This is one of my favorite easy recipes from Chef Eric Ripert’s “Get Toasted” series. Simple recipes with a toaster over. I don’t personally own a toaster over, but these easily translate to a conventional oven.
This is one of my favorite easy recipes from Chef Eric Ripert’s “Get Toasted” series. Simple recipes with a toaster over. I don’t personally own a toaster over, but these easily translate to a conventional oven.
Marguerite Porete (?-1310)
Marguerite Porete was a French mystic and the author of “The Mirror of Simple Souls.” It is a Christian Spiritual work concerning divine love. When she refused to remove her book form circulation and recant her views she was burned at the stake as a heretic in 1310. Little is known of her life except through her trial for heresy and it is certainly biased and incomplete. She has been a rather obscure figure until recent years as until 1946 her work had been published anonymously since her death.
Porete was officially warned by the Church that her works were heretical and they were publically burned by the Bishop of Cambrai. She had written her book in Old French as opposed to Latin and was ordered not to circulate her ideas ever again. She was eventually arrested by the local inquisitor. Twenty-one theologians scoured her book for evidence of heresy. In the end three bishops passed final judgment on her. After a year and a half in prison in Paris her trial began. She refused to recant her ideas or cooperate with the authorities. Because she did not recant she was found guilty and burnt at the stake. As she died the crowd is said to have been moved to tears by her calmness.
“The Mirror of Simple Souls,” is an allegorical conversation between Love, Reason, Soul, and Truth. It deals with Porete’s belief that when the soul is full of God’s love it is united with God and in a union which transcends the contradictions of the world. In this state one cannot sin because the soul is united with God’s will and incapable of such. A few quotes:
“O Truth, says this Soul, for god’s sake, do not say
That of myself I might ever say something of Him,
save through Him;
And this is true, do not doubt it,
And if it pleases you to know whose I am,
I will say it through pure courtesy:
Love holds me so completely in her domain,
That I have neither sense, nor will,
Nor reason to do anything,
Except through her, as you know.”
“Theologians and other clerks,
You won’t understand this book,
— However bright your wits —
If you do not meet it humbly,
And in this way, Love and Faith
Make you surmount Reason, for
They are the protectors of Reason’s house. ”
“God has nowhere to put his goodness, if not in me no place to put himself entire, if not in me. And by this means I am the exemplar of salvation, and what is more, I am the salvation itself of every creature, and the glory of God.”
~ Marguerite Porete
Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)
Sylvia Plath was an American poet, novelist, and short story writer. Born in Boston, Massachusetts she studied at Smith College and Newnham College. She married poet Ted Hughes in 1956 and had two children Frieda and Nicholas. After a long struggle with depression she committed suicide in 1963. To this day controversy surrounds both her life and death, as well as her writing and legacy. She along with some of her contemporaries (Anne Sexton and Robert Lowell among others) advanced the genre of confessional poetry. She is best known for her two collections of poetry “The Colossus and Other Poems,” and “Ariel,” as well as her semi-autobiographical novel “The Bell Jar.” In 1982 she became the first poet to win the Pulitzer Prize posthumously for “The Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath.”
Growing up in Winthrop, Massachusetts an eight year old Plath published her first poem in the children’s section of the “Boston Herald.” In addition to her writing, she showed a lot of promise as an artist winning an award for her painting from The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in 1947. Her father died when she was eight due to untreated diabetes and led to her having a loss in faith and remained ambivalent about religion for the rest of her life. In 1942 her mother moved the family to Wellesley, Massachusetts.
In 1950 while attending Smith College she wrote to her mother, “The world is splitting open at my feet like a ripe, juicy watermelon.” The summer after her third year of college she spent a month in New York City as a guest editor of “Mademoiselle” magazine. It did not go as well as planned. That summer she was refused admission to the Harvard writing seminar and began an emotional downward spiral. In August 1953 she made her first suicide attempt by crawling under her house and taking her mother’s sleeping pills. She was not found for three days. Later she would write of the experience, “blissfully succumbed to the whirling blackness that I honestly believed was eternal oblivion.” She would spend the next six months at McLean Psychiatric Hospital. While under the care of Dr. Ruth Beuscher she would receive insulin and electric shock treatments. She appeared to recover and returned to Smith College.
Plath and English poet Ted Hughes were married on June 16th, 1956. Plath described Hughes as, “a singer, story-teller, lion and world-wanderer with a voice like the thunder of God.” In 1957 they moved to the United States with Plath first teaching at Smith College, and then moving to Boston in 1958 where she worked as a receptionist in the psychiatric unit at Massachusetts General Hospital while in the evening attending a creative writing class by Robert Lowell (Anne Sexton was also in attendance). During this time both Lowell and Sexton encouraged her to write from her own experience. She openly discussed her depression with Lowell, and her suicide attempt with Sexton. At this time she began to see herself as a more serious and focused poet and storyteller. She also began a lifetime friendship with the poet W. S. Merwin. In December she resumed her treatment with Dr. Ruth Beuscher.
In December of 1959 Plath and Ted Hughes moved to London. She remained anxious about writing confessional poetry from her own experience. Around this time she would explain that she learned, “to be true to my own weirdnesses.” In 1960 she released her first book of poetry. In 1961 her second pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, severely of her poems address this including, “Parliament Hill Fields.” In January of 1962 her son Nicholas was born. In June she was in a car accident which she would explain as one of her many suicide attempts. That July she would discover Ted Hughes was having an affair and they would separate in September.
Beginning in October of 1962 she would enter into the greatest burst of creativity of her career. It is at this time she would write almost all of the poems for which she is remembered and released posthumously in the collection “Ariel.” Her novel “The Bell Jar” came out in January 1963 to critical indifference. On February 11th, 1963 Plath was found dead having committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning in the kitchen with her head in the oven and the gas turned on. Hughes was devastated and in a letter wrote, “That’s the end of my life. The rest is posthumous.”
In the years following her death there were many accusations that Hughes had been abusive to Plath. The feminist poet Robin Morgan published a poem which openly accused Hughes of assault and her murder. In 1989 Hughes wrote an article in “The Guardian,” with this quote, “In the years soon after [Plath’s] death, when scholars approached me, I tried to take their apparently serious concern for the truth about Sylvia Plath seriously. But I learned my lesson early. […] If I tried too hard to tell them exactly how something happened, in the hope of correcting some fantasy, I was quite likely to be accused of trying to suppress Free Speech. In general, my refusal to have anything to do with the Plath Fantasia has been regarded as an attempt to suppress Free Speech […] The Fantasia about Sylvia Plath is more needed than the facts. Where that leaves respect for the truth of her life (and of mine), or for her memory, or for the literary tradition, I do not know.”
Hughes inherited the Plath estate and has been condemned in some circles for burning Plath’s last journal. He lost another journal and an unfinished novel and instructed a collection of her papers and journals should not be released until 2013. In 1998 he would publish a collection of poems called, “Birthday Letters,” which consists of 88 poems about his relationship with Plath. It would go on to win the Forward Poetry Prize, T.S. Eliot Prize for poetry, and the Whitebread Poetry Prize. He would die later that year of cancer.
A couple of quotes :
“If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed.”
“Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.”
“Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no to-morrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.”
~ Sylvia Plath
Tulips – By Sylvia Plath
The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here.
Look how white everything is, how quiet, how snowed-in
I am learning peacefulness, lying by myself quietly
As the light lies on these white walls, this bed, these hands.
I am nobody; I have nothing to do with explosions.
I have given my name and my day-clothes up to the nurses
And my history to the anaesthetist and my body to surgeons.
They have propped my head between the pillow and the sheet-cuff
Like an eye between two white lids that will not shut.
Stupid pupil, it has to take everything in.
The nurses pass and pass, they are no trouble,
They pass the way gulls pass inland in their white caps,
Doing things with their hands, one just the same as another,
So it is impossible to tell how many there are.
My body is a pebble to them, they tend it as water
Tends to the pebbles it must run over, smoothing them gently.
They bring me numbness in their bright needles, they bring me sleep.
Now I have lost myself I am sick of baggage —-
My patent leather overnight case like a black pillbox,
My husband and child smiling out of the family photo;
Their smiles catch onto my skin, little smiling hooks.
I have let things slip, a thirty-year-old cargo boat
Stubbornly hanging on to my name and address.
They have swabbed me clear of my loving associations.
Scared and bare on the green plastic-pillowed trolley
I watched my teaset, my bureaus of linen, my books
Sink out of sight, and the water went over my head.
I am a nun now, I have never been so pure.
I didn’t want any flowers, I only wanted
To lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.
How free it is, you have no idea how free —-
The peacefulness is so big it dazes you,
And it asks nothing, a name tag, a few trinkets.
It is what the dead close on, finally; I imagine them
Shutting their mouths on it, like a Communion tablet.
The tulips are too red in the first place, they hurt me.
Even through the gift paper I could hear them breathe
Lightly, through their white swaddlings, like an awful baby.
Their redness talks to my wound, it corresponds.
They are subtle: they seem to float, though they weigh me down,
Upsetting me with their sudden tongues and their colour,
A dozen red lead sinkers round my neck.
Nobody watched me before, now I am watched.
The tulips turn to me, and the window behind me
Where once a day the light slowly widens and slowly thins,
And I see myself, flat, ridiculous, a cut-paper shadow
Between the eye of the sun and the eyes of the tulips,
And I hve no face, I have wanted to efface myself.
The vivid tulips eat my oxygen.
Before they came the air was calm enough,
Coming and going, breath by breath, without any fuss.
Then the tulips filled it up like a loud noise.
Now the air snags and eddies round them the way a river
Snags and eddies round a sunken rust-red engine.
They concentrate my attention, that was happy
Playing and resting without committing itself.
The walls, also, seem to be warming themselves.
The tulips should be behind bars like dangerous animals;
They are opening like the mouth of some great African cat,
And I am aware of my heart: it opens and closes
Its bowl of red blooms out of sheer love of me.
The water I taste is warm and salt, like the sea,
And comes from a country far away as health.
Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986)
Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir was a French existentialist philosopher, intellectual, feminist and social theorist. She did not consider herself a philosopher, however her contributions to existential feminist thought firmly enshrines her legacy as one. In her lifetime she wrote novels, essays, biographies, a multi-volume autobiography, including articles/essays on philosophy, politics, and social issues. She is best remembered for her treatise “The Second Sex,” a highly detailed analysis of women’s oppression and as it relates and influences contemporary feminism. She is also known for her two metaphysical novels “She Came to Stay” and “The Mandarins,” but by far best known or renown for “The Second Sex.”
Simone de Beauvoir was born in Paris and studied mathematics and philosophy at the Institut Catholique and literature/languages at the Institut Sainte-Marie. She then went on to study philosophy at the Sorbonne. Afterwards while completing her practice teaching requirements she first met Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Claude Lévi-Strauss. While studying for her agrégation in philosophy (a highly competitive postgraduate civil service examination which serves as a national ranking of students for some position in the public education system) she met fellow students Jean-Paul Sartre, Paul Nizan, and René Maheu. The jury narrowly awarded Sartre first place over Beauvoir. She was twenty-one at the time and the youngest ever to pass the exam.
In June 1949 “The Second Sex” was published in France. She argues that men made women the “Other” in society by putting a false and constructed mystery around them. Therefore men used this as their excuse not to understand women, their problems and most importantly not to help them. She went on to argue that men stereotyped women and used it to organize society into a patriarchy. As an existentialist she believed, “l’existence précède l’essence” (existence precedes essence), there by one is not born a woman, but becomes one. It is the social construction of woman that she identifies as fundamental to woman oppression. She went on to argue that even Mary Wollstonecraft considered men to be the ideal to which women should aspire and that this belief limited women’s success by maintaining that perception. She vigorously argued that for feminism to move forward this assumption must be set aside. Thus Beauvoir aseerted that women are as capable of choice as man, and therefore can ellect to elevate themselves and move beyond the position which they have been resigned and reach a position in which they take responsibility for oneself and the world, where one can choose one’s freedom.
A long quote and a few short quotes :
“Art, literature, and philosophy are attempts to found the world anew on a human freedom: that of the creator; to foster such an aim, one must first unequivocally posit oneself as a freedom. The restrictions that education and custom impose on a woman limit her grasp of the universe…Indeed, for one to become a creator, it is not enough to be cultivated, that is, to make going to shows and meeting people part of one’s life; culture must be apprehended through the free movement of a transcendence; the spirit with all its riches must project itself in an empty sky that is its to fill; but if a thousand fine bonds tie it to the earth, its surge is broken. The girl today can certainly go out alone, stroll in the Tuileries; but I have already said how hostile the street is: eyes everywhere, hands waiting: if she wanders absentmindedly, her thoughts elsewhere, if she lights a cigarette in a cafe, if she goes to the cinema alone, an unpleasant incident can quickly occur; she must inspire respect by the way she dresses and behaves: this concern rivets her to the ground and self. “Her wings are clipped.” At eighteen, T.E. Lawrence went on a grand tour through France by bicycle; a young girl would never be permitted to take on such an adventure…Yet such experiences have an inestimable impact: this is how an individual in the headiness of freedom and discovery learns to look at the entire world as his fief…[The girl] may feel alone within the world: she never stands up in front of it, unique and sovereign.”
“One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, and compassion”
“A man attaches himself to woman — not to enjoy her, but to enjoy himself.”
“Man is defined as a human being and a woman as a female – whenever she behaves as a human being she is said to imitate the male.”
“Society, being codified by man, decrees that woman is inferior; she can do away with this inferiority only by destroying the male’s superiority.”
“The word love has by no means the same sense for both sexes, and this is one cause of the serious misunderstandings that divide them.”
“Representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men; they describe it from their own point of view, which they confuse with absolute truth.”
“One is not born a genius, one becomes a genius; and the feminine situation has up to the present rendered this becoming practically impossible.”
~ Simone de Beauvoir
Tartare de tomate Avec Légumes Conservés au vinaigre Et Tête-Sur Crevette Géante
3 Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
Kosher Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
2 Teaspoons Finely Minced Shallot
1 Teaspoon Minced Chives
Fresh Thyme Sprigs
1 Bunch White Asparagus
1 Jar Pickled Asparagus
¼ Pound Haricot Verts
8 Baby Carrots
½ Pound Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
8 Head On Jumbo Shrimp
2 Tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
½ Cup Vinegar
½ Cup Water
½ Cup Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
½ Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
Herbs de Provence, to taste
Take tomatoes in a bowl and toss with shallot, chives, finely chopped thyme and salt and pepper to taste. In a bowl mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and herbs de Provence. Whisk to create emulsion.
Bring small pot of salted water to boil. Blanch white asparagus, haricot verts and baby carrots. Individually place the vegetables in boiling water for a few minutes or until tender. Immediately move to an ice bath to stop cooking and preserve color.
In a pot add vinegar, water and Old Bay seasoning. Bring to a boil. Add shrimp and cover. Boil for 2 minutes and check shrimp so as to not overcook. Shrimp should be opaque. Immediately remove to ice bath.
Place a 3 inch ring mold on a plate. Place about 4-5 teaspoons of tomato tartare in the center and use the back of a spoon to spread mixture so it fills bottom of mold. Lift the ring mold and repeat on other three plates. Toss white asparagus, haricot verts, carrots with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar mixture. Place vegetables, baby arugula and fresh herbs carefully on top of tomato tartare. Drizzle with balsamic mixture. Add two shrimp to each plate and serve immediately.
2 Pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes
8 Ounces Unsalted Butter (See Instructions)
¾ Cup of Heavy Cream, warmed
1-3 Tablespoon Ground Horseradish to taste
¼ Teaspoon Black Truffle Oil
Place unpeeled potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold salted water. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are thoroughly cooked. Drain the potatoes and allow them to rest a minute or so to dry out. Peel. Put potatoes in a ricer and rice into a saucepan. With each batch of potatoes add a chunk of refrigerated butter. Cold butter emulsifies better than room temperature and keeps your potatoes from getting overly oily. Joel Robuchon’s ultimate potato puree has a 2:1 potato to butter ratio. Use between 8 – 16 ounces of butter if desired.
Stir in Horseradish. Place saucepan over low heat and whip potatoes with a spoon for 1 – 2 minutes until smooth. Potatoes can be held at this point until ready to serve.
Before serving place potato puree over low heat. Warm potatoes stirring constantly. Stir in warm cream a third at a time stirring constantly so as not to burn potatoes. Stir in ¼ teaspoon Black Truffle oil or to taste. Stir potatoes rapidly until creamy and soft. If potatoes are too heavy or thick, stir in a tablespoon at a time of warm water to reach desire consistency. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
Alinea as many of you know is Grant Achatz’s Chicago “Restaurant of the Future.” The World’s 50 Best Restaurants website described it,
Alinea might just be the blueprint for the restaurant of the future, but fortunately we’re allowed to eat there now. Chef-patron Grant Achatz (rhymes with jackets) has entirely rethought the eating-out experience: bite-sized dishes are suspended by wires and some creations are even served directly onto the table; the food is techniqueled, using gels, foams, powders and concentrations, all served in a slickly modern interior. An extraordinary man and an extraordinary restaurant.
The Art of Eating described Grant Achatz and Alinea,
Someone new has entered the arena. His name is Grant Achatz, and he is redefining the American restaurant once again for an entirely new generation . . . Alinea is in perpetual motion; having eaten here once, you can’t wait to come back, to see what Achatz will come up with next.” –GourmetReviews & AwardsJames Beard Foundation Cookbook Award Finalist: Cooking from a professional Point of View Category James Beard Foundation Outstanding Chef Award! “Even if your kitchen isn’t equipped with a paint-stripping heat gun, thermocirculator, or refractometer, and you’re only vaguely aware that chefs use siphons and foams in contemporary cooking, you can enjoy this daring cookbook
from Grant Achatz of the Chicago restaurant Alinea.. . . While the recipes can hardly become part of your everday cooking, this book is far too interesting to be left on the coffee table. As you read, a question emerges: Is Alinea’s food art? . . . I go a little further, describing Achatz with a word that he would probably never use to describe himself: avant-garde, as it defined art movements at the beginning of the last century–planned, self-concious, and structured
attempts to provoke and shake the status quo. Just as with those artists, the results are not necessarily as interesting as the intentions and concepts behind them. In this sense, this volume constitutes a full-blown although not threatening manifesto.
The following short video is 24 hours at Alinea in three minutes :