Thursday, April 30, 2009
And it turns out she does. The cake was lovely. Light, tasty and not a hint of grease. As you can see, it was so delectable that I couldn't keep away from it long enough to take a picture of it in its full, uneaten glory.
But that said, I can't say that the cake itself necessarily blew my mind. It was excellent, but not a new culinary experience. But if you are interested in a competent, palatable cake, the recipe is here.
However, the brown butter glaze on top of the the cake most definitely did blow my mind. There are few things in life I like better than brown butter, but it would never have occurred to me to put it in a sugar glaze. Gnocchi, ravioli, savory sauces, most definitely. But sweet things? How novel! I now count brown butter and sugar as one of life's great pleasures.
I would go so far as to say that it would be good on just about any(dessert)thing. Peaches I think would be particularly sublime with it, especially with the toasted sliced almonds Ms. DePalma recommends be mixed in before pouring the concoction over her cake. So go forth, brown some butter, add some sugar and tell me that the resultant ecstasy hasn't turned your world upsidedown.
Brown Butter Glaze
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup confectioner's sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk
a few drops of lemon juice
Melt butter over medium heat in a small, heavy saucepan. When the bubbles subside, lower the heat and watch the butter carefully, swirling the pan occasionally to distribute the heat. When the butter begins to turn a light tan color and smells slightly nutty, turn off the heat and let the butter sit. It will continue to darken as it sits.
While the butter cools, sift the confectioner's sugar into a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk until completely smooth but thick, then slowly whisk in the butter. Taste the glaze and add a few drops of lemon juice to balance the sweetness.
If you'd like, stir in some toasted slivered almonds for a little crunch.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Are you listening Margaret Russell?
Monday, April 27, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
If I'm pretending to be a starlet a la Gwyneth I think these gladiators would do nicely:
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
So I decided to look into making a set myself. I had heard wonderful things about a website called PaperSource, and my sources did not let me down. PaperSource not only sells their own stationery designs, but also sells notecards, folding cards and envelopes in every size and color under the sun. They sell decorative paper, gift wrap, crafting supplies and, my current obsession, embossers! Is it overly lame to emboss my initials on note cards by the way?
In the end, I purchased a cute little ladybug stamp, a red stamp pad, parchment colored note cards and envelopes, envelope liner templates and decorative paper with which to line said envelopes.
And I got to work stamping away:
And lining away:
Lining envelopes is stunningly easy, in addition to being immensely satisfying. All it requires is this template kit, some decorative paper that you find pleasing, scissors, a couple of paperclips and a glue stick, et voila!
A cute little stationery set.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
First of all, my favorite store? The Gardener. My mother claims that when this store first opened they did actually sell gardening supplies, but now it mostly sells various objets...the type of sleek, perfectly balanced, very tasteful household and outdoor accessories that affluent Berkleyites tend to favor. And that the odd Bay Area native now living in New York who is decidedly not affluent also loves.
Things like these Japanese flower shears, for instance:
Hinoki bathmats (and way cheaper than the ones from Viva Terra!).
And organic style tableware.
Sadly for all those non-Bay Area residents, the website does not represent the full breadth of the inventory in the stores, but if you do live out there in god's country and can visit the bricks and mortar store, you are among the lucky ones!
Anyway, back to my soap. As I was walking through the Ferry Building and was drawn into The Gardener store, I detected the fresh, invigorating scent of lemongrass. Where on earth is this coming from, I mused. From a basket of La Lavande soap, apparently. I couldn't resist picking up a few bars ($3.50 each) to take back to New York with me.
As it turns out, they not only smell phenomenal, but also create a silky, lush lather. It is all a very welcome experience first thing in the morning, from when I pull back the shower curtain and get a hint of the olfactory experience to come, to when the hot water hits the bar and I am swept away by the citrusy, astringent lather.
Even Paul, who is, despite being otherwise unconcerned with grooming products, quite picky about his soap, commented on the loveliness of the scent and lather. And let me tell you, there is no higher recommendation than the thumbs up of a big burly Englishman when it comes to genteel soaps.
Monday, April 20, 2009
About two minutes before pasta is cooked, set egg into your preferred vessel to poach. About one minute before pasta is cooked, drain (reserve a cup or so of the cooking water) and add to pan with ramps and mint. Toss to coat with butter and oil, and let cook for a minute, adding pasta water if the pasta is not sufficiently loose. Turn out onto plate and top with the poached egg. Sprinkle Maldon salt over egg to taste and serve.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
There are loads of items like these, none of them are prohibitively priced and all of which are at least nominally practical, which I believe gives one absolute dispensation to purchase at will. So go ahead, green yourself silly.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Last week it was pale green roses from a bodega on Sixth Avenue, which were surprisingly long lived, and this week, it is a bunch of Green Bells of Ireland.
I picked them up at the Dean & Deluca on 85th and Madison on Saturday, and they are still going strong, drawing up a vase full of water each day.
They are perhaps odd, but I love that the bouquet is a bit unkempt looking. It reminds me of an English country garden, and the green is a little different, a nice break from the nearly saccarhine hues of tulips. It has inspired me to make a trip to the flower market to scavenge for unusual blooms and green matter.
Perhaps then I will at least have a shot at recreating the great arrangements of Cas Trap and Remco van Vliet (their company, Van Vliet & Trap, is the official florists for the Metropolitan Museum). I mean just look at this: