Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

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

may the spirit of being thankful,
carry us
today
tomorrow
and
forever

HAPPY  THANKSGIVING

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
hey
it is the mountains
after all
we have mice
mostly
they stay outdoors
or
 under the house
however
as it begins to cool
and
snow falls
they make their way inside
it does freak me out
especially
when i find a nest
in the arm of my robe
or
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
apparently
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
toffee

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 
of
waiting in queues winding corners
for food
deemed 
"awesome"
by virtue of a great social media strategy
the food
usually expensive
often disappointing
always a lesson in compromise

i prefer
not 
finding my next great meal through a twitter feed
the next hot
rolling rip-off
can wait

artisanal
delicious
food
is handcuffed in that environment

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

arguably
they are food trucks
but 
without the 
frenzy
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
luckily
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
in 
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
occasionally
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
cheap
really cheap

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

beds shoved against 
3 of the 4 walls
and
3 strangers from california
became
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
exposing
an
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



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

tuesday night supper club no. 49 {featuring mommy? i'm hungry}

welcome to november's supper club
under our new format, we spotlight a blogger that makes great food.
this month we are featuring rachelle from
which i can't imagine
is a lasting problem
because 
this gal can cook
seriously
last month she submitted these incredible ribs
 i know they are incredible
because the very next day
i made them
and so should you

i curious about rachelle
 so
i asked some questions
it should have been 10
but i'm a dork, and asked the same question twice
mea culpa

1.  your blog has such a cute name--why did you start blogging and how long have you had the blog
The name comes from my kids of course being a food related blog I thought it was cute. I had a website page years ago (before 2003?) where I added our family recipes, then in 2007 I decided I would turn that in to a "blog" and share it with others. Little did I know of the world of recipe blogs out there then. I have since branched it off to include product reviews and giveaways.
 
2.  what is your favorite season to cook in?
Hmm, maybe Christmas time for all the goodies you get to hand out and share with all the family or Summer for the grilling.
 
3.  what 3 things do you always have in your shopping cart?
Besides the obvious bread milk or eggs, probably a block of cheese to slice or shred, fresh meats and produce.
 
4.  do you have a favorite recipe?
I have many! The one I've made most lately is this steak marinade, even my kids go "Mmmm" when they eat this dinner. http://ldylvbgr.blogspot.com/2010/07/steak-marinade.html
 
5.  besides cooking, what else inspires you?
Photography. When I see other's food photos they inspire me to try to do better with mine. 
 
6.  what are your top 2 kitchen essentials?
#1 My Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I make my bread dough, mashed potatoes, cheeseball dip and more in it. Whatever I am lazy to mix by hand. 
#2  A sharp chef's knife. I don't have anything fancy, I use my little knife sharpener tool and they work just as great. I do a lot of chopping, dicing for Holiday meals and a sharp knife makes prep go faster.
 
7.  why would you be a great dinner party guest?
I  make lots of homemade foods and more than likely you'll get to bring some home with you!
 
8.   dream dinner party--guest list,menu, drinks, music and location
I think I'd pick a BBQ on the beach, maybe in a house at the beach with some fast party dance music. I'd invite all our close friends and family. We'd feast on grilled burgers, carne asada tacos, grilled corn on the cob, my baked beans and potato salad and for dessert my famous secret recipe carrot cake and cherry cheesecake.

9. sweet or savory?
Sweet. I love desserts. Either fruit /custard pies or something chocolate
raise your hand if you want to be invited to the dream dinner party
please take some time to visit rachelle
click HERE
to go directly to mommy?i'm hungry

now it is time to see what you are cooking this week.  
remember, i pick my spotlight features from those who link up. 
will it be you? 
if you are new to the supper club, please go HERE  first, then link up





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