Sunday, January 30, 2011


we are SO close. Nice crunch, feet, but just a little bit tacky as you hit the bottom of the cookie.

details of our successful-in-Seattle-winter recipe:
1.) drop all blinds in your kitchen in attempt to block out damp and cold.
2.) 3 egg whites, 2 Tbl. granulated sugar. Next time + a pinch of cream of tartar.
3.) 28 Tbl. powdered sugar; 8 Tbl ground almonds; 1 Tbl. baking cocoa; pinch salt.
4.) 1 hour rising time.
5.) Oven 280 degrees F, 15-16 minutes on cookie sheet (low/no sides).

will update again after next attempt!

Monday, January 24, 2011

new skirt

ever since I saw Kayte's post on fashion week last September, I've been meaning to make a skirt with an uneven hem and a lot of fullness in the back. It took me forever, but I think this is a good start! I used a simple Vogue pattern but redrafted every piece, cutting a single back panel into four, removing a ruffle, etc. etc. I left it unlined so that I can wear it in autumn as well as winter; though the seams really show (because of the colour contrast between right and wrong sides of the fabric), I'm okay with it. It's made from Vera Wang lambswool herringbone in tangerine and rust - so it's not just bright and swishy, it's also warm!
I still want to make a maxi skirt with an even more exaggerated hem, from a lighter-weight fabric for spring or summer. I feel a bit old to be shopping at Free People (for things other than socks and shoes, mind you; I found these Sanita clogs deeply discounted on their site in December), but I gotta tell ya, I am really in love with their maxi dresses and maxi skirts right now - so inspiring!


This is all that remained of the best dinner party I think we've thrown. Of course (typical!) forgot to take pictures throughout it. One little apple galette has to bear witness to a 5 1/2 hour meal for nine. Great company (rowdy! fun!), great contributions (Katie brought a delicious local cheese and wine; Milan brought one back from Switzerland and wine; Matt and Laura brought fresh, homemade baguette; Jacinthe and Jeff brought three bottles of wine), and a super-luxurious winter meal.

Why so special? Part of it was what we ate. Though it was a bit of a risk using all new-to-us recipes, everything turned out perfectly - and came together on time.

First course (and the inspiration for the entire meal): foie gras from Le Petit Schiere in Paris on toast points with tokay gelee

Second course: chestnut and sherry soup with white truffle oil (instead of the topping in this recipe)

Main course: braised rabbit in grainy mustard sauce and brussel sprouts with wild mushrooms and fried shallots. I cut the brussel sprouts into chiffonade instead of roasting them whole. Cut the roasting time and made for a nice light texture. The rabbit was AMAZING. Might also have helped that my butcher got fresh (not frozen) rabbits in the same day that I needed them. And the brussel sprouts? Funny coincidence. Turns out that no one at that dinner likes brussel sprouts normally (including Cass and I); I am on a mission to learn to appreciate them. And this dish? Disappeared rapidly. Everyone exclaimed that it was the first time they'd enjoyed brussel sprouts. Can't argue with that!

Dessert: apple galettes with walnut paste (I substituted walnut paste both to fit with the loose "Normandy" theme of the dinner, and because I'm honestly not a huge fan of almond paste. I simply substituted walnuts for the almonds in this almond paste recipe - a bit oily to handle, but worked perfectly in the recipe.) I cut the caramel sauce, at Cass' insistence. Also, as my puff pastry came in rather small sheets so that, even with rolling it out, I couldn't fit five 5"-diameter rounds on each piece, my tarts were quite small. I obviously had to arrange the slices in a different manner because I couldn't get a fan of slices to fit on the top of the tart. Also, I cut the apples very thin so that they would cook through properly (see the reviews on the recipe; it seemed many had problems with this). I also didn't bother to remove the peels.

And to finish? 1984 Calvados we brought back from La Mere Poulard on Le Mont St. Michel.

Vive la France, non?