Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Two Things Create a Woman, Pretty Dresses and Love Letters"

Gustave Flaubert, a mid to late 19th-century French author, is most well known for his first published novel, Madame Bovary. While in his 20s, Flaubert fell in love with Louise Colet, a poet whom he never married, but who nonetheless seemed to shape much of what he wrote and more generally speaking, his willingness (or lack thereof), in the years that followed, to seek anything beyond platonic relationships. He is on my mind this morning for three reasons: 1) Vivian Swift quotes him in her travel journal, When Wanderers Cease to Roam - one of my favorite reads of all time; 2) I have been thinking about the sustainability of love - why do some people stay with us no matter how circumstances change?; and 3) after doing a little research, it seems Flaubert, a skilled author who could legitimately be classified both as romantic and realist, was painstakingly devoted to finding just the right word. - you have probably heard me mention that semantics will be the death of me.

The quote of interest: "He had never seen anything to compare with her. What was her name, her home, her life, her past? He longed to know the furniture in her room, all the pretty dresses she had ever worn." Sentimental Education, 1869

Today, let's all assume that someone is inescapably thinking this exact same thing about each of us.
Orange is the new green.
Butternut & Sweet Potato Bisque
Servings: 4
This sounds a little fancy, but trust me, it isn't. The soup is both delicious and fairly easy to make (obviously, this is just my opinion, but I honestly think it would please a diverse array of palettes; the flavors subtly blend, tastefully avoiding the sometimes inevitable "love it or hate it" response to less commonly used vegetables). Additionally, if you're like me and are yearning for fall, this might sooth your summer heartache. Plus, it's orange. ...:)

1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
1 medium sweet potato, cooked, peeled and cubed (I used new potatoes)
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
2 tbsp. minced fresh ginger (I used dry)
1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375. Cut squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds and gooey stuff (as if cleaning a pumpkin). Sprinkle butter or olive oil, salt and pepper on both halves. Put about an inch of water in a baking pan and then place squash, cut side up, in the pan. Bake for about 75 minutes. If using sweet potato, cook at the same time (since I used the small, red new potatoes, I just peeled and cooked them on the stovetop about 40 minutes into the squash cook time).
2. When the squash and sweet potato have cooled a bit, scoop out the good stuff and put the peelings in the compost pile.

3. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown. I also added celery...just because I really like celery.

4. Add squash, sweet potato, corn, ginger, brown sugar, coriander, salt, pepper, and 3 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until squash is tender (15-20 minutes).

5. With slotted spoon, transfer solids to food processor or blender and process to a smooth puree. Return puree to saucepan and stir to blend with liquid remaining in pan. Serve hot. (You might consider adding sour cream, cheese, fresh herbs, or cream fraiche on top). Served in an oddly-shaped bowl that I made in a wheel-throwing class and alongside fresh tomatoes from Andy's garden and a couple of pieces of Mom's sourdough bread.
Knock, knock?

Who's there?


Orange, who?

Orange you glad you aren't the 13-year-old daughter of this driver?
Orange Slice Cookies
I recommend this recipe - the dough has an easy-to-work-with consistency, the cookies definitely have a unique flavor, but are quite tasty (especially right out of the oven), and there is a versatility about them that escapes denser, chocolaty desserts (could be an after-supper dessert with a glass of milk or a quick breakfast alongside tea or coffee). And, to state the obvious, it's hard to go wrong with brown sugar, shortening, butter, coconut, and gummy balls of sugar-coated candy. The dancing fruit on the package, a welcomed act of deceit that just may coerce you into believing that rays of sunshine and Vitamin C are the key ingredients, is an added bonus.

1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter
1 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup orange slice candies, finely snipped (If you figure out an easy way to cut orange slices, let me know)
1/2 cup flaked coconut

In a large mixing bowl, cream sugars with shortening and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla extract; beat well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir to blend. Stir dry mixture into the creamed mixture. Stir in oats, orange slice candy, and coconut. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes (I baked mine about 18), until lightly browned. Remove to wire rack to cool.
*In theory, this should make 36 cookies; I ended up with 26 or 27 I think.


  1. You seem to have read my mind - scratch - heart : )