31 May 2009

reflecting light

now that i've worn out, i've worn out the world

i'm on my knees in fascination
looking through the night

and the moon's never seen me before

but i'm reflecting light.

Sam Phillips -- Reflecting Light

all photos © me :)

29 May 2009

foodie fridays: pesto rolls

One of my favorite restaurants from when I lived in Idaho was actually the café at our local co-op. My favorite item on the menu? Their pesto rolls, completely legendary for their delicious, carby goodness. My friends and I would often find excuses to go pick some up. So when I moved away, this was something I knew I needed the recipe for. I actually made these several times while in France for cheap lunches paired with pumpkin soup from the local Casino. Without further ado, here is the recipe for you to try on your own!

Pesto Rolls
1 1/4 cups Water
1 cups of 2% Milk
1/2 Tablespoons Yeast
2 tsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Canola oil
1 Tbsp. cup Honey
5 1/2 cups Unbleached White Flour
1 1/2 cups pesto
2 cups mozzarella & parmesan cheeses (the mix ratio is up to you!)

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Mix the water - unbleached white flour until the dough forms into a natural ball (the dough should not stick to your hand when it is touched, but do not let it get dry with too much flour). Put the dough onto a floured counter top and roll out into a flat rectangle.

Spread a thick layer of pesto on the dough. Then layer the mozzarella and parmesan cheese on the pesto. Roll dough lengthwise into a log, maintaining even thickness of the dough throughout. Slice into 1-inch sections and place the slices on their side on a baking sheet (much like cinnamon rolls).

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. ENJOY!

28 May 2009

new venture: 22 new things before 22

So I'm jumping on a birthday bandwagon with Sarah Von and doing 22 new things before my 22nd birthday in October. I need to brainstorm ideas though. I think I'll keep her two constraints of must be completable in a day and cost under $50. I'm also happy to take suggestions!

001. Take a trip using the Lonely Planet's Guide to Experimental Travel.
002. Make a successful batch of Parisian Macarons.
003. Get a henna tattoo
004. Join a French Conversation group
005. Write haikus to 22 of my friends.
006. Make this chocolate bread featured on NPR's Kitchen Window series.
007. Take a picture (of n'importe quoi!) every day until my birthday.
008. Buy some gladiator sandals.
009. Drink a dirty martini.
010. Watch an old James Bond movie.
011. Read the unabridged version of the Count of Monte Cristo.
012. Have a CouchSurfing experience. (hopefully positive!)
013. Eat dinner by myself in a decent restaurant.
014. Attempt to make a paint chip wallet.
015. Read 22 tales from 1001 Arabian Nights.
016. Learn something from The Dangerous Book for Boys
017. Finally buy The Daring Book for Girls.
021. Donate $22 on my birthday to a charity.
022. Attend Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT to celebrate my birthday!

26 May 2009

travel photo tuesdays: le marché en aix-en-provence

One of my favorite weekends in France, we spent the last weekend in October exploring Aix-en-Provence and Avignon. In accordance with my travel philosophy (act like the locals as much as you are able), we browsed the saturday morning market. I love the variety of merchandise you could find there, but mostly, I loved going through all the produce stands and seeing all the fresh produce and dreaming of what I could be cooking. This is still one of my all-time favorite photos from that semester.

22 May 2009

foodie fridays: crème brûlée à la lavande

This is one of my favorite recipes for crème brûlée. It's a Williams-Sonoma card recipe that I picked up when I bought a brème brûlée set for my mom for her birthday, complete with kitchen torch. And yes, that is my favorite part of the whole process: the carmelization of the sugar.

2 1/4 cups (680 mL) heavy cream
2 T dried lavender flowers
5 egg yolks
2/3 cup (155g) sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
turbinado sugar for carmelizing

Preheat the oven to 325F (165C). Line a baking pan that is 2 inches (5cm) deep with a kitchen towel. Have a pot of boiling water ready.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream and lavender flowers and bring just to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla until blended. Slowly add the lavender cream, whisking constantly until blended. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl (preferably with a pouring lip) and divide among 4 large or 6 medium ramekins. Skim bubbles off the surface of the cream in each ramekin. Place the ramekins in the prepared baking pan and add boiling water to fill the pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake until the custards are just set, about 40 minutes.

Remove the ramekins from the pan and transfer to a wire rack. Let the custards cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Just before serving, sprinkle 2 tsp of turbinado sugar over the surface of each custard. Carmelize with a kitchen torch or broiler in the oven.


bon appétit!

21 May 2009

TESOL: i'm doing it

...Today I decided that I want to get my TESOL certificate and diploma. And I'm starting this summer. I'm doing the course online, so I'm not required to have any technical teaching experience to receive this, which is great for convenience's sake. It's something I've tossed around for awhile, and I decided that ultimately, it would probably open up more opportunities for me and make me an even more attractive candidate to grad schools. Right now, I have that little panic flutter in my stomach that you get immediately after finalizing a big decision. I know it's right, but there will be 350 hours of work to be done. But I can do it, and I want to do it. so yay!

18 May 2009

real life began a week ago.

i just graduated from college. i am now an official holder of a Bachelor of Arts. in French. and what now?

i have many dreams and criteria to achieving these dreams:
+ being back in France within the next 5 2 years
+ where i can make good friends with similar (and differing) interests
+ i can continue learning. languages, photography, the history of an obscure island, quoi que ce soit
+ i can eat all kinds of delicious food.
+ i can read the economist in bed if i wish.

i'm hoping that working at Disney World in their College Program will at least meet a few of these criteria. need to make that money to get to grad school!