I have been uncharacteristically absent from this space and my loyalties were torn. I felt my own self imposed pressure to produce, to write a worthwhile essay, weave a tale of food and culture and snap some beautiful pictures, but I had to pause and be present here in the moment in my family's life
Passover is around the corner and while I usually resort to custards, sorbets and ice creams, this past week I baked a Peanut Apple Cake to rave reviews. Originally a cardamon Apple Almond Cake recipe from Gourmet. I subbed peanuts for the almonds as we are allergic to tree nuts. I also used 1 teaspoon vanilla for the cardamon though I absolutely love the spice. I also whipped the eggs yolks and egg whites as instructed in the directions, incorporated egg whites and yolks, and only then added the matzo meal dry mix into wet mix folding it gently in a few batches to make the cake batter.
I am already fast forwarding into next month imagining my holiday table and dishes that will adorn it. This dish was inspired by Jean-Georges', Cooking at Home with a Four Star Chef by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman.The trio of Beet Ravioli with Beet Sauce, Beet and Ginger Salad and Beet Tartare is an inspiration. This recipe is entirely different from the ones in the book, but for years now, just before the holidays, I pull the book off the shelf and leaf through it in complete stillness. The sensations the images invoke are indescribable. Turn to the thinly sliced, layered and stacked up high, wedge of apple confit, and you will experience the sensations the images jumping out of the pages invoke as well.
The Oscars came and went and with them my fantasies of being a fly on the wall at Wolfgang Puck's Oscars party catering kitchen. I wouldn't interrupt, for the most part, just let me in to experience the commotion and sneak a slider or two, while the perfectly starched, uniformed waiters, zip by with the trays carried so elegantly high.