Thursday, May 31, 2012

FROM PLATE TO PAGE WORKSHOP SOMERSET

ANTICIPATION TO INSPIRATION


I glance nervously, discreetly around the room and to tell you the honest truth it terrifies me. Expectant eyes boring into mine, waiting. Or, worse, blank stares, no expectations at all, or anticipation hidden and buried so deep one must dig down to find it. What are they waiting for? What must I offer them? How to guide and inspire? And is inspiration even achievable? The silence hangs heavy in the air and my doubts rise like a sour taste in my mouth, bubbling up to the surface and spilling over into my confidence.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

JULIA CHILD’S COQ AU VIN & CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CHARLOTTE

A SET OF MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING


Cooking is like love; 
it should be entered into with abandon or not at all. 
Julia Child 


We were poles apart. She strode across College Green with all the confidence of someone who has always been the star of the show, the darling of those who raised her while I, hiding my face behind a wall of bangs, rushed across campus with the self-effacing discretion of a middle child used to receiving less than my fair share of attention. She was lovely in an impish way, her short, chic bob the color of golden caramel framing bright welcoming eyes; my own thick unruly mass of dark hair the perfect shield for prying eyes. She was the ideal blend of pixie and woman, every pore of her tiny frame oozing a sensual aura that mesmerized and entranced men while I, a late blooming ugly duckling gave off waves of hard to get.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

VEAL ROLLS IN A TOMATO WINE SAUCE

HAZAN FAMILY FAVORITES 

Mangiare per vivere e non vivere per mangiare 
Eat to live and not live to eat. 
- Italian proverb 


My sons were weaned on Italian food. Their formative years were nourished with pasta in red sauce, focaccia with olives, ossobuco and Torta della Nonna. While their far-away cousins dined on fast food burgers and bbq or roast chicken and potato gratin, ours were enjoying slices of home-baked pizza or polpette, tortellini and risotto. School lunches often began with bowls of spaghetti con pesto or minestrone; after-school snacks were a homey Ciambella or Grissini with a chunk of Parmesan cheese. Italian cuisine is in their blood and Italian dishes are our family’s comfort food, infused with love and familiarity, all the warmth, goodness and easy pleasure of home. Food for the soul.

Monday, May 14, 2012

CHERRY ALMOND FOCACCIA

BREAKING BREAD: HOW SWEET IT IS!

I’m a sucker for little piglets.


A brilliantly sunny day, a chilly wind whipping my hair and tearing at our coats, we decided to put our work aside for a short couple of hours and enjoy a brisk walk over to the Hangar à Bananes along the Loire and then back again across the Ile de Nantes.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

SPRING LAMB POTATO PEA TAGINE for Mother's Day

MOTHER’S DAY

M Is for the Many things she gave me, 
O Means only that she’s growing Old. 
T Is for the Tears she shed to save me, 
H Is for her Heart of purest gold. 
E Is for her Eyes with love light shining, 
R Means Right and Right she’ll always be. 
Put them all together, 
They spell MOTHER. 
A word that means the world to me. 
- Howard Johnson, 1915 


My mother has always been a step or two ahead of her time. The only girl in her Hebrew school – her father was adamant about his daughters as well as his son receiving proper religious training – she suffered teasing, taunting and her father’s wrath when the boys played tricks on her, such as stealing her books and hiding them in the snow, yet she loved school. Following her younger sister to New York City, her sister that had to run away from home in order to study nursing – her father was adamant about girls not going to university even as his son went to MIT and Princeton – to work. She apparently, and details are sketchy, seduced my father when he didn’t return her flirting with notice. And then married him after, upon her return to New York, where she worked, from her Miami vacation, where he was studying, not having heard from him for a year until one day, according to her own telling, she received a short note in the mail announcing “Okay, we can get married now. Go see my father at this address and arrange it.” And when we were kids and the other moms all seemed to be the stay-at-home kind, this was the 1960s, she worked and did volunteer work and ran the Sisterhood as well as the Sunday school, among all of her various activities.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

CARAMEL BUDINO WITH SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE

EATING CHEZ MOI – it is all about the food


Oddly enough, for all that I bake, for all that we cook and for all that I eat…with passion, desire, necessity… I write less and less about the food. Our life is in upheaval, what with the almost new home that desperately needs a kitchen and bathroom, so many projects on all of our desks, the waiting and working and more waiting for each of us, so many distractions. Yet we take succor and comfort in the kitchen and the table, gathering around a meal like a time out, the chance to discuss, weigh, tease and laugh. And eat.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

APRIL IN PARIS bis

MONTHLY MINGLE ROUNDUP

Everything ends this way in France. 
Weddings, christenings, duels, burials, swindlings, affairs of state 
-- everything is a pretext for a good dinner. 
 - Jean Anouilh, Cécile ou l’École des Pères, 1954 


Paris may stir up images of the perfect romance for some, strolling hand in hand, arm slipped lightly through arm, with an elegant Parisien or Parisienne dressed head to toe in Dior under the Eiffel Tower or in the brilliant moonlight under the sparkling lights lining the Champs Elysées. Or shopping on the très chic Avenue Montaigne, snapping up Chanel suits or that perfect little black dress paired with those gorgeous Louboutins. Or Paris, where art meets the intellectual, spending an afternoon admiring the Renoirs and Monets, studying La Joconde or Le Penseur, or sipping absinthe in a sidewalk café with your literary circle debating Sartre or Camus. Old men playing boules in the Jardin du Luxembourg, couples entwined on fountain edges in Les Tuileries, well-dressed children scampering through the zoo at le Jardin des Plantes or under la Roseraie.

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