksgiving dessert display
almond cake
(v.slightly adapted from david lebovitz)
1 cup + 2 Tbs granulated sugar
7 oz marzipan paste (i used odense)
1 cup all purpose flour--divided
1 cup unsalted butter--room temperature
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsp pure almond extract
6 large eggs
preheat oven to 325^F.  butter and flour a 9" springform pan.  line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.
using a food processor with the metal blade, process the marzipan, sugar and 1/4 cup flour until it resembles fine sand. in a separate bowl, mix together the remaining flour, salt and baking powder.
to the almond mixture, add the butter, vanilla extract and almond extract and pulse until a smooth batter forms. add the eggs one by one, and scraping the bowl as necessary in between additions.
add half of the flour mixture and pulse until just combined.  add the remaining flour and pulse a few times. if need be, hand stir the flour until it is fully incorporated.
pour into prepared pan and bake for about an hour.  begin checking after 50 minutes.  you can use the toothpick test to check for doneness, or whichever method you prefer.
once removed from oven and while the cake is still hot, run a sharp knife around the perimeter to loosen the cake. do not open the springform pan until the cake is completely cooled.  allow the cake to cool in the pan.  
serve with a dusting of powdered sugar

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

the original food trucks {travelogue}

i never understood
the why 
waiting in queues winding corners
for food
by virtue of a great social media strategy
the food
usually expensive
often disappointing
always a lesson in compromise

i prefer
finding my next great meal through a twitter feed
the next hot
rolling rip-off
can wait

is handcuffed in that environment

when i am in italy
i follow the markets
freshly made porchetta each wednesday
made by the same hand i shook
as we exchanged pleasantries

they are food trucks
without the 
of a trend
that may already have seen
its best days

*these photos were taken at the weekly market of a small village in umbria
(apologies if i offend any food truck vendors. some of you may have amazing food..stop hiding your light under a bushel)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

white truffles of umbria

as you may have figured
i am mid-term into an italian holiday
the bulk of our trip is in umbria
more luck
it is truffle season
the white truffles of umbria 
are highly fragrant
and prized
i met a purveyor this afternoon
and was able to get a few knobs for myself
the truffle hunter gave me a little tip
to store the truffles in a large container
aside 2 or 3 raw eggs in their shell
after several days
the eggs themselves will taste of truffle
i'll let you know
how it goes

Thursday, November 10, 2011

through this window {travelogue}

this is a window
florence italy
7 via de conti
to be exact
twenty five years ago
give or take a few months
i sat on the other side
looking out
watching merchants, tourists, students, neighbors
wander to and from
the san lorenzo market
my friends would shout 
from the street below
an invite to the jolly cafe
pink floyd videos playing all day across the back wall
grande heinekens and great hot dogs
really cheap

tacked along the walls within that room 
behind the window
letters from home

beds shoved against 
3 of the 4 walls
3 strangers from california
memory makers
memories that swarm
and ooze like honey
into the creases of our lives
of days
that changed us
made us bold
gave us a bit more context
allowed us to shed our comfort

i visit this window each time i come to florence
and this year
the 25th anniversary
the shutters are flung wide
empty building

i asked the shop keep
across the way
about my surrogate home

he simply said
non c'e piu
it is no more

*i am currently traveling about italy...gathering more memories

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

child catcher halloween costume

i know
halloween is in the past
and we have moved rapidly on to
the next big holiday
i want to share something

i am not a seamstress
there was that one quarter of sewing
in jr. high school
where we made pillows and wrap skirts

really, i don't even know 
how to sew
i do it anyway
i act unafraid
i improvise

i'm sharing with you
so you understand
it is possible
with little or no training
with a bit of creative thinking
anyone can make
these costumes
for the child catcher coat
i used simplicity pattern 5386--closed the back and didn't add the collar or cuffs
i cut the sleeve pattern as prescribed, then pinned parchment paper to it, and fashioned it around my arm to the desired shape...and cut the parchment to match. opened it up..and had a new sleeve pattern.
all of the colors and patterns, are added on top of the the original coat giving it heft.  i made this in one afternoon
the glove is a black glove with a piece of oasis duck-taped on it. the lollipops are simply stuck and hot glued.
for the planet of the apes costume
i used butterick pattern  b4574--instead of an open collar for the shirt, i kept it closed and added a rolled collar, and hemmed the shirt cuff rather than adding elastic.  from the same pattern, i was able to make the vest--eliminating the cap sleeves and shortening it to hit at the hip.  the vest is made of pleather. i was able to make the ridges by taking strips of the pleather hot-gluing 1/4" cording down the center, then sewing the strips onto the vest.  the ammo belt is also pleather, with a covering of fishnet. 

i know this all seems rather simplified...but it is to make a point
it is rather simple
the work with sewing
is in the preparation
much like carpentry
measure twice
cut once
prepare your materials
pay attention to the directions
don't sweat it
i doubt anyone will criticize your costume
while you are handing them candy

i hope you had a great halloween
aren't freaked by the notion
christmas is only 52 days away


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