Monday, May 15, 2006

Day Dream/Mother's Day

Yesterday, for Mother's Day, a friend of mine from one of my mailing lists posted the following poem. It had been a favorite of his mother's when she was alive. I thought it was really beautiful, and decided I'd share it here.


Day Dream

One day people will touch and talk perhaps easily,
And loving be natural as breathing and warm as sunlight,
And people will untie themselves, as string is unknotted,
Unfold and yawn and stretch and spread their fingers,
Unfurl, uncurl like seaweed returned to the sea,
And work will be simple and swift as a seagull flying,
And play will be casual and quiet as a seagull settling,
And the clocks will stop, and no one will wonder or care or notice,
And people will smile without reason,
Even in winter,
Even in the rain.

-- A.S.J. Tessimond


Mother's Day was a success on our end. I spent most of the weekend cooking, and served all of the mothers in my life (my own mother, my wife, and my wife's mother) a delicious breakfast of creme brulee french toast with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, followed by a timpano for dinner. The french toast was a gigantic hit -- I'll add the recipe to the end of this post. Not too hard to make, but incredibly tasty and sure to wow your guests should you choose to give it a try.

The timpano was a success as well, although I don't think my guests were as bowled over by it as they were by the french toast. Oh well -- just annoying that it didn't have a bigger impact than the french toast, especially given all of the effort I put into it (5+ hours for the timpano, vs. about 2 hours for the french toast). Timpano is incredibly time consuming to make, but it really makes a statement when it's served. If you've seen Big Night (wonderful, wonderful film) then you're familiar with the basic idea: a large puff-pastry pie filled with various vegetables, meats, sauces, cheeses and pasta. Mine was filled with 2 pounds of chinese eggplant sauteed with garlic, 1 pound of farfalle, 4 cups of marinara, 3/4 pound turkey meatballs, 1 1/4 pounds turkey sausage, 1 cup of fresh grated parmesan and 1 pound of cubed mozarella. All told, it took about 5 hours to prepare from start to finish. Here's a picture of the finished piece:

It was delicious, although it was a bit too loose inside -- I think I used too much sauce, or the pasta was cooked a bit too much so it couldn't absorb more of the moisture from the veggies and meats. Maybe both. It should really stand up to cutting a bit better than it did ....

So, sadly, it didn't plate real well -- just sort of collapsed into a bit of a mess once it was cut -- but it was amazingly tasty, and everyone had extra helpings and seemed to enjoy it anyhow. Still, next time I'll try to get the moisture levels right so it's a bit more of a success, aesthetically.

But after all the cooking, I think I'll be on Lean Cuisines and frozen pizzas for a few nights! Enough time in the kitchen for one week.

Mood: Bored
Now Playing: Aaron Copland, "Aaron Copland: The Populist"


Crème Brûlée French Toast Adrianna
(based on Chez Zee's Crème Brûlée French Toast, with modifications/improvements courtesy of Adrianna, The Pink Princess)

  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 ½ cups melted vanilla bean ice cream
  • 2 T vanilla extract
  • 6 well beaten, large egg yolks
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ lbs. challah, cut into 1-inch thick slices
  • 3 T butter
  • Maple syrup, warmed
  • Sliced fresh strawberries and/or whole blueberries
  • Whipped cream
  1. Butter a 9-by-4-inch loaf pan. Wrap the bottom and sides of the pan with strips of foil long enough to fold up and over the top of the pan for baking.
  2. Combine the cream and melted vanilla bean ice cream with extract
  3. Add the egg yolks and sugar to the cream mixture, whisking until well combined and light yellow. Place a layer of bread slices in the pan, cutting pieces as needed to fit evenly.
  4. Pour about a fourth of the mixture over the bread. Repeat with three more layers of bread and egg/cream mixture, ending with the latter. (The bread can rise above the rim of the pan.)
  5. Fold the foil over the top, place a plate on top and weight down with a can of food. Refrigerate for at least an hour so the custard absorbs into the bread. Remove the plate and can before baking.
  6. To bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place foil-wrapped pan in a pan of water that comes halfway up the sides of the loaf.
  7. Bake for about 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until firm in the center. Open the foil top to let steam escape. Let french toast cool in pan. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  8. When ready to serve, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove loaf from pan and slice into 1/2- to 3/4-inch slices. Arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until warm in the center. Alternately, heat slices on griddle.
Serves 8-10.

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