Saturday, March 26, 2016

Re-entry 2016

It just isn't easy.  It never is.  But this year... maybe the toughest re-entry yet.  Why?  Many emotions are tied up in knots.

  • Relief. I have returned the kiddies home safe and sound.  No lost passports.  No picked pockets.  No broken bones.  Or broken hearts.  Actually, I am not at all sure about that last one...
  • Sadness.  I miss them.  I miss eating breakfast and dinner with them.  One of the girls started calling our meals "family dinners."  I miss their random hugs.  I have never been photographed so many times with individual kiddies.  I miss their excitement and eagerness to try new foods and see new sights.  And their laughter.  I miss France.  In spite of air traffic controller strikes.
  • Regret.  Did I take enough photos?  Did I show them everything I meant to?  Why did I lose my patience with one or two more than once? Did I send home emails to parents conveying how much I truly enjoyed spending 12 days with this group?
  • Joy.  I was back in France-- with my students who have endured two years of my stories about this amazing country.  I spent time with almost all of my Favorite Frenchies.  I was surrounded by this beautiful language that I have spent most of my life trying to master.  I wandered the streets of Arles once again.
  • Hunger #1.  The chance to eat my favorite foods once again... Foie gras.  Duck.  Bread. Cheese.  Pain aux raisins.  Gratin. Aïoli. Sandwich au jambon, fromage, et beurre. Pierre Hermé macarons.  
  • Hunger #2. To see more and more and more.  To really see details.  To really look at people. To be mindful and live in the moment.
  • Satisfaction. I think that the kiddies enjoyed the activities I planned.  It all fell into place almost  as if by magic.  Wreath-laying ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery.  Macaron-making at Atelier des Gâteaux.  Paris Levallois vs Monaco basketball game.  Meeting Tatiana de Rosnay in the park outside of Bon Marché and sharing poems written about Sarah's Key with her.  The most perfect weather we could hope for during the month of March.  
  • Exhaustion.  I fell into bed every night bone-tired.  We probably averaged 9 miles of walking a day.  I laugh just thinking about trying to keep my eyes open so that I could compose an email every night to parents and sound at least partially sane.
  • Gratitude.  This is my on-going project, with the help of Pretend Daughter #2.  I do not have the words to thank this group of kiddies, my co-chaperone Mr. P, our families, and my school administration.  For trusting me in the face of daily worries about terrorism and all of the what-ifs that keep some people buttoned up and locked down in their homes.  I will never be one of those people.  
There is so much to say.  So much that I will leave unsaid for now, but save for later posts.  I will look at my 1500+ photos and relive this trip for a long time to come.

Merci à toutes et à tous!

One of the girlies pointed me in the direction of an Eiffel Tower cake mold while we were roaming around in La Grande Épicerie at Bon Marché department store.  I decided to make a chocolate cake in it this morning.

I cannot believe that I forgot to add sprinkles until the very last part of the first cake.  And I completely forgot to add them to the mold on the second one.  Oh well.  Next time, n'est-ce pas?

Gâteau au Chocolat à la Tour Eiffel
recipe adapted from Taste of Home

2/3 c. butter, softened
1-2/3 c. sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. baking cocoa
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1-1/3 c. buttermilk

Confectioners' sugar or your favorite frosting

In bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a separate bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt until combined.
Add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternating with milk, beating until smooth after each addition.
Pour batter into greased and floured pan. (The recipe calls for a 13x9-in pan.  I used my new mold, buttering and dusting with cocoa powder.  The recipe made two of these cakes. Cupcakes are always a good idea.)
Bake at 350˚F 35-40 minutes or until cake tests done (less for cupcakes).  Cool on wire rack.  When cake is cool, dust with confectioners' sugar or frost, if desired.
12-15 servings

Bon appétit to all my 8th graders!  Je vous aime!  May you always be so enthusiastic and may you travel to wonderful places during your lifetime.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

France 2016

Classroom board art in anticipation of our upcoming trip. 
We can't wait!! 
21 excited students + 2 enthusiastic chaperones + an amazing itinerary + my Favorite Parisien + ACIS' awesome arrangements = 1 unbelievable Spring Break!

Bon appétit!

I was practicing posting from the iPad again last night when I did this. 
Now I am going to do something I do not do on this blog.  Oh, nothing scintillating.  Unless, of course, you love to have your cake and eat it, too!  I am going to post this recipe that I found on Clotilde Dusoulier's website, Zucchini and Chocolate.  I do not want to lose it and I do plan to make it today.  The ingredients are on my shopping list. 

Jean-François Piège's Childhood Cake Recipe
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves 8.
    For the pan:
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • For the batter:
  • 120 grams (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, softened
  • 120 grams (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 organic orange (about 200g/7oz), carefully washed
  • 120 grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. First, prepare the pan. Butter the bottom and sides of a 22-to-25-cm (9-to-10-inch) round cake pan with the 2 teaspoons butter. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons sugar, then shake and tilt and swoosh the pan around to coat. It is fun.
  3. Next up, make the batter. Cream together the butter and sugar. Crack in the eggs one by one and mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Grate the zest from the entire orange over the bowl. Juice the orange and add 125 ml (1/2 cup) of the juice to the batter. Mix until smooth.
  5. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold the flour mixture into the batter and mix until just combined.
  6. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size pan you used, until the cake is golden brown and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  7. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes (no more, or the caramel on the crust will harden and stick to the pan), then flip onto a serving plate.
  8. Let cool completely before serving.