Sculptures of the individual figures from Rodin's Burghers of Calais stand in front of Memorial Church on the Stanford Campus. They're dramatic and beautiful in their way but have always seemed a little out of place to me in sun-washed Palo Alto. But since the end of the quarter is approaching and finals are upon us poor students, I thought it was appropriate to put up something with just a hint of despair and resignation. As I write this, I'm brewing an exceptionally large pot of coffee, putting on one sweatshirt over an even larger sweatshirt, and packing my things to head to the library. I'll be done next Tuesday - see you on the other side.
Monday, December 2, 2013
On the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving, my uncle made dinner for the whole family. A homemade seafood sausage with a touch of beurre blanc followed by duck breast with a mushroom ragout. My aunt made a Boston Cream Pie for dessert. As you can see, our family is not one to stint on meals prior to Thanksgiving.
I am the sort of person who will choose pie over cake any day of the week but this cake.... THIS CAKE is something else. The cake itself is tender, the custard rich and dense, the chocolate ganache a perfect bittersweet foil to the layers beneath. It was the best cake I've had in ages, and though I hate to admit it, even better (or perhaps just more novel) than the excellent pies that followed on Thanksgiving. Our eight-year-old twin neighbors who joined us for dinner agreed, eschewing pie for staggeringly large slices of cake piled high with whipped cream.
Posted by Lauren at Monday, December 02, 2013
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Posted by Lauren at Saturday, November 30, 2013
Sunday, November 24, 2013
We celebrated an early Thanksgiving in Napa with Daniel's family on Saturday. It was a lovely evening of champagne and delicious food (you can never have too many Thanksgiving dinners, in my opinion) and because a group of us were planning to sleep over at the house, I decided that I'd make sticky buns for breakfast the morning after. A few weeks back, I saw a recipe for cranberry-orange breakfast buns on Smitten Kitchen and had been waiting for an appropriate occasion to make them because they looked so beautiful and seasonally appropriate. This was that occasion.
I approached the recipe with a modicum of trepidation- sticky buns always seemed a bit finicky, with all of the kneading and the rises and the rolling, etc. But really, the dough came together amazingly easily. I didn't have a stand mixer at my disposal so I just attacked it with a wooden spoon and then kneaded it by hand for a few minutes. There was something really satisfying about kneading a ball of plump, orange-scented dough. I let it rise on the counter for a little over two hours and then rolled it out and spread the brown sugar cranberry filling over it.
I rolled the whole thing up, sliced it into twelve pieces, put the slices into a buttered pan, and put the pan into the refrigerator to slow-rise overnight. When I pulled the pan out in the morning to bake the buns, a pool of cranberry juice had formed at the bottom; when the buns baked, the juice burbled up and sort of caramelized around the bottom of the buns. It was glorious.
They came out of the oven beautifully puffed up and golden, with the cranberry swirl showing through. The icing was a simple powdered sugar and orange juice mixture that I poured over the buns just before serving.
They were so much fun to make and I liked the base dough a lot, so I'm already thinking about ways to tweak the recipe- maybe apple cinnamon, another option suggested by Ms. Perelman. If you're curious, the recipe can be found here.
Posted by Lauren at Sunday, November 24, 2013
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Friday, November 22, 2013
Hello Friday! I'm officially on vacation- this morning I headed into San Francisco to meet my mother for an early breakfast at The Mill (the toast above was their country bread with peanut butter, honey, and sea salt) followed by a visit to the de Young to see the Hockney exhibit (I have to admit- we both hated it) and a bit of shopping before meeting up with my dad for lunch at Campton Place. Then I went and got a haircut before heading up to Napa for dinner. Basically the nicest day ever and a fantastic start to the holiday break. Back soon with some pictures from our early Thanksgiving in Napa!
Posted by Lauren at Friday, November 22, 2013
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Yesterday we had the first rain of the season. This is good- it's been desperately dry up in these parts- and to be honest, I kind of enjoy gray, rainy days where it's perfectly acceptable to stay inside in an oversize sweater and house slippers. This is how you know I'm a born and bred Californian- rain is a novelty.
Anyway, I love that it feels like fall and that we are so close to Thanksgiving. One of the real perks, in my opinion, of being back in school is that we get such a lovely long break at Thanksgiving- in my case, ten glorious days. Daniel and I are headed up to Napa on Saturday for an early celebration with his family (I've been tasked with making a soup and brussel sprouts) and then I'm flying to San Diego on Sunday to spend the rest of the week with my family, minus my brother, who is currently galavanting around Europe. Good times.
In the meanwhile, I have a bunch of errands and last-minute schoolwork and packing to take care of, so nothing terribly exciting to report. Instead, I offer you a picture of my humble lunch. Because I'm heading out of town for ten days, I've resisted buying groceries and have spent the past few days trying to cobble together meals from the depths of my cupboards. Lunch was made up of bits of cheese leftover from my trip to Pt. Reyes over the weekend, supplemented with nuts, olives and a few crackers. Not bad at all.
Posted by Lauren at Wednesday, November 20, 2013