Saturday, February 27, 2010

Less than perfect


It's a relief to be my age.  Well, most days anyway.   Perfection just isn't a concern.  I don't have to even worry about it.   I used to comb the beach looking for the perfect, whole seashell or sand dollar.  Now I see the beauty in the ones that are a little broken or worn smooth by time, sand and waves.  I feel as if they have lived.  
This wine glass is a symbol of that for me, too.  Its first life was in a local wine shop.  After it was chipped, though, it needed a new home.  It would have been a sin to throw away a beautiful wine glass just because of a little chip in its base, so it got to come home with me.  It is well-loved and very useful when I want a nice glass of wine as I prepare dinner.  
I love to read magazines.  I've given up most of them, though, because they are filled with how-to-lose-those-unwanted-pounds or how-to-erase-wrinkles stories.  It seems that looking as if you've lived a few years is something to be ashamed of.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I am definitely vain.  The morning is easier when it is a good hair day.  I am grumpy when I can't get into my favorite black pants.  Would I like to look into a crystal ball and be assured of having many years ahead?  Of course (I think...). There is so much to do and see and I still have so much to learn.  
These days, I mostly read magazines about places and the people who live in them-- Our State, a magazine dedicated to the state of North Carolina, is a favorite, as well as Durham, a fairly new publication about my city.  I enjoy reading books written by people about their lives.  I just finished Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard, an American who met and married a Frenchman.  She calls her book "a love story with recipes."  A great combination, set in France.  I am currently reading The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Arles by Susan Goldman Rubin.  (I've walked the same sidewalks as Vincent and will be there again very soon).  The books I love most are about people who have wrinkles and scars.  They aren't perfect.  None of us are, really.
Tonight's dinner will consist of the steak au poivre from yesterday's post, frites, haricots verts, French bread and these lovely little, less-than-perfect mini-cheesecakes that high school age son loves. 

They cracked on the top while baking.  I probably should've put them in a bain-marie, a water bath, in the oven while they baked.  So, to pretty them up and to add a little extra something-something, I used this--

Pas mal, n'est-ce pas?

makes 12

12 vanilla wafers
2 8-oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

Line muffin tin with foil liners.  Place one vanilla wafer in each liner. Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla on medium speed until well-blended.  Add eggs.  Mix well.  Spoon over wafers, filling cups 3/4 full.  Bake 25 minutes at 325.  Remove from pan when cool.  Chill.  Top with fruit, preserves, chocolate or whatever you wish. 

The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a 'What the hell?' attitude.                   
                            -- Julia Child

Bon appétit, to all who are less than perfect and perfectly happy!

1 comment:

Lunch in Paris said...

That looks like a pretty perfect cheesecake to me! Glad you enjoyed the book!