Experimenting: Maple Panna Cotta With Chocolate Mi-Cuit and Gelee of Wild Blueberries

It started with tiny jars with layers of chocolate mi-cuit and maple panna cotta. Searched for a third top layer, just because I wanted one…plain ganache turned out too earthy, the tastebud equivalent of squishing mud on 5* hotel sheets. Scrapped.

Perhaps I am being too open actually discussing the development process. I suppose most bloggers don’t; they pluck complete masterpieces from their brains (it seems like it, doesn’t it?). Not that this will be a masterpiece. I just need to bring Something Good to Someplace Special…Sometime. I can’t really pretend I’m an old hand at this.

Wild blueberry gelee–or jelly–turns out to be a lovely compliment to the maple pannacotta, a freshener to the brownie-like mi-cuit. It helps that the gelee is sweetened with more maple. The berries after straining looked rather lonesome, so I swirled them with some maple liqueur and snuck a few under the hollow white chocolate heart.

It all sounds a bit tooth-achy but I promise it’s surprisingly delicate.

I have a camera…and my reflex is still to reach for my phone to take a picture. Ah well.

And–no recipes. There are quite enough on the Web already. No need for my humble mumbles…

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The Prodigal Poster Returns–Now Give Me My Fatted Calf.

Why did I feel the need to take a year’s plus hiatus? That may never be known–yet–I am as beside myself about food as ever.

There are great things afoot…perhaps the fruits of which will find their way here.

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Your Wednesday Anachronism: The Absinthe Spoon

lafeuilleabsinthespoon

After enjoying enormous popularity for forty years, then being banned for eighty (or so), absinthe seems to be on the cusp of a comeback. Most of my life (okay, that’s really not a long time) I’d heard of it in ominous green whispers, probably a mark of my private Christian schooling and the lasting burdens of the temperance movement. I was quite surprised to find that the French banned this substance (la fée verte!) but the British didn’t. France even now has stricter regulations than the US, a curious thing considering the fact that…well, they’re French. I thought we Americans played the role of Killjoy Flagellants.

Anyway, I’m supposed to be talking about spoons…and these are some very cool spoons. I have a habit of browsing auction catalogues (I suppose other women might look up shoes or purses they can’t afford…well this is it for me) and I’d seen a few absinthe spoons before, but Sothebys and Bonhams etc. in their typical taciturn ways don’t say much beyond “a lot of silver”. Part of the mystery of absinthe must surely lie in the ritual, sort of like how many relish the deliberate steps of a proper tea or espresso. Add some elegant (highly collectible, too) accoutrements and you have a cocktail that transcends trendy.

The original method for taking absinthe (called the French Ritual) used a perforated spoon (as in gorgeous one above–click on it!) laid across the absinthe glass. One placed a cube of sugar on the spoon and slowly, slowly dripped chill water over the sugar until the glass was filled and the sugar dissolved. I don’t know how long that would take, but I can see how it would endear itself to la vie boheme.

This is a rare instance of an old-fashioned habit coming to life again. When was the last time a century-old ritual was revived from the dead? I suppose it has to be made illegal first…

1896 absinthe poster by Privat-Livemont

1896 absinthe poster by Privat-Livemont

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A Sad Day.

gourmetfeb1947

Dear LA Times:

I would like to call attention to an error in your article titled “Gourmet Magazine to Stop Publishing”. It seems you’ve mistakenly put ‘Gourmet’, when another term such as ‘Bon Appetit’ or ‘Golf Digest’ or ‘Self’ or some such similar synonym for second-rate-Conde Nast-title-that-deserves-to-be-trashed was appropriate.

I recommend this correction be made immediately; I suspect I am not the only reader who suffers guilt now for flipping through Gourmet titles at my Barnes & Nobles and sipping on coffee, paying gladly for the caffeine jumpstart on my body but taking the jumpstart on my soul GRATIS. Gourmet, I am sorry.

Suggested method of correction: Ms. Reichl writes a short letter for Gourmet stating that the rumors of its death are greatly exaggerated.

It was all a bad dream…

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