Tangled up in Blue High Rise Cake

Wednesday, July 30

tangled up in blue High Rise cake | une gamine dans la cuisine
tangled up in blue High Rise cake | une gamine dans la cuisine

An innocent, dulcet confection; this cake is not a New Orleans-bound wayfarer, nor is it distraught enough to weave its way into a visceral novel. It is, however, a chaos of blueberries and, compared to my previous (cockeyed) layer cakes, quite lofty. My blog turned five last April, but she's reticent and surreptitious and insisted on waiting for a berry-steeped muse before marking the sylvan anniversary. This summer I have been living on berries, literally. My laurel green colander is almost always overflowing with bleeding, edible shades of blue, red, and purple.

Admittedly, I was slightly hesitant to proclaim une gamine had been spilling out recipes since 2009. After five years I feel as though I should offer lush paragraphs of things I've learned or unearth a poem or two; but lately I can't seem to say exactly what I mean. Maybe it's the warm lethargy of summer that makes my words tumble out upside-down. Speaking is easy, when it comes to writing...it's as if my mind is split in half and my fluent self hides behind the safety of metaphors and a tapestry of embroidered words. Hemingway would scoff, I'm certain. But I would offer him cake and gin and, ideally, he would advise me on how to stop thinking about how much I think about ovethinking. Yes, lots and lots of gin & cake, and, after re-reading Ann Rice's The Witching Hour, a much needed visit to the Garden District. Unlike my folksy cake, I'm a vagabond at heart; it's been far too long since I've traveled far.

Almond Butter & Dark Chocolate Shard Cookies {Gluten-Free}

Saturday, July 19

almond buttter & dark chocolate cookies {gluten-free} :: une gamine dans la cuisine

"We are drinking alfresco,
      watching swallows reflect
         the light as they swoop and

almost skim the narrow road
      before lifting
        above hedgerows

then looping back past fresh-
      mown fields, and I know
         that movement -

from Mozart
      or from a lifetime ago
        when I stretched my hand

from the car window
      and let it ride and sculpt the wind -
        know, and can't name it."

~ Theodore Deppe, opening lines to "An Early Evening Whiskey," from Orpheus on the Red Line

July is a famished will-o'-the-wisp. It passes discretely; an agile, purring cat that sips milk from the cereal bowl and slips out an open window while I'm engrossed in watching sugar cubes on my spoon succumb to ethereal coffee. That's always been my problem. I miss what's in front of me and spend too much time treading through fickle distractions. This year is different, however. Last winter was lupine...I'm determined to relish the fleeting summer and allow its warmth to rest on my still-too-pale shoulders for as long as possible.

I'm also slowly meandering further into the unfamiliar terrain of gluten-free baking. Don't worry, I'll still share stormfuls of flour-drenched recipes; gluten-free renditions will make a timid cameo appearance from time to time.

Lady Macbeth Blackberry Pie

Saturday, July 12

Lady Macbeth Blackberry Pie | une gamine dans la cuisine

"To beguile the time,
Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye,
Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower,
But be the serpent under't." 

                     ~ William Shakespeare (Macbeth, act 1, sc. 5,1. 63-6.)
This ferociously beguiling pie has a cunning sweetly-acerbic flavour; one berry-bleeding slice is not enough, it requires a second piece - served, preferably, with a messy scoop of semi melted vanilla bean ice cream.

Every drop of amaranth colored juice on a white napkin or meandering spoon was dramatic & stunning. Honestly, I could have spent two days taking photos of this pie under various forms of summer light and against a multitude of textures (it's intoxicating to have a subject that's camera friendly!).  The fleeting nature of seasonal blackberries made the entire affair all the more bittersweet...I'm too easily bewitched by things (circumstances) that have the fragile lifespan of a moth. 

Brown Butter Cherry Basil Bars

Wednesday, July 2

brown butter cherry basil bars :: une gamine dans la cuisine

"...Unkempt, untidy, absent-minded,
soaked through with smell of dill and rye,
with linden-blossom, grass and beet-leaves,
the meadow-scented month, July."

                           ~ Boris Pasternak, July

My garden is candidly uncivilized this year; an Edwardian girl arriving late to dinner with pollen in her hair, torn stockings, one missing shoe, and a flask. I'm perfectly content with nature flourishing its way through sidewalk cracks and thrusting added greenery between the lilies & coral bells. After last winter's brutality, wildlife has every right to be ferociously wild & disruptive. I had a difficult time locating my basil; it was hidden by what can only be described as tiny twiggy trees and errant plant life that didn't exist a year ago. I foraged long enough to locate the lemon basil needed for this recipe, but when it came time for snapping photos, I had to improvise...I'm not sure what I plucked for the sake of photography-story telling, but I wanted you to know that I know, it's not lemon basil. ;-)

Orange & Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cookies

Wednesday, June 25

Orange & Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cookies :: une gamine dans la cuisine

'I just want you to know,' said the girl coldly, 'that whoever you are and whatever you intend with me, I shall give you no aid of any kind, nor shall I assist you, and I shall do whatever is in my power to frustrate your plans and devices.' And then she added, with feeling, 'Idiot.' 

~ Neil Gaiman, Stardust

I have had a tiny (envious) rapport with these cookies. Like me, they're contrary, idiosyncratic and slightly wicked; yet beneath a poised nonchalance they are heartbreakly tender - longing only to be harbingers of unexpected pleasure and quicksilver pearls of laughter. Our similarities end with a sigh. Unlike me and my pale-skinny arms, struggling to haul background boards from room to room, these cookies are sexy and stacked (I'm *almost* jealous!).

My methods are fragile; blown glass in midwinter, intentions that begin their journey with the surety of an arrow shot from Robin Hood's bow, slip through abandoned branches and land soundlessly on dandelions. These cookies, however, are intrepid. Their aim always true, ever sure, never second guessing. Had I the same amount of reckless abandon...Perhaps...possibly...maybe...?

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