Sunday, October 27, 2013
I hope your house is filled with singing- not a performance, or a recording, but humming, and spontaneous snatches of song. You know, something like this: "Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to work we go...." Here then, are a few more songs no household should be without.
Tune in again soon, for a "sing along."
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Did you ever 'see' a poem? I bet you've witnessed dozens of them. Here's one I saw late this summer. Imagine that I am reading it to you, and that you cannot re-read it to see if I said "milkmoon" or "moonmilk." These are the utterly delightful choices that people who write poems make on a regular basis. Get yourself in on the action; sharpen up a Way of the Dodo pencil and watch for a poem. You'll be glad you did.
Half as Much
There is a towering cactus;
long wavering limbs of blue, grey, green.
Cacto super gigante.
Growing at the end of one road and the middle of another,
and it blooms
in street light.
sound from greygreen arms.
A boy drove his car through the night
one hundred miles an hour
through a near telephone pole,
that carries the electricity that lights our
night dark rooms
and the lights went out
and a fire burned
and the cactus burned
And blooms were
beaten off and branches broken.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Another little noticing that I want to offer you: What you see there, right now, out your window, is someone's un-made sculpture, their un-begun painting. Maybe even yours?
I know you'll want to know a little more about Ellsworth Kelly, so here's a potted Ellsworth, and here, for the primary text folks, is something more.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Of course, I miss the days we'd try to turn a double dutch rope, but now we can... what is it we can do, again? Let me just check with Wikipedia on what it was we used to do.... In the meantime, enjoy the following visual and auditory message.
One more remembrance... I hope you are one of the lucky ones, and you will go to your HiFi and you will place your ears into the cushioned embrace of stereo headphones, plug into your receiver's 1/4 inch audio jack, set the disk to spinning, and ever so gently, guide the needle on its arm over to the vinyl groove. What you will 'click on' here is an instantaneous, but pale shadow, of a transcendent auditory experience. Just lie there, o fortunate ones, the whole 8 minutes, near to the record player and listen to the sounds go to and fro in your head. Do it for all of us.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Dear Costumeless and Counting,
Counting the days, that is, until Halloween. Perhaps you only need a little costume, just a one hour change from the rest of the year...? I have three simple costume suggestions for you:
Anime characters- you'll need one of these.
Or, how about going to the ball as a Smoker? You will be the only one at the party, I'll wager. But, man, you will look good, because these people sure do!
Happy Halloween, whomever you wish to be, and I'll see you at the Monster Mash- look for a smoking tattooed gypsy in pink hair!
Monday, October 7, 2013
The macaron is made in many interesting flavors in France. The filling is what is most often varied, but the macaron batter is also made with different flavorings. Some fillings to consider: raspberry jam, lemon curd, chocolate ganache, buttercreams of all kinds, dulce de leche. To flavor your batter try rose water, espresso powder, mint extract, grated citrus rind, or cocoa powder.
I reviewed many macaron recipes. My version is most indebted to the recipes of Jacques Pepin and Martha Stewart. This recipe will make only a few macarons- 8, maybe 12. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. Testers at the Dodo found these to be more delicious even than the macarons we ate a few weeks ago in Paris.
These have a filling that is tres French: Marron, or chestnut. I can't wait for you to taste them!
Macarons, in the Parisian Style:
one vanilla bean's worth of vanilla seed (see note on vanilla beans below)
1/3 cup of powdered sugar
1.5 ounces of almond flour (see note on almond flour below)
1 egg white
a very small dash of salt
4 teaspoons of granulated sugar
one vanilla bean's worth of vanilla seed (see note on vanilla beans below)
Put the almond meal and powdered sugar into a blender or food processor to break up any clumps of sugar or almond.
Whip the egg white until it foams; add the smidge of salt and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Add, slowly, the 4 teaspoons of granulated sugar. Beat until fairly stiff. Add the vanilla bean seeds.
Fold the almond and sugar mixture into the egg white. Mound or pipe the mixture onto a parchment covered baking sheet. Make them one to two inches wide; leaving about 2 to 3 inches between each mound. If there is a little peak on the top, smooth it down with a wet finger.
Let these trays sit for at least ten minutes, while you heat the oven to 300 degrees. Bake them for 12 to 15 minutes. You do not want them to become crisp inside. They could take as long as 20 minutes, depending on your oven and the size of your mounds.
Let them cool on the baking sheets. When completely cool, carefully lift them with an offset spatula. Pair them up into likely looking couples, and make the filling.
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sweetened chestnut cream (see note on chestnut cream)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend the butter with an electric mixer until it is fluffy and pale. Add the chestnut cream and vanilla and continue to beat until it is well mixed and sufficiently light in texture.
Put a daub of the butter cream between the two mated macarons and you also will regret nothing!
A note on almond flour:
You may use blanched almonds or almond slices, ground up to a powder in the food processor, or you may use an almond flour that is pre-ground; like Bob's Red Mill, or Trader Joe's Almond Meal.
A note on vanilla beans:
To get vanilla bean seeds out of the pod, you must have a soft and flexible vanilla bean. If yours are stiff, let them soak in a shallow pool of vodka or bourbon for a few nights. If you like, you may join them. After this period of debauchery, your vanilla pods should be able to be split lengthwise with the tip of a sharp knife. Then, use the knife's tip to scrape the tiny damp black seed from the pod and shepherd it carefully into your egg white mixture. An excellent place to buy vanilla pods (and they arrive in perfect flexible form, no soaking required) is Vanilla Saffron Imports. Their vanilla extract and saffron is also top drawer.
A note on chestnut cream:
Chestnut cream is usually sweetened- if you cannot find it, but you are able to locate unsweetened chestnut paste, you may use the paste, after you have added some powdered sugar to it. Add the sugar to taste. If you are only able to find chestnuts; pas de probleme: Just put the shelled chestnuts into a food processor, puree, and add sugar to taste. If you become enthralled by chestnut, you must try the geophysically gorgeous Mont Blanc.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
Dear Tasteful Ones,
Somebody up there likes you, too. Here's proof: Cardamom ice cream. I first tried it this Summer.
Further good fortune: There is a shop just 33 miles away that shelves the stunning Dad's Cardamom Three Twins Ice Cream.
Cardamom is the most transporting of the spices, nutmeg and mace notwithstanding. Cardamom is warmth, green sap, pepper, and the scent of the desert in the rain (also known as petrichor.)
So, what are you waiting for? Get out and get some!
Before you go, how about a David Bowie encore?
Don't forget your spoon.