Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Last night I baked this savory tart for dinner and wow... It was absolutely delicious; rich, melt in your mouth, got to have a second-helping scrumptious. I found the recipe via Smitten Kitchen, my favorite go-to site for amazing tried and true recipes. You can visit Deb Perelman at Smitten Kitchen for any substitutions or for more detailed information about the recipe. She adapted hers from the pages of Bon Appetit. Do yourself a favor and make this tart asap! I promise you won't be disappointed.

Cauliflower and Caramelized Onion Tart
1 small head of cauliflower (about 1 pound) cut into 1-inch florets
3 1/3 tbsp olive oil
1 tart shell (recipe below)
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 ( 7 to 8-ounce) container mascarpone cheese
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
pinch of ground nutmeg
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 425º F (position rack in center of oven.) Toss cauliflower with 2 tbsp of olive oil in large bowl. Spread on rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast 15 minutes before turning florets over and roasting another 15 minutes until brown and tender. Cool cauliflower then thinly slice. Reduce oven to 350º F.
  2. In the meantime, make the tart crust (recipe below).
  3. While the tart shell is chilling in the fridge, heat remaining 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion, season with salt and peeper and cook until onion is a deep golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Cool slightly.
  4. Brush bottom and sides of crust with mustard. Spread onion over crust. Arrange cauliflower over the onion. Set the tart on a baking sheet (to catch drip.)
  5. Whisk eggs, mascarpone, cream and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in Gruyère. Pour mixture over filling in tart pan, sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until tart is golden and center is set, about 40 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 15 minutes before serving.
Savory Tart Shell
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, diced
1 egg
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, and salt. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender, for or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add one egg and mix with a fork until dough forms. If the dough doesn't come easily together, dump mixture onto counter and knead together.
  2. On a lightly floured surface (or between two sheets of plastic wrap), roll out the dough to a 12-inch circle. Place dough in 9-inch tart pan and press to remove any air bubbles. Cut excess dough from rim, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. No parbaking required.
Okay, so I was a busy baker because I also made dessert. I don't normally bake cookies but these are Key Lime Pie cookies (via let'sgetcooking.) Key Lime Pie is my favorite dessert as I love most things sweet and tart. Plus, I was intrigued with the idea of a pie in a cookie.

Key Lime Pie Cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp coarse salt
7 tbsp cold butter, cut into cubes
1/3 cup honey
5 tbsp milk

1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/3 cup lime juice
1 tbsp water
2 egg yolks, beaten
pinch of salt
4 oz cream cheese, softened
powdered sugar (amount varies)
  1. To prepare cookies, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl and mix well (can pulse in a food processor.) Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together honey and milk. Add to flour mixture and mix (or pulse in food processor) until the dough comes together. If you used the food processor, the dough will be soft and sticky. Separate the dough in two. Dust a piece of waxed paper with flour and lay half of the dough on top. Pat dough into a disk, sprinkle flour on top and top with another piece of wax paper. Roll out to 1/8-1/4 inch thick.
  3. Freeze or refrigerate until firm. Repeat with other half of dough. When chilled, cut dough into rounds with cookie cutter. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheets and bake at 350º F for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from baking sheet to cooling rack and let cool completely.
  4. To make filling, combine sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Stir in lime juice and water until smooth. Bring to boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks slowly, until eggs are lukewarm. Stir eggs into the remaining lime mixture. Bring to a gentle simmer; cook and stir 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and stir in salt. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge.
  5. When lime curd is cooled, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add lime curd, mix well. Add powdered sugar, starting with half a cup at a time, until mixture reaches a buttercream frosting consistency - thick enough to pipe and hold it's shape.
  6. When cookies are cool, assemble by piping or spreading a dollop of filling onto the center of one cookie; top with second cookie and press lightly. Repeat with remaining cookies.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I took a 30 day self-challenge to incorporate daily affirmations into my life. I wanted to see if positive thoughts could have a transformative effect on both my worldview and the way I chose to navigate that world. Every morning I would search out, create, and explore a new affirmation, repeating it as a mantra during the course of the day. Here's what I learned... when you are present and your mind filled with positive thoughts, there's little room for negativity; affirmations allow you to focus and streamline your actions to help you meet your goals; you can acknowledge the cons of any given situation but still choose to focus on a winning outcome; an optimistic outlook can not only boost your confidence but also allow you to see opportunities where once you only saw closed doors; positivity aligns on the side of attraction, making dreams come true; gratitude allows you to appreciate what is already abundant in your life.

1// true happiness resides within me. 2//magic is something you make 3//We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are (anais nin) 4//she must find a boat and sail in it. no guarantee of shore. only a conviction that what she wanted could exist, if she dared to find it (jeanett winterson) 5//change your stories. the stories you tell yourself become your life 6//accept-then act. whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. always work with it, not against it. make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. this will miraculously transform your whole life (eckhart tolle) 7//make your own luck 8// live in the moment 9//why put off till tomorrow what you can do today 10//replace fear of the unknown with curiousity 11//whatever you do, do it well 12//think good thoughts 13//life is like riding a bicycle in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving (albert einstein) 14//gratitude turns what we have into enough 15//and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom (anais nin) 16//thinking too much can only cause problems 17//i see clearly 18//if your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it 19//the question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me 20//walk around like a champion 21//if you work really hard and you're kind amazing things will happen (conan o'brien) 22//i create the world i live in 23//be so happy that when others look at you they become happy too 24//you make me happy when skies are gray 25// life is just a bowl of cherries 26//not all who wander are lost 27//banish doubt 28//be yourself 29//smile 30//my body is my temple

Monday, February 27, 2012


All my friends can tell you I'm a huge movie fiend. I devour films, all genres, good or bad, start to finish. I've only ever walked out of one movie in my entire life, Dumb and Dumber, and I think it had more to do with how annoyed I was with my then boyfriend. Anyway, I came across Film Alphabet illustrations by Stephen Wildish to represent decades in films. I showcased the 1970's but you can find them all on his website under The Friday Projects. And while you're there check out his other designs. I love the simplicity of his work.

I'm sure you've been asked more than once to list your top 10 films. Mine's constantly evolving. Still, asked on the spot, I can never seem to come up with a complete list, nor can I narrow it down to just ten. Here are some of my favorites... in no particular order:

1970's film alphabet answers:
a// apocalypse now b// blacula c// a clockwork orange d// deliverance e// enter the dragon f// fiddler on the roof g// get carter h// herbie rides again i// iisa, she wolf of the ss j// jaws k// kramer vs. kramer l// logans run m// mad max n// national lampoons animal house o//one flew over the cuckoo's nest p// the poseidon adventure q// quadrophenia r// rocky s//shaft t// taxi driver u// up in smoke v// valdez is coming w// westworld x// x, y, and zee y// yanks z// zulu dawn

answers: 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s Film Alphabet

Sunday, February 26, 2012


come on skinny love just last the year
pour a little salt we were never here
my, my, my, my...
staring at the sink of blood and crushed veneer

i tell my love to wreck it all
cut out all the ropes and let me fall
my, my, my...
right in the moment this order's fall

i told you to be patient
i told you to be fine
i told you to be balanced
i told you to be kind
in the morning i'll be with you
but it will be a different "kind"
i'll be holding all the tickets
and you'll be owning all the fines

come on skinny love what happened here
suckle on the hope in lite brassiere
my, my, my...
sullen load is full; so slow on the split

i told you to be patient
i told you to be fine
i told you to be balanced
i told you to be kind
now all your love is wasted?
then who the hell was I?
now i'm breaking at the britches
and at the end of all your lines

who will love you?
who will fight?
who will fall far behind?

(birdy, skinny love, original by bon iver)

Friday, February 24, 2012


The sunshine didn't last long but while it did it was lovely. Keep smiling and have a great weekend!

source: frolic

Thursday, February 23, 2012


This pseudo warm weather makes me long for sun, sand, and sea. Somewhere hot and exotic. Surrounded by water. Nothing but the sounds of the surf. Lazy days.

source: bedbones

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


"We are living in a storm where a hundred contradictory elements collide; debris from the past, scraps of the present, seeds of the future, swirling, combining, separating under the imperious wind of destiny." - Adolphe Retté, La Plume, March 1, 1898

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


ph: dzg

Today, baby Gaël and I went to Chelsea to check out Doug Wheeler's installation at the David Zwirner Gallery. Wheeler calls it an "infinity environment," an all-white, light-saturated, rounded room with no corners. It feels like you're literally in the void. Your eyes can't fix on anything substantial, so everything literally falls away. It's disorienting yet amazing at the same time. Someone described it as a bit like falling down the rabbit hole.

The exhibition, titled SA MI 75 DZ NY 12, ends this week. So, race over and experience the heart of lightness for yourself. Just a head's up, though, there's a minimum two hour wait. Today was my second attempt and my lucky day. Apparently, the gallery has a policy that allows folks with children to jump the line. Oh, baby. Gotta love that. This article about Wheeler in the New York Times is worth a read.

Baby Gaël is the gorgeous (and genius) 11-month old boy of my dear friends, Emmanuel and Nathalie. He loves adventures!

Monday, February 20, 2012


life is just a bowl of cherries // everything is going well; life is carefree. origin: during the 1920s, "the berries" mean great and money.
Today is National Cherry Pie Day! Which, in my opinion, is a tad strange since February is off-season for cherries. Not a cherry to be found anywhere! Okay, I did spot a pint of cherries at my local bodega but they weren't in the best shape. Last week, I baked a Double-Crusted Cherry Tart using Trader Joe's Dark Morello Cherries and I didn't get a single complaint. In fact, the tart was absolutely scrumptious. The cherries are harvested in Germany in the month of July, and are more tart than sweet; perfect for this Tart Cherry Pie recipe. Here are some other cherry related recipes at TasteSpotting. And a Sweet Cherry Pie recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


they didn't want me when i was running wild
the dragons breathing fire in the backyard at night
we live in circles and it's so hard to breath
maybe the same old fears, what have we here, don't bring me down... with you

now i'm just chasing time with a thousand dreams i'm holding heavy
and as we cross the line these fading beats have all been severed
don't tell me our youth is running out, it's only just begun

if i asked you for good news would you smile and turn away
it's like a bad dream that is too afraid to wake
there are mnay among us and we're changing all the time
maybe the same old fears, what have we here, don't bring me down... with you

these fading beats
these fading beats

(foxes, youth)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012


"The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights." - muhammad ali
I really love the above Ali quote. What he's essentially saying is, it's everything leading up to the big event - your attitude, conviction, and belief in yourself, as well as resilience and the hard work you put in, that will determine the outcome long before you find yourself in the ring.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


The following is a pie recipe that's just as smooth as the king of soul, found in the New York Times archives. I think it's similar to Maple Spice Pie or even a Southern specialty called Chess Pie, except you replace the sugar with maple syrup .

Nutmeg Maple Cream Pie
3/4 cup maple syrup
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
4 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
9-inch par-baked pie crust or tart shell
  1. Par-bake pie crust.
  2. Preheat oven to 300º F. Prepare filling: in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce maple syrup by quarter, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in cream and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and egg. Whisking constantly, slowly add cream mixture to eggs. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a cup or bowl with pouring spout. Stir in salt, nutmeg and vanilla.
  4. Pour filling into crust and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until pie is firm to touch but jiggles slightly when moved, about 1 hour. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

Monday, February 13, 2012


"... and any knowledge that doesn't lead to new questions quickly dies out: it fails to maintain the temperature required for sustaining life. In the most extreme cases, cases well known from ancient and modern history, it even poses a lethal threat to society.

This is why I value that little phrase "I don't know" so highly. It's small, but it flies on mighty wings. It expands our lives to include the spaces within us as well as those outer expanses in which our tiny Earth hangs suspended."

- wislava szymborska (2 july 1923 - 1 february 2012)

mozart of poetry

nobel prize in literature

aged 88

Sunday, February 12, 2012


maia flore, sleep elevations

i could sleep
i could sleep
i could sleep
i could sleep
when i lived alone
is there a ghost in my house?

(band of horses, is there a ghost)

Saturday, February 11, 2012


A belief originating from Asian legends that an invisible red string connects two people, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break.


This is a slightly modified Double-Crust Cherry Tart recipe from the September 2005 issue of Sunset Magazine.

Double-Crust Cherry Tart
1 cup (1/2 lb) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks (save whites)*
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup white cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 lbs fresh cherries, rinsed and pitted**
2 tbsp quick-cooking tapioca
1 tbsp lemon juice
  1. In a bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat butter with 1/2 cup sugar until smooth; beat in egg yolks. Stir in flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt until well blended. Divide dough in half. Press one portion over bottom and up sides to rim of a 9-inch fluted tart pan with removable rim. Place other portion on a lightly floured piece of waxed paper. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out dough to a 10-inch round. Slide round onto a baking sheet. Chill tart shell and round until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  2. In another bowl, mix cherries, tapioca, lemon juice, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Let stand 10 minutes. Pour into chilled tart shell and spread level. ***Invert dough round over tart. Press edges into rim of tart pan, pinching off any excess. Sprinkle tart lightly with sugar.
  3. Place tart pan on an uninsulated baking sheet. Bake on lower rack of a 375º F oven until top is golden brown, about 35-40 minutes, rotating tart halfway through baking time. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*Brush egg white on bottom of crust to create a sealant. This will prevent bottom sogginess from the cherry juice.

**Fresh cherries aren't in season quite yet so I substituted Trader Joe's Dark Morello Cherries (24.7 oz jar). Make sure you drain most of the juice, saving only about 2 tablespoons for the filling. These particular cherries are harvested in Germany in the month of July. My German friend's mom swears by them.

***I cut out circles and layered them concentrically to create the top crust.

life / circus blog

Friday, February 10, 2012


"La course à l'échalote" is a french idiom that literally translates to "the shallot race." It is used to describe situations of futile competition, when people strive to outdo one another for vain reasons.

This delicious savory tart recipe was modified from Angela Boggiano's original recipe at Delicious Magazine.

Shallot, Mushroom and Luganiga Sausage Tart (Quiche)
2 shallots (sliced thinly)
olive oil
1 pint baby portobello mushrooms (washed & sliced)
3 eggs (beaten)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 bunch fresh herbs: thyme, sage, chives (chopped)
1/4 lb luganiga sausage*
pâte brisée crust (recipe below)
  1. Preheat oven to 400º F.
  2. Roll out the dough into an approximately 11-inch circle. Place the dough into a 9-inch tart pan. Trim the excess overhang. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork, then place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the freezer. Butter shiny side of aluminum foil and fit firmly over the crust. Bake for about 15-18 minutes until the crust is lightly browned.
  4. Remove aluminum foil from crust and bake for another 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan. Remove sausage from casing and cook over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, breaking up the pieces. Add the sliced mushrooms and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes. Stir in herbs and remove the pan from the heat to cool down.
  6. Arrange half the shallots and 1/3 of the sausage mixture into the bottom of the crust, creating an even layer.
  7. Whisk the eggs, sour cream, and pinch of salt until just blended, then pour into tart shell.
  8. Artfully arrange the remaining mushrooms, sausage, and shallots throughout the tart pan and bake for 20 minutes. The filling should still wiggle slightly when the pan is removed from the oven. Allow the tart to stand and set for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
*Luganiga, also known as luganega or luganeghe, is a traditional mild and lean pork sausage made throughout Italy. Generally produced with meat taken from the neck or the cheek of the pig, the meat is then traditionally seasoned with nutmeg, coriander, pepper, and cinnamon and sometimes Parmigiano Reggiano - before stuffed into a natural sheep or hog casing. You can find Luganiga sausage in the meat section of most large grocery stores.

Pâte Brisée
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
5 tbsp butter, chilled, cut into cubes
3 tbsp shortening, chilled, cut into cube
3 tbsp ice water
  1. Combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Using a pastry cutter, or two knives, cut butter and shortening cubes into the flour until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  2. Add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, into the flour mixture until dough comes together. Make sure it's not too wet.
  3. Knead together just a couple of times, careful not to overwork the dough. Pat into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour before rolling out.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


pablo neruda, Residencia en la Tierra (lodgewars)

A world marches to the place where you were going, sister.
The songs of your mouth advance each day
in the mouths of the glorious people that you loved.
Your heart was brave.

In the old kitchens of your country, on the dusty
roads, something is said and passes on,
something returns to the flame of your golden people,
something awakes and sings.

They are your people, sister: those who today speak your name,
we who from everywhere, from the water and the land,
with your name leave unspoken and speak other names.
Because fire does not die.

Monday, February 6, 2012


I recently found a bracelet on the ground. There was a little message on the silver disc, 'Love the Life you Live.' It gave me pause; I was convinced the universe was speaking directly to me.

A lot of us mistakenly believe (and wait for) something has to change before we can be happy. But in order to live the life you love, you have to love the life you live. Happiness doesn't have to be put on hold until you finally get that dream job, win the lottery, meet the love of your life, or even lose those extra 10 pounds. Be happy now, not later. If necessary, fake it, soon you won't have to. Here's how you begin:
  1. Be present. Look around and simply observe life. Appreciate each moment as it unfolds; grasp and learn to appreciate what's here, right now, and not what was or will be. It is only by being present that you can truly gain perspective, and this will make the difference in how you view your place in the world.
  2. Practice gratitude. Gratitude makes what you have into enough. Everything in life ebbs and flows but true wealth comes from the security of knowing we have our health, our family, and our friends.
  3. Pursue balance. Self-creation is a subtle balance between restraint and abandonment. We must first master discipline before we can fling our souls out into the world.
  4. Nurture friendships. Some people are simply meant to pass briefly through our lives while others have the potential to be life-long friends. Surround yourself with positive people who inspire you to create, appreciate, or strive to be a better person.
  5. Simplify. Pare down, de-clutter, and learn to love the basics. Appreciate the simplicities of life that cost us nothing. Bringing your house in order, taking care of business, crossing off items on your 'to do' list, these are the stuff dreams are made of.
  6. Take risks. Growth, progress, evolution - they all involve risks. Life is not for the feint-hearted. Nor should it be taken for granted, for we never know what's around the corner.
  7. Let go of limitations, embrace possibilities. Most of us strive to live a life less ordinary, but to do so we must toss aside the limitations we place upon ourselves.
  8. Dig for your authentic self. Each of us has the soul of an onion, and as we peel away the layers, we in turn peel away the labels that conceal our authentic selves. We must dig deep into the heart of darkness, and discover in the unveiling that all the pieces of ourselves exists as one without distinction.
  9. Find your sacred space. We all yearn for a haven that not only offers us a refuge from the minutiae of everyday life but buffers us from the distractions that steal our focus and cloud our creativity.
  10. Learn to pause. When we're drowning in the minutiae of our days, and we scramble to stay afloat, it is the small unexpected moments of joy that rescue us from ourselves. A pause, the space between, the beat between breaths - these are the sublime contractions of our lives when possibility becomes promise and silence transforms us.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


where you are
right here and now
this is how bad stories end.

but it's also how the best stories

i want...

to go.

or somewhere

over the rainbow


maybe even elsewhere.

where do i buy
a ticket

to nowhere?

i'm a connoisseur of roads

i've been tasting roads
my whole life.

this road will never end.

it probably goes all around the world.

we shall meet

in the place where there is
no darkness.

but I never made it
past the x

marks the spot.


Saturday, February 4, 2012


image via humanoid

I believe we spend our entire lives chasing one moment we experienced at some point in our lives. A moment when you felt in complete harmony with your surroundings and the world you lived in, but mostly with yourself, basking in a contentment and rightness, that however fleeting, left an indelible mark upon you. And maybe when you think you're chasing a dream, what you're really doing is chasing that remembered joy.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012


via ashtray (tumblr)

"We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are." - anais nin