24 December 2013
14 December 2013
An avid equestrian from the time she could walk, Jacqueline Onassis seems most content in the company of horses. Vicky Moon collected hundreds of these photos in The Private Passion of Jackie Kennedy Onassis. The book features photos that are widely known and many that have rarely been seen.
This 1961 photo of a tumble is one of the most reproduced. No wonder she hated paparazzi!
Actually, wrote a foreword to James L. Young’s A Field of Horses: The World of Marshall P. Hawkins. Hawkins was the equestrian photographer who took this famous picture of her falling head first when her horse balked at a jump.
13 December 2013
Art critic Martin Gayford was an acquaintance of Freud. He had known the artist for years when he volunteered to sit for him. First and foremost, we find that Freud takes his time, generally spending a year or more with each of his sitters. It is a huge commitment for the sitter. For an art critic, it proved to be valuable in site into the mind of the painter. Rather than keeping that information to himself, Gayford reveals the connection and expounds on his time with Freud.
"The experience of sitting in this pool of light, being examined so closely, is a curiousone. Staring, as LF stares constantly at me, is in ordinary life a disconcerting, even threatening act."
In the course of almost two years, Gayford and Freud talked about art and artists, friends and family, and food and animals. They visited galleries and often dined together after the session was over. This book is an eye-popping glimpse into the painter as artist told from an unusual point of view, that of the objet.
11 December 2013
Oprah was poor, but she worked hard and now she is a billionaire. Get her and emerald studded ribbon.
Anyone can grow up to be President. Look at Congress and see if you can find a single poor person. Look again and see if you can find anyone who is not a millionaire. No ribbons here.
46.5 million American live in poverty. They are not all stupid or lazy. They are not all illiterate or crazy. They are not all criminals or drug addicts. They are employed, many work several jobs. They are fiercely loyal to family and to home. They go to church, they go to work, they go to school, and they persevere at all costs. Where are their voices?
One place to hear them speak is in the writing of Scott McClanahan. McClanahan's Crapalachia is gracing many an independent "Best of 2013" list, and well it should. Truth be told, it should be on every award list this year. Subtitled, A Biography of a Place, Crapalachia takes the reader to McClanahan's West Virginia. A small town in a rural place, scared by coal and violence, and overflowing with love and imagination.
The young Scott McClanahan lives with his grandmother, Ruby, and her son Nathan. Nathan is grown man relegated to the life of a child. His cerebral palsy has confined him to a wheelchair, a feeding tube, and his mother's house. It doesn't stop him from trying to get his nephew to slip him a beer through his feeding tube or to help him with a personal ad. Of his grandmother McClanahan writes:
"She knew how to do all kinds of things no one else knew how to do...She knew how to make biscuits from scratch and slaughter a hawg if she had to. And she knew knew how to do things that are all forgotten now --things that people from Ohio buy because it says handmade on the tag. I looked at the quilt she was working on. The quilt wasn't a fucking symbol of anything, It was something she made to keep her children warm, Remember that. Fuck symbols."
After moving in with a friend as he tries to finish school. His friend, Bill, rails against homosexuality after catching a cousin engaged in the act and quotes Leviticus. McClanahan reminds him that such behavior tends to run in families and all this talk of the Old Testament make him sound Jewish. Then one day he sets up and email account: ourlordandsavior@hotmail and sends Bill an e-mail:
"Dear Bill:This is the lord...I am disappointed in your recent conversion to Judaism...
P.S. Please quit skipping school so much."
Bill is a bit surprised to get an e-mail from Jesus.
Unlike some of his friends, McClanahan finishes school. Like may people who grew up in small towns, he left for the big city. But he comes back and he writes a biography of this place.
"I tried to remember all of the people and phantoms I had ever known and loved. I tried to make them laugh and dance, move and dream, love and see...but I couldn't."
It is cliché to say a book is a roller coaster ride. Crapalachia is big old Tilt-A-Whirl of a book, spinning you one way, then the other. It leaves you dizzy and exhilarated and a bit nauseous and wondrously happy. Crapalachia is funny. At times you will laugh out loud. Crapalachia is painful. So painful that at times you will want to stop reading. Don't. Keep reading. Read everything Scott McClanahan writes.
10 December 2013
06 December 2013
04 December 2013
I cook like my Mother cooked. People were always asking for recipes and my Mother would try to give them to people, it's just that she never cooked anything the same way twice. I never met a recipe I used. This is pretty close.
The traditional pie is the one on the pumpkin can. Pumpkin, sugar, evaporated milk, whatever. The only trick to this pie is to under cook it slightly. I can't tell you anymore than that. If you cook it and leave it in the oven as long as the can says, the custard will split. If there is big gooey spot in the middle, don't take it out. A slight wobble is A-OK. Really, a split won't affect it at all. You eat the ugly piece and throw whipped cream on the rest!
The apple pie is a second attempt of a good idea. A friend of mine brought me some pumpkin cream cheese. Pumpkin cream cheese seemed like a great idea until I actually had it and didn't have a clue what to do with it. I though of using it as a base for an apple galette. I saw a recipe for a galette that touted a magnificent crust. (Let me say here that with all the "off the cuff" improve I do in the kitchen, I rarely mess with a pastry recipe, so I followed the the recipe to the letter.)
I made the miracle crust, put it on a silpat, piped on the pumpkin cream cheese filling, added the apples, raised the sides, chilled it a full 30 minutes to set the crust, put it in the oven. Ten minutes into baking, the crust had meted and cream cheese was oozing everywhere. There was no saving the galette, so I let it bake. When it was cool, I peeled the mess off the silpat and tossed it in a bowl. Everyone that passed the bowl grabbed a chunk of the...whatever. (Let me just say here, that cooking for Thanksgiving requires many battles and after the melting crust, I chose not to fight that one and capitulated to a store-bought pre-made dough. Let me also say that I never just unroll the dough and go, I always add a bit of coarse sugar, an herb or two, a touch of spice, or a schmere of butter to make the crust mine.) (Let me also say that I have never made or bought a pie crust that had enough crust to turn one pie into a dozen little pies. The instruction always say, roll the crust and cut 12 circles. Don't be fooled, you will not get 12 circles out of a single recipe for dough nor will you get them out of two rolls of pre-made pie dough. Make six or make more dough.)
Apple/Pumpkin Cream Cheese
1 pie crust or 6 or 12 little pie crusts depending on your mood
5 apples, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 8-ounce package of pumpkin cream cheese, softened, plain will work...
1 cup sugar, 3/4 for filling, 1/4 cup for dusting the apples
1 teaspoon quatre épices, or pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Cut the pie crust in small circles, slightly larger than the cupcake tins as you will want about 1/2 inch of the crust to stick up above the pan edges. Place them in a cupcake pan.
2. Peel and cut the apples and immediately dust with 1/4 cup sugar and the spice.
3. In a bowl, mix the softened cream cheese, the egg, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
4. Evenly distribute the cream cheese mixture onto the bottom of the pie crusts.
5. Top the cream cheese mixture with the apples.
6. Press the sides of the crust around the apples.
7. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes
(If you want to make one gallette, leave the crust in tact, spread the cream cheese in the middle of the crust, leaving about a 2 inches boarder of crust. Place the apples on top and bring the plain edges of crust up around the mixture. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Generally, a gallet is baked on a cookie sheet, but feel free to cheat and cook it in a pie pan, just in case your crust fails.)
The pumpkin mousse in a ginger snap crust is an amalgam of about six recipes from the mundane to the sublime. There is a Philadelphia Cream Cheese recipe calling for cream cheese, Cool Whip and pre-made graham cracker crust. There is a sublime recipe over at my one of my favorite blogs, Yummy Books. Mine falls in between.
Pumpkin Mousse in a Ginger Snap Crust
1 box ginger snaps
1 stick melted butter
1/4 cup soft diced ginger (This is optional, thought I have said it before and I will say it again, this is one of my favorite cooking items. Toss a spoon full in a vinaigrette, add it to a barbecue sauce, put it in a curry, you can't go wrong...)
Crush the ginger snaps in a food processor. Add the ginger if desired. Slowly add the melted butter, pulsing until the wet crumbs hold together. Remove the crumb mixture and place in a tart pan with a removable bottom that is at least 2 inches high. Press the crust into the pan, filling the flutes with the crust. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool.
1 can pumpkin
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 small package cream cheese (4 ounce), softened
8 ounces of plain goat cheese, softened
1 cup 10 X powdered sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon quatre épices or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
(It is very, very important to make sure the butter, cream cheese and goat cheese are softened. They need to give easily when touched. If they appear to be too cold or lumpy, you can force the cheeses and butter through a wire strainer with the back of a spoon. You can also just put them in the stand mixer and let them beat beat and beat till smooth.)
1. Sift the spices and sugars into a small bowl.
2. In a stand mixer, whip the softened butter, cream cheese and goat cheese until very smooth.
3. Add the pumpkin and beat until incorporated.
4. Add the sugar mixture and beat again, till fully incorporated.
5. Pour the mousse into the cooled pie shell and refrigerate overnight.
Don't have time to bake the crust? Try this:
If you own one of those mini cheesecake pans with the removable bottoms, just lay a ginger snap in the bottom and add the mousse.
Simply crumble the cookies into the bottom of jelly jars or ramekins and dollop in the mousse.
Try chocolate cookies. (Yummy Books uses almond cookies and rosemary for their crust.)
Use your favorite granola for the crust.
Be bold. Experiment. If you screw it up, just scrape it into a bowl and refuse to give anyone the recipe!
03 December 2013
Holly Golightly gifts.
Penny Lane gifts.
Margot Tenenbaum gifts.
Claudia Kishi gifts.
We are making a list...
|Marianne Moore by Richard Avedon|
One of our favorite blogs is Letters of Note. They post letters... of note. Some not that noteworthy, but always a joy. One of the things we love about blogs is the way they jog the mind. Obscure ideas, people, places, and things that one knows are out there, but often tucked away in the recesses of the mind until...
We are very fond of the letters of poets and treasure the Selected Letters of Marianne Moore.
Marianne Moore was quite the gal about town. Moore was fixture in New York both inside and outside literary circles. She often ventured out in a cape and an iconic tricorne hat. Moore never married and lived with her mother. She won most prizes associated with poetry, including the Pulitzer.
Moore loved boxing and in 1963, Muhammad Ali, then Cassius Clay, recorded an album. He asked Marianne Moore to write the liner notes.
Moore was a huge fan of baseball and in 1968, Moore threw out the first pitch for the Yankees.
Letters of Note reminded us of a rather unusual job undertaken by the poet Marianne Moore. As she was nearing 70, The Ford Motor Company called upon the poet to name its new line of cars. Ford believed that the best way to find a name for the car was to go directly to someone who knew the language, so the asked a poet. Read her correspondence with Ford at Letters of Note.
Thanks to Marianne Moore we are still driving around in the Utopian Turtletop. Sorry, we are still driving around in the Edsel.