Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Don't miss out on tonight's 31 cent scoop night at Baskin-Robbins! The third annual 31 cent scoop night benefits our local firefighters. Cool your tongue on your favorite flavor in honor of our firefighters efforts to keep our community safe coolin' fires.
That's at least 3 scoops for under a buck!
Go out and show some love for the firefighters (and your sweet tooth)!
Friday, April 24, 2009
I pine for the buttery croissants of the boulangeries and the sweet layers of fraisiers from the patisseries. Last summer I spent 6 weeks studying in Paris. And each day during those 6 weeks, I indulged in a different pastry or bread. I tried to limit this to once a day, but it was difficult wandering around the city, the smell of sweet butter wafting out of the shops, one on nearly every corner.
My favorite activity on a Saturday morning was to leave the house early and head to the boulangerie for a freshly baked pain au chocolat and a cafe au lait. The pain au chocolat is a long, thin sweet bread (like Brioche) studded with tiny morsels of melted chocolate. I would dip the pain into my cafe before each bite, allowing the delicious flavors of coffee, chocolate and butter to slide easily down my throat.
I discovered this book at a library book sale a few weeks ago. Obviously, I could not pass it up. The opportunity to create my own Parisien pastries in the comfort of my own home...! This was nearly a dream come true.
Although, I have since discovered that the ingredients available in the United States are subpar to French butter, cream and such. And the ambience created by the sidewalk cafe in Paris can't quite be replicated. But it will, at least, allow me to prolong my dreams of Paris a bit until we meet again....
My first attempt at Parisien pastries were these raspberry bars. Simple enough, non? What sets them apart from American jam bars is the addition of almond meal to the shortbread dough and a light egg wash on top, producing a nice, crunchy texture on the initial bite. I was running a little low on preserves so the full amount was cut short. But I think it turned out to be just the right amount of fruity sweetness for these tasty morsels.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
When all else fails, one can at least turn to a good meal for nourishment, not only for the body but the soul as well. One of the greatest factors in determining the outcome of a meal depends on the environment in which it is served. But, you know, it doesn't take a fancy spread of white linen and bone china to truly delight...the simplest setting can bring the utmost contentment.
I admit it -- al fresco dining is my weakness. Coming in a close second, a grassy knoll will do for a nice picnic. A basket of fried chicken with warm buttermilk biscuits, served alongside a generous dollop of homemade potato salad. I hope there are enough for seconds. Should I take a short nap in the warm afternoon sunshine now? Or after indulging in my strawberry shortcake made with the leftover biscuits? A game of frisbee is sure to ensue at some point in the day.
But perhaps most important of all is your dining companions. Dining in the company of friends can make the blandest meal sparkle like a diamond. Not to imply anything mediocre about this meal I shared with friends in a Parisien Lebanese bistro, but the simple fruit platter we were served to crown our fantastic three-course meal, was like the finest creme brulee shared in such delightful company. Our forks busily attempting to catch up the tasty morsels, we giggled as we nearly skewered each others fingers instead. I am certain my initial plans to dine alone that day would have sadly fallen short of the mark.