Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Caught in the act

Well, as you can plainly see, I was caught on camera last year trying to duck into a Paris taxi to head to the Gare de Lyon to catch the TGV.  I am such a stickler for fashion and trying to fit my hat and my suitcases in the back was almost more than I could handle.  And the darned paparazzi is just relentless, n'est-ce pas?  I was just minding my own business.  I wanted to yell "C'est pas tes oignons!" but I didn't want to miss my train to Avignon.  And I just didn't need a shouting match with the obnoxious photographes.  But the photo just surfaced and I felt I needed to explain it to my faithful readers.  So, just in case you see it splashed across the Enquirer or whatever magazine is in the checkout line at your local supermarché, now you know the real story.   Thank goodness, grâce à Dieu, you can't see Johnny Depp's the driver's face...

It certainly makes a good story and is believable if you've ever seen me and my suitcases in France.  But this wonderful photo was actually taken by Robert Doisneau, a photographer whose work I love.  It is called Montparnasse, août 1959.

I have had a busy work week.  Ouf!  Papers to grade, lessons to plan, grades to average, comments to write, an on-line class to finish up.  You get the picture.   But I also found time to go to the Nasher Museum at Duke University to see the amazing exhibit of art owned by the Cone Sisters of Baltimore.  The family had strong ties to North Carolina and I was very anxious to see Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters.  I actually stood in front of these two paintings--

I have been a Matisse fan since my first trip to Nice and visit to his museum there.  I've planned an optional outing for my 8th graders after they finish exams in a couple of weeks.  My 6th graders went to see it today.  I am very curious to see what they have to say about it tomorrow in class.  Nude vs naked.  I still remember the speech that Mme Buchanan gave us in high school.  I love The Pink Nude.  I am also very fond of The Blue Nude.

The longing for lavender and Provence also set in.  Quelle surprise...  I dug out the little remedy and recipe book I bought at the Abbaye de Sénanque this summer while there with the BFFs.

I found just what I needed.  A recipe that asked me chop dried lavender florets.  And bake them into little cakes.  And make my whole house smell delicious.  

The Ex-Ex ate three of them before they had time to even cool on the rack.  A success.  I think that next time I am going to add some orange zest to the recipe, just for fun.

Madeleines à la lavande
makes 12

7 1/2 Tbsp. butter
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. dried lavender florets, chopped

Clarify the butter--  Melt it in a small saucepan.  Do not stir.  When melted, skim the foam off the top.  Mix (without beating) the eggs, sugar, flour, salt, and baking powder.  Slowly pour in the warm clarified butter (leaving the white stuff on the bottom of the pan) and olive oil.  Stir in lavender.  Do not overmix.  Spoon into buttered madeleine tin.  Do not fill the molds full.  They need room to rise a bit.  Bake for about 15 minutes in a preheated 350˚ oven.  Remove from oven and remove cakes from mold while still warm.

I filled mine a little too full and they were harder to get out of the pan and they didn't all keep their shape.

I am now on the hunt for the perfect fruitcake recipe.  I am the only one in my family who likes it, but I want to make it anyway.  Oh, I usually eat the store bought kind.  But I really want to make my own this year.  I will ask my friend Google for help.

Bon appétit to all kinds of cakes, cake bakers, and cake eaters!  And to Robert Doisneau for his wonderful photos!

1 comment:

MPK said...

Love the photo. You just never know who may catch you on film.