Archive | May, 2012

Creative Bread Shapes

29 May
Penis-shaped bread

Photo by Liza Puglia

Ever since I’ve started taking pastry classes, my head has been filled with crazier and crazier ideas. I’ve started wiping down the dinner plates before serving them to my husband and myself. I’ve begun to arrange little sprigs of rosemary or basil and creatively pour sauce. Somehow presentation has become important. 

So the other day while I was planning the baguette I was going to make for a French dinner party, I had a brilliant idea…Penis-shaped baguette! I won’t act like I’m the first to think about it, the inspiration probably came from some distant memory of window-shopping at Legay Choc in Paris (I was always to timid to actually go in, don’t look the penis-shaped tarte aux framboises in the eye!) Continue reading

Books to read in Spanish when you don’t read in Spanish

24 May

Books to read in Spanish when you don't read in SpanishI devour books. They are my salvation when riding the packed subte every morning. It’s incredibly easy to lose myself in the words and almost miss my stop because of it…I’ll admit that I’ve even cried once or twice while reading in the subte, somehow I always get to the sad parts when surrounded by strangers!

My Spanish isn’t amazing, I started learning late in life, and mostly just for conversation. But reading in Spanish is something I do good, sure I don’t understand everything, but if the book is good, sometimes you don’t need to understand every word.

Here are my top recommendations for books to read in Spanish (even if you think you don’t read in Spanish.)

1. El lector por Bernhard Schlink: The original version is in German, but I happened to have a copy of the Spanish translation and read it after having seen the movie, which helped a lot in understanding what was going on. This was actually the very first book that I read in Spanish, so it has a very special place in my heart ❤

2.Travesuras de la niña mala por Mario Vargas Llosa : Very long novel, but I couldn’t put it down. Love, betrayal, Paris, Peru…absolutely incredible. Continue reading

Cornbread: Simple and Sweet

17 May

Simple, delicious cornbreadSometimes you just need simple. You need to know that you won’t be disappointed or frustrated, that you’ll get exactly what you expected and no suprises. There’s something so comforting about simple.

So after a week of making pastry cream, italian merengues and tons of macarons…I needed simple. Not to mention that there’s been a lot of talk lately about a certain someone making cornbread at a certain underground market on June 9th…I was absolutely craving cornbread. Continue reading

Bourbon Boston Cream Pie and Macarons

14 May

Bourbon Boston Cream PieWhen cooking at school (I take classes at ISMM), everything usually turns out pretty damn good. The teacher is there to help you, you’ve got all the right equipment and ingredients, the oven thermometer is accurate, a big plus is pastry making. So when we made chocolate macarons in class, I was convinced they were the easiest things in the world! Fast forward a few weeks to a frustrated cook peeling wax paper off the back of cracked and sunken macarons…I can now tell you it’s pretty fucking hard.

But really, why is it so hard to get the macarons perfect? Why do we even need it to be perfect? Leave it to the French to create a complicated, impossible recipe that only a select few can make when the wind is blowing at just the right speed. Reminds me of the fact that there is only one man in all of France, in all of the world (!) who can put an apostille on your document to make it official…sorry, expat ranting.

But in the face of disaster, there is always hope! My hope was a large bowl of bourbon-spiked ganache…which should have been the filling for my macarons, but instead turned out to be the perfect icing on my cake….or rather, Boston cream pie. Continue reading

Bad American Diners in Buenos Aires

13 May
A real American diner

A real American diner, note the dear painting.

The classic American diner. Sometimes known as the “greasy spoon” and rightly so. There’s rarely anything gourmet in an American diner, even the best ones like Lou Mitchell’s in Chicago have greasy hashbrowns and fake, processed cheese. People don’t go to diners because they like the food, people go to diners because they have a sentimental value, they make you feel comforatble…something about those red vinyl booths and white ceramic coffee cups that just scream home-sweet-home. At least for me they bring back fond memories of pouring coffee after coffee at the Brady Street Pharmacy in Milwaukee (RIP…)

So why on earth is replicating diners such a fashionable thing in foreign countries? When I first started living abroad, I gobbled up any sliver of America I could…that meant hunting out a bagel place in Amersterdam, eating Dunkin’ Donuts in the Barcelona subway station, and, of the course, spending my precious Euros at the horribly cramped and dirty Breakfast in America…in Paris. Continue reading

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