about bliss

Saturday, May 29, 2010

daily bliss: love

at a minor league baseball game, May 2010

One year ago today, I walked down to the lake on a gorgeous, yet chilly, late Spring evening. I strolled down the hill, breathing in lilac fragrance. I breathed deeply, and propelled myself forward, nervous and hopeful. Possibility shimmered in the air.

On our first date, G and I shivered on a picnic table for three hours, talking. Meeting. Laughing. Wondering.

If you've stuck with this blog (which has been written in fits and starts this year), you've picked up on some threads of our story. Perhaps you've even sensed some of the magic.

Reader, I fell in love.

And I've never felt more myself.

I could write an extensive but not exhaustive list of everything I love about G, but since I haven't let him know I'm writing this post (and will be overseas, without him when it posts), instead I will say that our lives together have expanded. Love provides the foundation to be vulnerable, to be true, and to be authentic. Whether it's someone strumming an air mandolin to Train's "Hey Soul Sister" or someone calling the bed Cloud, we're not afraid to be our goofy selves.

And there are tears. Ask G about my stress response, which is to imagine extremes and dissolve into tears. This is the hard part to share. But it's still me.

We're now in the process of merging our daily lives, as G left his village behind and moved to the city, and to our home. Boxes, bags, and misplaced furniture surround us. Daily routines stutter and flow. We're learning to adapt. Together.

At the end of our first date, as I walked up the stairs, I sensed that life was about to change. I had no idea.

I've never been happier.

Happy first anniversary, Gregg. I love you.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

daily bliss: paris

All my bags are packed.

I'm (mostly) ready to go.

I have a custom made google map of deliciousness. And a 14 page handout on Paris Eats and Treats culled from David Lebovitz and Dorie Greenspan pics.

I suspect it won't seem quite real until I, along with 22 others (including a co-leader, students, community members, and...my Grandma!) board the Air France flight this evening.

And then...the sights and sounds and tastes of Paris beckon.

Oh, the tastes...

Au revoir, mes amies.

Friday, May 21, 2010

daily bliss: fresh, local salad

Yesterday I paid a long overdue visit to the T's, my gardening, foodie, progressive friends. After a long chat while T worked on hand carving a decorative door panel, we walked to the garden. T snipped lettuce while I plucked spinach. J arrived home and we chatted some more. I promised to share some Poilane bread in return for this taste of summer.

I whisked together a simple cherry balsamic vinaigrette, toasted pecans, shaved Bellavitano cheese, and tossed in a handful of dried cherries. Bliss.

Welcome back, summer. I missed you so.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

twd: quick classic berry tart

Today, the last day of English 101, I reminded my students that APPM (audience, purpose, persona, message) is their key to writing success.

"Remember, you need to think about your audience. Who is reading your writing? What is your purpose? You have to have a point! And don't forget to consider your persona. Your tone makes a big difference when delivering your message."

Somewhere in the back of my chaotic mind, I thought about this little blog. I need to conduct some serious APPM prep time when I sit down to craft these entries.

And yet, here I am tonight, fumbling for words and stories to make you want to read.


My writing process needs serious attention, which it will receive, and you all will enjoy the fruits of, when I return from Paris in a few weeks. Until then, it will be a cobbled together dish, a last minute entry here and there.

Cue the segue...

And this is why I loved this simple berry tart. I almost didn't make it, as no berries are in season. (it actually snowed around these parts last weekend. berry bliss is some time coming). But, I doubt I'll be able to make the next two recipes, so I wanted to fulfill my monthly quota. I read through the variations of pastry cream, and I thought about a mish-mash solution.

My favorite berry jam. Cook frozen berries with sugar until thick. If industrious, add citrus zest and juice. I chose raspberries and meyer lemon.

I then made a meyer lemon pastry cream.

I assembled the tart speedily, and hoped for the best.

The tart is lightly sweet and plenty tangy. Delicious.

Thanks to Christine of Cooking with Christine for selecting this week's recipe.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

twd: burnt sugar ice cream

[photo to be added tomorrow]



The two dreaded C's.

The last time I attempted caramel, cussing ensued.

Custard, well, I've seemingly mastered the tempering technique and can produce a smooth product.

This week's recipe tested my resolve by requiring both dreaded C's.

My first attempt with the caramel today was problematic. Lacking vanilla extract, I blended vanilla bean with my sugar, then added the water, and applied heat. A too big pan and too high heat resulted in a sugar that failed to dissolve and instead returned to a granular state. Mustering up my chemistry memory (I did start college as a pre-pharmacy major and took a year of Chemistry before seeing the light and leaving a life of jet-setting and drug company perks for the glamorous life of an English professor on furlough), I added more water and dissolved the sugar, this time slowly and carefully.

Conquering my fears and applying sugar savvy, I crafted an ice cream so delicious, it's dangerous. I subbed 1% milk for whole and half and half for cream. Mmmm.

Thank you, Becky, of Project Domestication, for selecting this wonderful, rich, and complexly flavored ice cream.