Thousands of Leaf Peepers flooded into Colorado’s High Country the past two weeks to enjoy Mother Nature’s dazzling performance. Watching our quaking Aspen leaves transform their green into golden yellow is a magical time here. From the moment we spot the first yellow leaves until they begin to turn crispy brown, it’s an ongoing conversation.
FOR WHOM THE MAROON BELLS TOLL
“Have you driven to the [Independence] Pass. It’s gorgeous now?”
“The Crystal River Valley is phenomenal. Don’t forget to stop for BBQ at Slow Groovin’ in Marble.”
“Be sure to visit the [Maroon] Bells now. Go early and go often.”
For the Break-Fast Celebration following Yom Kippur, I was asked to share a cheese board.
In 30 years of watching these leaves change, I’ve never seen it more beautiful. Then again, it might be that after a summer of drought and a devastating fire, it’s a relief to know Mother Nature can right herself with this extraordinary display of color.
More Break-Fast fare, Donna’s Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese frittatas
We’re now pivoting into our two-month off-season of Mad Dashes. Contractors with their construction teams dash into town to do what can’t be done during the tourist season. While the downtown area is being “refreshed,” at The Gant complex we’re installing a new AC/Heating system. It’s complicated! Crews are busy with road, bridge and trail repairs, all anticipating the upcoming ski season.
This is also a time, as you see in my pictures, when we dash here and there to break bread with friends we don’t often see during the busy summer. Weary locals take time from work for mad dashes to Moab, Santa Fe or Denver. Some plan longer adventures. When my friends leave for several weeks, I often keep an eye on their houses, watering plants, picking up mail, doing an occasional walkabout.
I made Lady Hélène’s Apple Cake especially for Philip Salet’s 90th birthday dinner. He’s quite a guy with memorable experiences to share. We were good listeners.
Meredith (R) contributed her Atlanta-version of Red Beans & Rice. Jessica Salet (L). As a little boy, Philip was interned at the Santo Tomas Internment Camp in Manilla so his story started there.
Unfortunately September is also the time our local black bears turn frisky, wandering down from the mountains to hunt for food. Needing to put on weight to prepare for hibernation, they eat (acorns, berries, insects, small creatures) and drink constantly, 12 hours a day. Unlike Grizzlies, black bears are harmless unless challenged.
Last Tuesday I woke up before sunrise and headed for the Maroon Bells. Brrrr It was dark and cold. I wanted to see the beautiful Bells wrapped in full-on color just one more time but without being surrounded by crowds. About 100 photographers who had staked their claim long before I woke up were patiently waiting for sunrise. So much for solitude.
Twice recently I’ve encountered a bear, maybe a two or three-year-old, 100-150 pounds, who has claimed the trail behind The Gant that I hike frequently. It’s a quiet secluded trail and yesterday we actually startled each other. Bear meets Me. He quickly scampered away and after waiting 5 minutes I scampered down the trail myself. I am sufficiently wary enough (and, scared) to deed the territory, for now, to this hungry wild animal.
Last month my son-in-law, Stephen, was appointed by Gov. Brown to be a Superior Court judge in California. He was sworn in on September 12th. Although separated by 850 miles, that evening Linda and David Stein, who actually know Stephen, celebrated this proud family moment with me.
There’s more. Yesterday, following my bear encounter I received a call from my friend whose house I am watching. “Hey Mare,” she said. “A bear broke into the house. He tore apart the framing and came in the smaller dining room window. My yard guy found it this morning.”
I had just been there the day before. There’s a sophisticated alarm system on the windows/doors that was installed last year after a bear break-in. I just knew I’d set the alarm properly. It should have gone off and scared the heck out of the bear.
This abandoned and forlorn-looking bird nest evokes memories of a summer well spent.
“Oh the alarm was on when my guy went into the house,” she said. “You set it. It just didn’t go off when the bear climbed in the window. It didn’t work. ”
There was nothing to attract the bear, no food on the counters. Bears have good memories/instincts. The same bear? He made a mess, dented the Sub-Zero and caused considerable damage. If caught he’ll be relocated or, even worse, euthanized.
All of us who live here realize we’re in bear habitat, a Fed Bear is a Dead Bear. We’re actually educated and very diligent so these encounters won’t happen. So I’ll hike other trails this fall and, after a call to the alarm company, I’m hoping next time that window will be wired properly.
Such is Life in a mountain community and pretty common throughout the West.
In anticipation of the upcoming holidays I put together a dessert board that looks and tastes like Autumn. Maple Syrup. Apples – cake, turnovers and dried. Caramel, as in chocolate brownies. And, a holiday bundt cake that can turn into small loaves, mini-bundts and cupcakes.
MARIE-HÉLÈNE’S APPLE CAKE by Dorie Greenspan, Around my French Table
A favorite recipe for many bakers, I make it several times each fall. It is also featured in FOOD52’s Genius Recipes, 100 Recipes That Will Change The Way to Cook cookbook, page 220-1
ALL-IN-ONE HOLIDAY BUNDT CAKE by Dorie Greenspan, Baking from My Home to Yours cookbook
This is a tried-and-true recipe and can be used for smaller-sized individual bundt cakes, small loaves or cupcakes. (See my pictured Sweet Board.)
1 ¼ sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger (or 1 teaspoon ginger powder)
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups canned unsweetened pumpkin purée
1 large apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 cup cranberries, halved or coarsely chopped
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
6 TBS confectioners’ sugar
2 TBS Maple Syrup
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center. Butter or spray a 9- to 10-inch (12-cup) Bundt pan.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and ginger powder, if you’re using it instead of the grated ginger.
3. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together the butter and both sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 or 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
4. Reduce the speed to low and add the pumpkin, apple and grated ginger, if using it. Don’t be concerned if the batter looks curdled.
5. Add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. With a rubber spatula, stir in the cranberries and pecans. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top.
6. Bake directly on the oven rack for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
7. Transfer to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding. Cool to room temperature on a rack with wax paper underneath.
8. For maple icing, sift 6 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar into a bowl. Stir in 2 tablespoons maple syrup, little by little, until you have an icing that runs nicely off the tip of the spoon. Let the icing set for 3-4 minutes after dripping it onto the cakes.
9. If you wish, sprinkle more pecans on top before the frosting sets. Or, just sprinkle cake with confectionary sugar.
TIPS: Feel free to substitute with dried and chopped raisins or apricots.
Wrapped well, the cake will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days, at which point it’s good for toasting; or freeze for up to 2 months. As always, it’s best when served the same day.
This Slab Pie is a peach-perfect choice for the many end-of-summer potlucks you’ll be attending. This easily made Peach Crumble Slab Pie received rave reviews. Be creative and use any fruit combo of the summer’s fresh bounty.
As an amateur photographer, using a point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot which isn’t even manufactured anymore, I have one rule: Never let the picture get in front of the experience.
Happiness is baking Challah with Lieba Mintz at the Jewish Community Center.
That’s why I missed a magnificent opportunity to photograph the illusive Sharp-shinned Hawk during a recent birding field trip. We were studying the astonishing number of Violet-green Swallows feasting on the insects at Hallam Lake when suddenly they all rose up with a terrifying kik-kik-kik call and flew off. That translates to “approaching danger,” and, sure enough, in swooped a hawk.
Someone yelled, “I think it’s a Sharpie.”
Rather than bake off my bread at the Center, I brought mine home to proof in the fridge overnight. In the morning it was ready to bake.
Deb, Jane (the redhead) and I joined 25 other women at the Jewish Center to bake challah.
I won’t even attempt to explain this!
Since 90% of this hawk’s diet is songbirds it had discovered the motherlode. This was a win, however, for the swallows and the Sharpie, coming up short, flew into a bare tree to strategize. I had never seen a good visual of this bird so, for the short minute he was perched before taking off, I took a looong look. Missed the shot, got my eye on the bird.
Food & Friendship – Wendy Weaver made a pie with these gorgeous red currants and gifted me with what was left.
I made cornbread.
It was delicious.
I also opted for experience last summer with the unexpected entrance to the music tent of the Notorious RGB. With intermission just ending, most of the 2,000 people in the tent were returning to their seats for a performance by American opera singer Renée Fleming. I was seated in an aisle seat, heard commotion and turned to see Justice Ginsberg painstakingly making her way down the steps. As her surprise arrival rippled through the crowd, a wave of people began to stand up, clap and appreciate her as she found her seat. I absorbed the experience, missed the good shot.
There’s a fine line between being a visual storyteller while still being capable of re-telling the story. It’s just one of the many minor choices in a lifetime of them for me, for us all.
For me personally this has been a summer of all kinds of choices. The good news is Aspen being an amazing place to live during the summer. That’s also the bad news. It’s impossible to do all the “amazings.”
Melissa closed her office for a week and flew to Aspen to spend some time with her Mom. Pure Joy.
Although practically at my back door in nearby Grand Junction, I had never been to the Colorado National Monument before. It’s an amazing 23,000 acres of canyons, plateaus, massive towers of naturally sculpted monoliths and red rock landscapes.
While I was reading an historic trail sign this Desert Big Horn Sheep wandered near. I don’t recommend being this close to wildlife but my only option was to stand still. He was not threatening and eventually sauntered off when cars began to stop for a look.
“The biggest, trickiest lesson,” explains author Elizabeth Gilbert,“is learning how to say No to things you do want to do – stuff that matters – so that you can successfully do a handful of things that really matter. Our only hope of beating “Overwhelm” may be to limit, radically, what we’re willing to get “Whelmed” by in the first place.”
This summer I’ve tried to take Gilbert’s advice, knocking out the “Over,” settling for just the “Whelm’s.” That’s even why I’ve taken a month-long break from this blog – can we call it a sabbatical? And, no, it’s not an aging thing, why would you even think that?
Recent research has shown that ‘most of us spend nearly 47 percent of our waking hours each day thinking about something other than what we’re doing.’ *
Although I’m thrilled to be blogging again, I’m sad that Summer is waning. So, loyal Readers, I raise this Toast to you: Here’s to relishing joy in the moment, savoring that which is fleeting and focusing on the present experience.
Food & Friendship: My Gant neighbor, Meredith Bell, who lives in Atlanta, brought me a bag of her favorite, mild Shishito Peppers.
…and then we simply tossed with olive oil before heating and blistering them over high heat. Sprinkle with salt. Voila! No utensils needed.
PEACH CRUMBLE SLAB PIE – adapted from New York Times food writer Melissa Clark, the Pillsbury Doughboy and Jane Hutchison (my Mom)
If you want to make a memorable impression with a dazzling dessert for a large summer gathering, bake a slab pie. Enlist help from our available bounty of berries or stone fruit. This dessert, which generously serves 16-18, is the busy baker’s answer to quick, simple and delicious.
First, let’s talk about pie crust. In this recipe I rely on the Doughboy. Here’s why. The stars of this pie are Colorado’s Palisade peaches and the to-die-for crumble. The bottom pie crust (use both pouches in the box) is just the foundation. We need the crust to do its job so the tasty ingredients can shine. Now if you wish to make your own crust, hooray, but I’m making three slab pies next week so ready-made crusts are my friend.
As a time-saver, choose your favorite pre-made pie crust dough. Use both pouches from a box of ready-made pie crust stacked together.
12 ripe large peaches or nectarines or a mix, peeled or not, pitted and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 cup packed light brown sugar
⅓ cup instant tapioca
zest of 3 small or 2 large lemons
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon/ fine sea salt
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups of Quaker oats (quick or old-fashioned)
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 ½ sticks unsalted, COLD butter, cubed
1. Remove pie crusts from pouches. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, unroll and stack crusts one on top of the other and gently roll the two stacked discs to an 11-x-15-inch rectangle, lightly dusting with flour if dough is sticking. Fold dough in half and transfer to a 9-x-13-inch baking dish. Carefully press crust into the bottom of the dish and completely up the edges so its flush with the top (no need to crimp the dough.) Refrigerate while preparing the filling and crumble.
2. Make the filling. In a large bowl, toss together peaches, sugar, tapioca, lemon zest and juice, nutmeg, vanilla and salt. Let stand 20 to 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange one oven rack on the lowest position and a second rack in the center position. Place baking sheet on lowest rack while oven is preheating.
4. Make the crumble topping. Whisk together flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Mix in cold butter with your fingertips until mixture is uniformly moist and comes together in large clumps.
5. Assemble the pie. Remove up to one cup of liquid from the filling if it seems too soupy. (Use it in a smoothie.) Spoon filling into crust and top with crumble.
6. Place pie on pre-heated baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Move baking sheet with pie to the center rack. Continue baking until pie is golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
TIP: This dessert does not need to be refrigerated for a day or so. Just cover loosely with a kitchen towel or wax paper. If not eaten by then (and, I’m betting that won’t happen), cover it with Saran Wrap and place in fridge.
*research project of Matthew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T Gilbert
Food & Friendship: This chard was almost too beautiful to cook. From the Overeynder Community Garden Plot
Call me crazy, but I’m wondering if the 24-hour day has declined into 21- sixty minute cycles. The world’s in a twirl, spinning a bit faster, can’t you tell? If Jupiter can claim ten more moons, bringing its number to 79, I can suggest each day seemingly three hours shorter.
Almond, Blueberry with Berry Sauce Dutch Baby
Now this isn’t a whine nor am I complaining. Summer has been kind to me. I’m grateful for every moment, relish the opportunities I’m offered and grateful for the many friends who share my passions. While I don’t know all you readers personally, I have to believe and hope your hearts beat with that same gladness. However, there’s no harm in wishing each day was a bit more elastic, stretching to fit our needs, plans and desires.
This week’s blog not only features photos fueled by those passions but also gives you a terrific you-can-absolutely-not-fail recipe. It’s fun to bake, and can adjust to any scenario – breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack or just because. You’ll recognize the “framework” as a Dutch Baby, an American creation of a batter-driven cross between a pancake and a popover.
the Dutch Baby “framework”
Although I’ve made Dutch Babies before, they’ve always been a bubble off – not enough pouf, too much puff, soggy bottom. For whatever reason, the recipe for this Baby responds to those risks and provides a structure to build your flavor. The recipe is below.
We moved to the tiny town of Aspen more than thirty years ago and I’ve been fortunate to collect a wonderful group of friends. Last week Dale Hollinger and I took lunch out to one of my “first” friend’s, Frances Ginsberg, who is finally on the road to healthy. It took years of Frances’ grit and determination coupled with medicine’s miracles to get there. Those smiles are genuine.
Spending the afternoon at Frances (seated) and Bob’s lovely Woody Creek home by the river is a treat.
For 27 of the past 30 years that Linda and David Stein have summered in Aspen, the “Delta Girls” have been spending a week here each summer. Linda and all these women, who now are scattered throughout the country, worked for Delta Airlines. For many of those years, Luky Seymour, the first person we met after moving to Aspen, and I have been invited to spend an evening with the Delta Girls.
Manee (L) made a delicious Thai-inspired dinner for us. Linda & David (the couple), Luky (middle). The Delta girls – Joanie, Janice, Darnell & Claudette
My favorite dish of Manee’s was this Tom Yum Seafood soup.
The Aspen Insitute, an international nonprofit think tank founded in 1949, is a nonpartisan forum for values-based leadership and the exchange of ideas. This week has been the Aspen Security Forum, an annual affair convened to discuss the key security issues of the day. In the past these forums have been quiet affairs. This year with Dan Coats, director of National Intelligence, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray on the docket, it was not. After listening to these men it’s my opinion that they are pretty straight shooters who believe in the rule of law and keeping Americans safe. Very reassuring.
FBI Director Christopher Wray and NBC New Commentator Lester Holt are ready to take the stage for a Conversation at the Aspen Security Forum.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein: “Exposing schemes to the public is an important way to neutralize them. The American people have a right to know if foreign governments are targeting them with propaganda.”
Although we do get some smoke from the fires here in Aspen, our birds seems to be flourishing.
a Cooper’s Hawk chick who has not yet fledged
Mallard Ducks, early morning at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies
This Ruby-crowned Kinglet is trying to hide but his rising red crest is giving him away.
FIRE UPDATE: While all the evacuees of the 6,283-acre Lake Christine fire which was 43% contained returned to their homes, they were cautioned to ‘keep their bags packed.’ As I write this the fire has flared again in a particularly northern steep section of the backcountry to 8315 acres and forced pre-evacuation notices to down valley residents.
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You can just sprinkle almonds and powdered sugar on your Dutch baby or you can add any combo of fruit and sauce and even ice cream to the shell.
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tsp almond extract
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup of toasted or roasted sliced almonds
Compote: (using blueberries)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 tbsp lemon juice
2-3 tbsp blueberry “juice”
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1.Preheat oven to 450°.
2. While oven is heating, combine all dutch baby ingredients EXCEPT the butter in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
3. Once oven is heated, add the butter to a 10″ cast iron or oven-proof skillet and place the skillet in the oven. As soon as the butter has melted, remove the skillet from the oven, brush butter evenly all over the skillet including the sides, then pour the batter into the skillet.
4, Bake dutch baby for approximately 20 minutes, or until it has puffed up and is golden brown on the edges/top.
5. While dutch baby is baking, make the compote and glaze/saucesauce. Heat blueberries (of, fruit of your choice) and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat, using a wooden spoon to break down the blueberries. Simmer on low for 5-10 minutes, then pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer, removing any blueberry chunks. You should be left with just the liquid.
5. For the glaze/sauce, add 2 Tbsp blueberry juice and powdered sugar to a bowl and whisk. If you prefer it to be thinner, add an additional 1 Tbsp blueberry, and if you want it thicker, add 1/4 cup powdered sugar.
6. After taking the dutch baby out of the oven and letting it cool a bit, sprinkle on powdered sugar and sliced, toasted almonds before adding fruit and glaze/sauce.
Since it was Emma’s 17th birthday yesterday, I added whipped cream, sprinkles and a candle to my morning Dutch Baby snack. Happy Birthday, sweet Emma.
When I was in second grade my teacher had us raise our hand if we wanted to be a nurse, fireman or fill-in-the-blank, when we grew up. She never asked if anyone wanted to be a juggler. Yet most of our lives have probably been a juggling act. How well do you juggle? These days I’ll admit to dropping a ball or two every so often. Is it just me or are the balls coming at us more rapidly?
Each year, returning to Aspen after a 5 month winter absence, I put together a summer schedule. Long ago the school of trial and error taught me having it all is a myth. Balance. To my mind that’s what gets us into ‘summertime, and the livin’ is easy’ territory.
Step 1. Mise en Place
Realizing my planning/prioritizing is simpler now because it’s just all about me, there still are tricks I find useful to remain sane. Most importantly, if you want to stay off the Meds, learn to manage that FOMO gene. (Do not get discouraged. It took me 30 years to mellow my fear-of-missing-out.) ‘You can’t ride every wave that comes along without eventually going under.’
Roast those vegetables.
Now that I have your attention, try this. Put together a summer calendar and dilute it down to monthly, weekly and daily elements. Don’t pass go until you block out your constant Non-Negotiables. (For me, that’s 1. My blog post; 2. USFS volunteer ranger work; 3. AM Yoga; and 4. Colorado Mountain College music class.)
There are so many ways to utilize cooked, softened, sweet onions.
Then it’s up to us, realizing when we can’t do it all. Here’s a thought. You are not responsible for others’ happiness or saving the world. Sure, do your part, step up to the plate, love your family and be devoted to your friends. But stick to your calendar and prioritize your competing interests. Be willing to step back and say no.
For example, I know the greatest gift of love I can offer my family is to stay healthy, engaged and happy. When my daughter Melissa doesn’t worry about her mother, our whole family wins. My four Non-Negotiables push all those buttons.
After the pre-cooked tart is loaded with vegetables and filling, it’s ready to be baked.
The brutal honesty of aging enforces new energy boundaries. I’m accepting those borders while kicking and screaming all the way. Ironically, that sometimes is a good thing. Last year, feeling a bit sorry for myself, I complained to my doctor at the end of our appointment that I couldn’t keep up with my hiking buddies. My doctor, having just read my excellent health chart, wasn’t having it. No sympathy whatsoever. “Try harder,” she said, as she left the room.
Very Full Tart by Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty cookbook
While you try harder on your 90-day summer calendar, I’ll prattle on about Yotam Ottolenghi, his imaginative cookbooks and delicious recipes. The best way to cook Ottolenghi is to read his recipe carefully, break it into parts and decide what can be done easier. For example, in this recipe I bought roasted peppers (Mezzetta Roasted Bell Peppers, Multicolor) and used pre-made pie dough (Pillsbury). Since I made an unexpected quick trip to Phoenix to help a friend, I needed to shorten the process.
Mise en Place, assembling and prepping all your ingredients, is key. Ottolenghi introduced me to unfamiliar spices I didn’t own but easily found to purchase. After prepping the ingredients, you’ll find his directions clear and easily followed. The result is a Wow. Check his cookbooks out at your local library.
VERY FULL TART by Yotam Ottolenghi, PLENTY
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
6 TBS olive oil
1 medium eggplant cut into 2-inch dice
1 small sweet potato peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
1 zuchinni diced into 2-inch pieces
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
8 thyme sprigs, picked
Your favorite savory tart or pie crust dough recipe
1/3 cup ricotta
41/2 oz feta
7 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Remove the pepper stalks and seeds, place the peppers in an oven tray, drizzle with oil and roast.
3. Mix the eggplant with four tablespoons of oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread into an baking tray and roast on the shelf below the peppers.
4. After 12 minutes add the sweet potato, stir and roast for 12 minutes more.
5. Add the zucchini, stir and roast for another 12 minutes.
6. Once the peppers are brown and the vegetables cooked remove them all from the oven and turn the heat down to 325 degrees.
7. Cover the peppers with foil and leave to cool, once cool, peel off the skin and tear the peppers into strips.
8. Meanwhile heat two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Cook the onions with the bay leaves and some salt for 25 minutes stirring occasionally until brown, soft and sweet. Discard the bay leaves and set aside. (I needed to add another TBS of olive oil.)
9. Grease a 9-inch loose-bottomed tart pan. Roll the pastry to a 1/8 thick circle large enough to line the pan with some overhang. Press it into the edges and line with baking paper and fill with baking weights or rice. Bake blind for 20 minutes, carefully lift out the weights or rice and bake the tart for a further 10 minutes or until golden brown.
10. Remove the tart from the oven and spread the onions over the bottom. Spread the roasted vegetables on top. Scatter half the thyme, dot with chunks of both cheeses and then the tomatoes, cut side up.
11. Whisk the eggs and cream with some salt and pepper and carefully pour into the tart. The top layer of tomatoes and cheese should remain exposed. Scatter the remaining thyme on top.
12. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until the filling sets and turns golden.
13. Rest for 10 minutes, release the tart and serve.
TIP: Just add a leafy green salad and this is lunch or supper.
Thanks to the Forbes Magazine’s communication council for some organization suggestions
It’s been 5 weeks since I arrived in Paris with 2 small suitcases, keys to an Airbnb rental (first time ever) and a blank slate. Albeit unnerving, the onus on me, there’s freedom in that. If my friends and family questioned the sanity of this adventure, I didn’t know it. That was truly a gift. When I asked them, a time or two or three, “Have I lost my mind?” No one said, “Yes.”
I arrived with the wind of their optimistic wishes at my back. This trip has been truly magical. Although I’ll wring every ounce of joy possible out of these last few days in Paris, going home is definitely on my radar.
Japanese Cherry Tree, (Cerisier du japon)
Meanwhile, here’s a look at Paris Week #5, best yet.
Mary & Dorie, the French Fridays girls
FRENCH THURSDAY with DORIE
We had dinner at Bistrot Paul Bert with the man himself, Bertrand Auboyneau.
As many of you know, my blog began eight years ago with French Fridays with Dorie, an international group which connected virtually to cook the book, Around my French Table. The cookbook, newly published by the James Beard award-winning author Dorie Greenspan, contained 300 recipes.
Over the next 5 years, with Dorie’s friendship, encouragement and mentoring, we made them all. And we now look forward to cooking fromEveryday Dorie, The Way I Cook, which hits the stands October 23.
The fish is Sole and was delicious but note the cauliflower.
Dorie and her husband, Michael, who have an apartment in Paris, arrived unexpectedly a week ago and asked me to join them for dinner. (My social calendar, of course, was blank.) Before dinner Michael took me out on their balcony where, starting with the Tour Eiffel and moving left, I could see every major Parisian landmark. I’ve archived that unforgettable moment.
You can see in two photos that Dorie ordered scallops for an entrée. Here are what Coquille Saint Jacques look like in the markets.
ANGELINA, MS. BELLE ÉPOQUE
Several weeks ago I enjoyed a memorable dinner at Susanna and Philippe Saint-Loubert’s home. Susanna called last week with two questions: 1) Did I like chocolate? (Yes), and 2) Had I been to Angelina’s Tea House? (No).
“I know it’s touristy, Mary,” she admitted, “but you must go once and have their hot chocolate.”
I was game so Saturday we met at the famous Angelina’s on Rue de Rivoli. Established in 1903 by Antoine Rumpelmayer and named for his granddaughter, Angelina’s is a Parisian institution. It was designed by French architect Édouard-Jean Niermans in the Belle Époque style and retains that gorgeous interior to this day. Its fame derives from its almost pudding-like hot chocolate. We happily piled on the Chantilly cream and enjoyed.
When I was walking home from Angelina’s, I stopped to watch about 100 kids breakdancing in the middle open square at the Louvre. Two young men (not shown) were the leaders.
This is the week that my home away from home included Aspenites. So thrilled to see them.
I couldn’t stop smiling. (L to R) Karen Kribs, Me, Fred Venrick, Pat Hutchinson, Nancy Alciatore and Cathy O’Connell.
And, joined by Jim Hutchinson at the head of the table. Fred and Cathy just arrived from attending the London Book Fair where she promoted her new book to be published in September. We were celebrating.
Mille Feuille Minute a la Vanille Bourbon We ate at Le MaZenay in the 3rd Arrondisement.
My longtime friend and Ranger colleague, Judy Schramm, arrived yesterday with her granddaughter, Thea. I remember when Thea was born. And, no, I did not say that. She is darling and so excited to be in Paris.
On Sunday Cathy volunteered to take Karen and me on a sightseeing stroll. Karen and I envisioned a 2-3 hour walk especially since Cathy had hip replacement surgery 10 weeks ago. What began at 11:30am didn’t end until 5:30pm, 7 miles later. Karen and I staged a sweet sit-in and were rewarded.
Les Invalides, Napoleon’s Tomb (L), Le Tour Eiffel and Rodin’s Le Penseur (R). Hôtel Biron, where A. Rodin lived and now a museum devoted to his work.
Six weeks in Paris. Alone. Studio. 3rd floor walk-up. No elevator.
Admit it, right now you’re thinking, shouldn’t she have done this 40 years ago?
But, here’s the thing.C’est dommage.I didn’t.
I joined others for a wine/cheese tasting at Galeries Lafayette led by Thierry Givone, Wine Tasting in Paris.
Galeries Lafayette is a magnificent department store in downtown Paris.
Now, three weeks into the journey, I am surprised by its so-far-so-good success. This trip was no whim but a dream which finally evolved into a now-or never-moment. I chose “now” with the caveat being a United Airlines return ticket in my backpack.
Paris-Brest, Brasserie Bofinger, 5-7 Rue de la Bastille. Four years ago my French Fridays with Dorie cooking group made the dessert pastry, Paris-Brest. I had no idea what it was or looked like at the time. So at lunch last week, I ordered it. And, ate the whole thing!
It was in February, 2014, that Paris-Brest was our recipe choice one week. This is what I made. I remember it being good enough to share.
For le plat principal, the main course at Bofinger’s, I had Scallops with creamy risotto in thick shellfish sauce.
At this point in my life I’m experiencing Paris through seasoned eyes and with layers of learning as baggage. I’m grateful for each moment here. It was satisfying, for me at least, to capture all together Rodin’s Le Penseur, Les Invalides and Le Tour Eiffel in my lens (photo above). Each of those images which represents three centuries of world history are something special to see.
Friday night I met my friends from Edinburgh, Araminta and Charles Ritchie. for dinner at the home of Susannah and Philippe Saint-Loubert. The Saint-Loubert’s were very gracious to include me.
Susannah is a wonderful cook. She made a variation of Coq Au Vin but it was her sauce that was truly authentic, delicious and red in color as it should be. Charles and Susannah
I understand that the dessert, Génoise roulée, was from a recipe of Araminta’s but baked by Susannah. With or without fruit, perfect.
With the hits, of course, have been misses. On Day 2 it took 45 minutes for me to find a boulongerie that was only three blocks away. I went the wrong way on the metro but turned myself around at the next stop. The graffiti defacing Paris’s beautiful buildings breaks my heart. And it’s obvious the French haven’t received the memo about cigarettes. If secondhand smoke kills you, I’m a dead woman!
Last week I spent a day each at Musée Louvre, d’Orsay and Rodin. At the d’Orsay there is an specific area reserved for students to work and draw.
There are always student groups at the museums. I realized I could understand what the guides were saying to the youngsters. Sometimes I hung out with the kids. No one seemed to mind.
The guides who talk to the kids keep it simple and entertaining.
This little guy resides in this pipe at the Hôtel Biron among Rodin’s art work, rent free. He’s a very cold french sparrow!
Every night I put together the next day’s plan but even so, there’s still uncertainty, a new address to find, a snafu here or there. Whether I’m deciphering a French menu, losing my way or figuring out the Paris metro system, I know it doesn’t matter how slowly I go, eventually I’ll get there. Sharing it with you makes it even better.
On Saturday at Georges Larnicol’s, a chocolatier on my street, they needed to deliver a large chocolate Easter sculpture. The delivery car was smaller than the sculpture.
There was lots and lots and lots of discussion while the girls held the heavy and fragile chocolate sculpture.
Then they tried to load it into the hatchback. Nope. Hopeless. The last I saw of them, they were taking the chocolate sculpture back into the shop.