Jezebel just reviewed The Moon By Night for Fine Lines. I don't need to tell you how many times I've read this book, or that I own that exact edition, picked up at Goodwill years and years ago. Or that I am fascinated with the fact that Mother can't wear bermuda shorts, and that the redwood and stainless steel kitchen described at the end is something I hope to one day have in my own coastal property. Fried chicken, iced tea and potato salad for dinner! Zachary is a creep! Mouthful of gravel! Painting the goddamn toilet seat!
A Ring of Endless Light is another fave, because it involves Dolphins, and who doesn't love Dolphins, until they learn about The Raping.
"I feel it is my duty, as a sales assistant, to urge you to try on a bigger bowl."
My first post went up on March 7th, 2007. And now, one year and 13 days later, I'm celebrating.
Many people who have blogs, or sites, mention the incredible things that have arrived in their lives as a result of writing and taking pictures of food -- love, book deals, friends, etc. I will tell you right now that the most incredible gift this site gave me was the gift of fear, when one day, maybe three or four months into this whole thing, none of my favorite jeans fit. Suddenly, all at once, none of them fit, and that was awe inspiring. That was Oprah, adding me to her five, that was Britney Spears, asking me to help remove the extensions from her head so she could glue in My Little Pony hair instead. But things were rectified, that situation in particular, and now I can celebrate the other gift (mentioned above) that I received.
I have met people (Tracy! Beth!) through this blog that I don't know if I'd ever have 'met', otherwise, though sometimes connections are revealed that make me laugh, because if a step had or hadn't been taken years ago we might have met anyway. I have learned so much about people, been invited to peek in on their own lives and no matter how casual our acquaintance is, it is there and it is a connection and connections are perhaps one of the things nobody tells you everybody is afraid to make after the age of twenty-three. Lately my own friends and I have been staring at each other, just helpless in our relief, and exclaiming how glad we are that we know each other, like each other and spend time with one another. We WARN one another, like "Be careful, seriously. Because I really want this friendship to be legit." My friend A told me the other day, as we curled up on couches and whined to one another, "Don't tell me I can come over whenever, because I will be over here every day." She is welcome here, every day, and so are you. Unspoken but so true -- you are all welcome here, and I hope you feel that way.
So thank you for your connections, and thank you for commenting, and letting me comment back. Thank you to Megan, Heidi, Deb and Maggie, whose sites all inspired me to start this site and mold it into something I enjoyed, something that makes me as happy as their sites each do on a regular basis. Thank you to Peggasus, who was the first commenter I ever had on both this and the earlier incarnation of B&S. Emily's site encouraged me to include all of my interests and whims beyond recipes. Sam, Fanny and ELS for kindly linking me. Another thank you to Megan, who first linked me and brought the majority of you here, somehow, because her kindness and curiosity and generosity when it comes to linking and pointing out things is unrivaled.
Thank you. Let's have some cake.
I originally planned to make this into a long-talked about Banoffee Cake, and still plan to do that. When I make this cake again. But it was so good that it was eaten long before I could around to slicing bananas, making condensed-milk dulce de leche and whipping cream. It literally caramelizes on the outside, meaning there is a severe, toasty crust that may look burnt, but isn't, not at all. Do not cut it away, because it is delicious. Wheat-y, dense and tender with caramel and honey notes, it is so good just as it is. Unassuming and not interested in your Big Shit plans, this cake just wants to chill out, listen to 'Paper Planes' and drink milk with you. It just wants to be your friend.
2/3 cup untoasted Wheat Germ 1 cup AP flour 1 teaspoon Baking Powder 10 Tablespoons softened Butter 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup Granulated White Sugar 2 Tablespoons Unsulfered Molasses 3 Tablespoons Clover Honey 1 1/2 teaspoons pure Vanilla extract 3 large Eggs
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream together the butter, sugar, Molasses and Honey until fluffy and then add the eggs, one at a time -- I did this with a whisk, but if you like, you can use a hand or stand mixer. When smooth and tan, add the vanilla extract and salt.
Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder) and stir into the wet ones, just until combined. Fold in the wheat germ, and dump into a greased (parchment-lined, if you're so inclined) round or square 8/9 inch pan. Smooth out the top, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until deep golden brown on top, risen, set in the middle and a toothpick comes out just clean. Remove and cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool for 20 more minutes. Serve slightly warm, with ice cream, or tea, to two or three or twelve.
Some time ago, I was sent a giant box in the mail.
Oh, nice. What was inside?
Assorted Chocolates, Fleur de Sel Caramels and Ginger, Earl Grey, Mint and Kahlua Truffles
Oh Charles. Based in San Francisco, with a commitment to using organic, natural and quality ingredients (for instance, their chocolates are either 41%, milk, or 61% bittersweet. Those are some nice cacao percentages), Charles Chocolates has an intense selection of tasties. Do you like that most official language? I have no idea if they know what kind of site is advertising their classy goods. But not just chocolates -- pate de fruit and Meyer Lemon or Blood Orange marmalades are among their offerings. I haven't tasted them. But I bet they're legit.
I've never had this happen before, you know, so I don't know what I'm doing beyond the obvious -- I ate these chocolates, and they were delicious. They were also free, and free from strings, and I shared them with a lot of people and we all really liked them. So I'm telling you about them, like everything else I like, only I didn't have to pay shipping and handling.
Charles Chocolates also included one of their Edible Boxes, a bittersweet and white chocolate fully-edible vessel, filled with heart-shaped truffles, each infused with either Passionfruit, Raspberry or Mojito flavors and dusted with silver or gold luster. The passion fruit was my favorite -- it's sweet tang contrasts so well with the dark chocolate, and each piece is so quality that it literally dissolves on the tongue, small enough to feel like a private indulgence. You know? Like I don't like describing food in the way of a Lifetime Movie commercial, but it was. Truly "A Private Indulgence: Starring Delta Burke and Meshach Taylor, reunited for the first time since 'Designing Women'".
But what really got to me, in that particular way, was the box of Fleur De Sel caramels included in the three-box assortment. Thin wafers of chocolate enrobed, chewy caramel that honestly taste just of butter, sugar and salt -- they aren't gloppy, and the caramel didn't spill out after the first nibble like so many others, instead it strings and tugs against your teeth and then melts instantly. These chocolates and confections aren't grainy sweet, they aren't overwhelming and in some cases (the mojito truffle) the flavors chosen for each piece almost surprise you, make you think and identify each note. Like an SAT Prep course, these chocolates. Or that Jazz CD someone keeps playing every time you're in the car. That damn Jazz CD.
They were really good. Everyone who came over ate some, and the lies I fed my loved ones and friends were intense -- this site is a secret, in that "I don't really talk about it" way, and explaining why there was a large amount of fancy chocolate delivered to me was hard. "I won. A contest." And the chocolate box, which sounds like a Janet Jackson track or something Ja Rule might rap on, was the best because people went feral -- first they didn't believe it was made of chocolate, then they'd pick it up and gnaw a corner off. So many mouths, so many happy mouths cracking into a lid, a slab of decorated white chocolate, or the box itself, which was dark chocolate. So thank you, Charles. Whoever you are, you chocolate heathen, for bringing such fantastic sin into my life. I keep pencils in your boxes, now.