August 24, 2012
After a two-week heat wave, it’s starting to cool down in Paris this week. At the Thursday Bastille market, there were yellow and orange leaves littering the ground, and the strawberries were not as numerous or quite as bright and juicy-looking as they were earlier in the summer. I know it’s only August, but as soon as the strawberries start going out, it feels like fall is on its way. What’s say we make a few lovely sun-drenched cakes to stretch out the summer a little longer, hmm?
I’ve made a version of this cake every summer since I moved into my first apartment in college. I don’t remember where that first recipe came from — possibly one of the cookbooks that my roommates brought with them — but this recipe from Martha Stewart by way of Smitten Kitchen is my favorite so far. The milk in the recipe allows the cake to stay moist throughout the long bake time, while the strawberries soften and roast into dimpled puddles of sweet jamminess. The way the strawberries make the batter buckle and puff make it look vaguely quilted. Lovely for company or for afternoon snacking.
July 31, 2012
The inspiration for this salad was, if you can believe it, cafeteria food.
Remember that trip to Zurich? At Tim’s office, I had a tiny layered salad similar to this, served in a shot glass. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to reproduce it on a larger scale back home.
The thing about this salad is, it’s like a full meal: you get the meaty component, the green component, and at the end, the sweet component. The layers only mix with each other selectively, so each bite is unique.
July 9, 2012
Last week, I put together a complex sentence in French, on the spot, at the wine shop: “Désolé pour mon français, mais je voudrais un vin avec des bulles, mais moins cher que du champagne.” The proprietor quite kindly pointed me to the section of wall devoted to bubblies, assuring me that, “Non, mademoiselle, votre français est très bon!” I was so proud of my achievement that I bought the first wine he suggested.
What I ended up with was two bottles of Crémant de Bourgogne, a refreshing blanc de blanc without the yeastiness, tight bubbles, or price tag of Champagne. I tszujed it with a wee mixer — a light strawberry syrup infused with basil — which made it pink and a little sweet and a little herbal. Perfect for a party.