22 July 2014
20 July 2014
One of my favorite movies is Victor/Victoria. I can (and have) watched it over and over. Needless to say, I am a big James Garner fan.
WhileVictor/Victoria is a fave, I have a huge fondness for Westerns and in that field, Garner was a staple. When I was a kid, I had three favorite Westerns that I would watch at those moments when I needed to smile, or when I was bored, or when I just needed to be in a different space.
19 July 2014
Fry the steak until it has nice, crunchy black bits.
Our condiment of choice furthered our Appalachian cuisine theme. We made a ramp pesto mayo. Earlier this year, we gathered our ramps as we we may. Then we pickled and pestoed. The pesto used ramps and pecans. (Yes, I am firm pecan hater, but someone who did not know of my revulsion, sent me 2 pounds of Georgia pecans. Waste not, want not.) Two slices of bread and some lettuce and we had sandwich nirvana.
16 July 2014
Bunny Williams, who wrote the introduction, knows Gatewood well, as he has been a business partner of her husband. It was Williams who introduced Reed to Gatewood and the rest, as they say, is history.
14 July 2014
12 July 2014
Sad to say, there are far more tobacco chewers, than barns. It is not safer than smoking and it is far more disgusting. In an attempt to combat the proliferation of chewing tobacco consumption, especially by younger men, a West Virginian named Greg Puckett looked to the past. Why not take the Mail Pouch model and turn it into a modern campaign to quit spit tobacco.
Read about his campaign in this Modern Farmer article.
11 July 2014
I have always been a huge fan of Wes Anderson all the way back to his pre-tweeness. One of my favorite things about Anderson is his obsessive attention to detail.
In the hands of less creative director, Moonrise Kingdom, would have a Boy Scout Camp, easily recognizable book titles, and a pop-driven score. Not Anderson. In Andersonville, there are Khaki Scouts, The Girl from Jupiter, and Benjamin Britten. Nothing screams teen romance more than Benjamin Britten. Yes, somewhere there is a Khaki Scout Handbook. And yes, of the six books that Suzy Bishop held dear, including The Girl from Jupiter, Wes Anderson wrote long passages for each book just in case one needed to read aloud these fictional fictions.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou featured first time actor Seu Jorge, a famous Brazilian singer who sang David Bowie covers in Portuguese.
Did you notice the typefaces in The Royal Tenenbaums? Wes Anderson did.
In Andersonville, the worlds are self-contained and the most simple of things are fretted over with great detail. Nothing is off-the-rack. Everything is plotted and created. There is always a back story that Anderson can commandeer at any moment.
His latest movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel is based on a story by Stefan Zweig. I must admit a fondness for moody Austrian writers. I simply adore the late Ingeborg Bachmann. Anderson swears that he stole much of the movie from Zweig's Beware of Pity. The Grand Budapest Hotel features Mendl's Bakery as another location and key plot element. Mendl's has its own distinctive packaging and a famous confection: the Courtesan au chocolat. In a Wes Anderson movie, if there is a bakery with a special recipe, one can rest assured that that recipe is one that you too, can make. Further more, that particular recipe will have its own back story.
"The exact recipe for the Courtesan au chocolat has never been published or publicly disclosed as per the conditions of Herr Mendl’s will. However, the following has been collated and adapted from a several “pirate” sources in the Nebelsbad archives (including a 1963 recipe from the kitchen of the Grand Budapest Hotel using powdered eggs that was printed in the Lutz Daily Fact)."
Mendl’s Courtesan au Chocolat
Make a choux pastry of flour, water, butter and eggs. Though correct proportions may vary depending on one’s elevation and humidity, we recommend:
1 cup plain flour
1 cup fresh water
1/4 lb (1 stick) butter
4 eggs beaten in a bowl
A pinch of salt
A larger pinch of sugar
Bring the water, butter salt and sugar to a boil. Remove from the fire and quickly mix in the sifted flour. Return to heat for a few minutes, stirring, and cook until the dough forms a single lump. Allow to cool just enough to keep the eggs from cooking and stir in very gradually with a strong wooden spoon.
Cover your tray in parchment and pipe the dough into spoon size dollops. You will need small, medium, and large size pastry balls (large tablespoon, teaspoon and hazelnut size dollops) to make a courtesan. Bake in the oven at 350F(180 C) for about 25-35 minutes. The smaller pastries are best put on a separate tray as they will cook more quickly.
Remove from the oven and discreetly make a small piercing in the choux to allow the steam to escape.
Once cooled, the large and medium choux should be filled with a crème pâtissière of chocolate, egg yolks, and sugar.
1 1/2 cups whole milk
Several large pieces semi-sweet chocolate
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 spoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon flour
Cornstarch to thicken
Heat the milk gently and add chocolate, stirring to melt into a rich, almost-steaming chocolate milk. Whisk egg yolks, flour, sugar, cocoa and a few spoons of cornstarch into a smooth mixture. Add half of the hot chocolate milk to the bowl, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Then add this mixture back into the rest of the hot milk, stirring over gentle heat for a few minutes until the mixture thickens to a custard. Remove from heat and chill.
Once cooled, spoon the chocolate crème into a pastry bag and pipe into the large and medium pastry balls.
Prepare sugar icing of confectioner’s sugar, a dash of vanilla and enough milk to achieve the desired consistency. Separate into 3 small bowls and add food coloring to each - one pink, on lavender, one pale green. Reserve a small amount of white icing.
To assemble a Courtesan, dip a large ball of filled pastry in the pink icing (to the midline) and place icing side up on a small tray. Repeat with a medium pastry into the lavender icing, and place it, iced side up, atop the first ball. Press it gently so it sticks in place. Repeat with the smallest pastry in the green icing. Decorate with filigree of white icing as desired. Place a cocoa bean atop the tower as a garnish.
I must say, The Grand Budapest Hotel is not my fave Wes Anderson movie, but so far, it seems to be the only one that comes with a recipe.
10 July 2014
The shack was designed by Broadhurst Architects in D.C. They have done a second design featuring a play on an old corn crib. Check out more about this little gem on their site.
09 July 2014
How are you? It is one of those questions that is meant to illicit a short response.
No one wants to hear about our trials and tribulations. Needless to say, we have been fair to middling recently. This accounts for the fact our last three sporadic posts have all been Cocktails At The Burn Pit. Point of fact, there would have been a couple more but the doctor replaced our alcohol with antibiotics. We would have rather kept the alcohol.
But we are on the mend and will be posting away very soon.
In the meantime, Teddy tried his hand (or paw) at posting on Facebook, but he just wanted to watch cat videos and listen to tunes by my godchild.
25 June 2014
No, I am not at Rehoboth. But this shark was.
My friend, Catherine, has a big old house in Rehoboth and I am always getting photos of soft-shell crabs, shrimp, and beach drinks. Last time I was there, Catherine's mother, who is a tad bit older than I, took me on a walk. I kid you not, Celia walked me practically to New Jersey. I was pretty sure I saw Chris Christie. Then I had to walk back. Seriously, I couldn't let her walk back alone and then send a car for me because I had collapsed!
Recently, on that very beach, a shark came ashore. A live, moving shark. I told them to be careful out there walking on that shark infested beach. Catherine said it would make a good Cocktail At The Burn Pit. She was right.
Our cocktail is a variation of Sex On The Beach, a drink generally containing vodka, orange juice, cranberry juice, and peach schnapps. Peach schnapps -- I don't think so.
Here is our version.
Shark On The Beach
2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce Cointreau
2 ounces orange juice
2 ounces cranberry juice
Add all the ingredients to an ice filled shaker. Shake, then strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange slice.
Remember, if Celia asks you to go on a "little" walk, offer to stay home and bartend, instead!