Monday, February 25, 2013

Game of Downton Thrones

Spoiler Alert

Season Recap:
Eddard Stark lost his neck to Lord Grantham; Tyrion dreamed of burying his face between Lady Sybil's teats.  Bran fell from the top of Downton Abbey, while Arya threatened to slice Thomas from soup to nuts. Tom Branson and Theon pledged fealty to Robb Stark, Her Grace Cersei sent Matthew to Harrenhall, while promising Mary a more appropriate match, to her son Joffrey.

Carsten and the maesters became unwilling servants of the Night Watch---
Edith is wed to Tyrion, and is plagued by dreams of dragons.  Lady Grantham plots revenge.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Do Not Disturb

I blame my daughter.
She came home last summer and read all the books.  HBO offered a freebie, and I watched two episodes.
"Ignore the naughty bits" my daughter urged, knowing me.  Once I did I was captivated by the complicated plot line and the complexity of characters. Pick up the novels and they are even more layered.  You hate someone, and a thousand pages later you have such understanding you are now rooting for them


I devoured Tomes 1, 2 and 3.  I briefly thought of quitting my job, ignoring my family, renouncing my worldly possessions and aspirations to continue Books 4 and 5.  Then I realized there are two more books planned, and it took George R R Martin 5 years to complete the most recent.

If I'm not posting, you'll know I'm savoring every page of this epic called "Game of Thrones."

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sweet Nothings

Sonnet XLIII

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why, 
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain 
Under my head till morning; but the rain 
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh 
Upon the glass and listen for reply, 
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain 
For unremembered lads that not again 
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry. 
Thus in winter stands the lonely tree, 
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one, 
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before: 
I cannot say what loves have come and gone, 
I only know that summer sang in me 
A little while, that in me sings no more.
---Edna St Vincent Millay 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Croque Monsieur

Croque Monsieur Food Illustration for recipeFirst of all, it is an OPEN face sandwich.  Second, it is NOT a grilled cheese.  And, third, it does NOT involve bechamel, a white sauce.

If you have a broiler, it is a simple as slicing bread.

Take a thick piece of bread, I prefer pain de campagne, a rustic hearty loaf.  Lightly butter.  Place slices of ham on the butter side, covering the bread (trim to fit, precisely, if you are French).  Add a layer of sliced Gruyere.  Dab dots of butter on top.  Run under the broiler until cheese has browned.
No broiler?  Butter both sides of bread, and pan fry gently until the cheese melts.
Not enough protein?  Top it off with a fried egg for a croque Madame.

Perfect for lunch on a cold, cold day.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


"The Matchmaker" Thornton Wilder's play turned movie later turned musical, stars Shirley Booth, Anthony Perkins, Robert Morse and Shirley MacLaine.

My sister and I laughed in giddy delight as kids, watching Anthony Perkins and Robert Morse, two lowly clerks, searching for adventure.  And the code word for when they found it? "Pudding!"

I suspect you think puddings are dull and pedestrian things.  If so, you've been eating the instant version.  Here's a recipe, dark, sweet, silky smooth, with all the promise of a sweet adventure.

Double Chocolate Pudding
adapted from Home Desserts by Richard Sax

In a mixing bowl blend two tablespoons corn starch, 1/4 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons high quality cocoa powder (Note: okay, I don't sniff at any chocolate bar, I accept all, from Hershey's to Valhrona, but your cocoa's gotta be good.  No, better than good, it's gotta be great.  Break the bank, dole it out to yourself in your mochas, trust me, it's worth it.)  Whisk in two egg yolks, a whole egg, then 1/4 cup cold milk.

Over a medium flame bring 2 1/4 cups whole milk and a 1/4 of sugar to boil.  Remove from heat.  Whisk half a cup of the hot milk into the chocolate mixture, then another half a cup, then another.  Return to saucepan, and gently bring to a boil, whisking all the time. Gently boil for two minutes, by then the corn starch and eggs will have wrought their magic, making the liquid into a thick pudding.

Remove from heat, add 5 ounces semi sweet chocolate (I use chocolate chips) and two tablespoons of butter.  Whisk well.  Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Pour into a container to cool. (I will admit to eating it warm, out of the saucepan). 

In Connecticut the Jewish delis top their puddings with a splash of half and half.
I recommend it highly.