Thursday, December 13, 2007

Say a Little Prayer

My Dad, Bill, went in for routine (but hastily scheduled) pacemaker surgery yesterday. It all went well overall, but it turns out that one of the wires connected to his new bionic part has become disconnected and so he has to go through the whole thing again tomorrow. Poor guy. There's no particular need for concern, but a little extra prayer and good wishes never hurt, so thanks for sending them his way.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Quote Log, Part Deux

"I would have called, if I were awake, to tell you I was sleeping."
--Stacy Monahan re: why she neglected to have dinner with me in
Paris and made me wait for half an hour in the lobby.

"I even want myself."
--Chris La Chance after spraying himself with Tag Body Spray

"She was on the pill and she got pregnant? That's inconceivable."
--Andrew Shore

"Everyone who has a cat says their cat is not like a cat, it's like a dog and it's affectionate. That's a lie. Cats are bitches."
--Bridget Best

"I hear terms like 'floozy' and 'exhibitionist'--that just doesn't do justice to my art."
--Nicole Alvino

"She's so low. I tell you, you scrape the gum off the bottom of a baseball seat and there she is."
--Jacques Lehot

"You know, the French just really know how to use a stick of butter."

The above quotable quote is courtesy of my dear and talented friend Jenna Lane (and one of the few I still stay in touch with from high school). We were sharing a morning coffee on a brisk sunny day at the Ferry Building in SF and were talking about cooking, and she shared with me some of her recent experiments. I tried the recipe below out at a dinner party last week and it met with rave reviews, plus it's easy! Try it, you'll love it. Thanks, Jenna!

"Le gateau de Mamy," courtesy of Clotilde Dusoulier, author of "Chocolate & Zucchini" and the blog of the same name.

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 pound baking apples (I used 2 large Rome apples)
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs

You're probably not supposed to, but I made the cake beforehand and put it in the fridge, batter and all, under alumnium foil until we sat down to eat and then popped it into the already-warm oven, and it came out fine. It was a nice timing/coordination trick.

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
Grease a nonstick 9-inch round cake pan (not springform) with 1
tablespoon of the butter.

2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small mixing bowl. Wash, peel and core the apples. Cut them in eighths and arrange over the bottom of the pan.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the sugar with the eggs until fluffy. Add the flour mixture and whisk until combined. Add the melted butter and whisk again until blended. Pour the batter evenly over the fruit and bake for 40 minutes, until the top is set and golden brown. (My oven runs hot, so it was more like 35 minutes.)

4. Let the cake settle on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the pan to loosen and flip the cake onto a plate; if any piece of fruit has stuck to the bottom of the pan, scrape it off carefully and place it back on the cake where it belongs. Flip the cake again onto a serving plate. Let cool and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

5. I added a dollop (OK, more than a dollop) of stiffly whipped, not-too-sweet whipped cream.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Support Our Troops This Holiday Season

Does anyone else ever feel like the fact that we are at war doesn't really touch your daily life? I find myself walking down the streets of this great city in this great country and all of a sudden stopping short with the realization that we are in fact in a state of war and have been for several years. It feels wrong, somehow, not to be doing more on our part to support the troops, and I am disappointed in our government that there is not some sort of a call from them to us to "do our part." Whether or not you support the war, there are brave men and women far from home and their families--or perhaps without a home or family--who are laying their lives on the line every day in conditions that most of us cannot ever fathom.

I wish it were more, but if you want to do something here is a link to send the troops a USO care package. It costs $25, is tax-deductible, allows you to write a message of support, and will get you miles on American Airlines. I would like to encourage everyone who reads this to send at least one this holiday season as a recognition and thanks to our fellow Americans who are sacrificing so much in far-flung parts of the world so that we can live in the safety, security, and prosperity that we often take for granted.