Thursday, September 15, 2011

7 Links of Lostpastremembered and Peach Jasmine Crepes

I read that in 12th century Spain, Nachmanides, Rabbi and interpreter of the Kabbala (The Zohar),  explained the relevance of the number 7 by saying 7 is the number of the natural world  –– 7 days in a week, 7 notes on a scale, 7 directions.  There are 7 attributes of physicality (height, width, depth, top and bottom, front and back, left and right, plus connecting the other 6) – nothing exists in the physical world without these attributes… even a rainbow has 7 colors!  Never occurred to me that 7 was a special number.

Why am I so interested in 7???? The 7 LINKS MEME that’s going around is the reason.  My blog-pals, Trix and Lazaro tagged me for this so I thought I would give it a whirl.  The trick is to choose 7 "mosts" from your own blog: the most beautiful, the most overlooked, the most helpful, the most controversial, the most successful, the most popular, and the one you are most proud of –– 7 defining posts.  While I'm at it, I'd love to get David Solmonson at 12 Bottle Bar to have a go at his 7 mosts because I love his drinks, and Laura Kelly at Silk Road Gourmet because she's written about so many cool things!

This really put me into a spin.  I told Trix it was like picking your favorite child. The first thing I did was put myself on my favorites list so I could more easily look at 114 posts that I have done in the last 21 months (is there a better way to do this?).  114, can there be so many??

First Post

It has become a real personal voyage as I chart where I’ve been.  I see the evolution of the blog and the way it has moved from place to place, century to century.

I see how my photography has developed from pretty bad to a personal style that I am no longer embarrassed about (but still need to work on).

I see that my writing has gotten a little tighter and my research more on point.  There are a few easy quick posts that turned out well and some huge efforts that were, well, a bit long and convoluted.  With each I learn.

All and all, I’m grateful for the exercise and thank Trix and Lazaro for giving me the opportunity.  Why does this sound like some award’s speech???

The most beautiful, well, here comes that “pick your prettiest child moment” –– it’s tough and I will cheat and put in 3 that I love for different reasons.  One would be sea urchin pasta, I just love that picture for the color, the soft focus that feels vaguely marine and using that shell at the last minutes really made the photograph. It is also one of my most popular posts and one of the most delicious things I’ve made –– top 5. When I found a great supplier of uni –– that was when the dish started singing.  I could eat it every day. 

The other just might be the curried chicken from Olana… again the dish I used for it had so much to do with the way it looked.

The last would be the incredible eggs with asparagus, smoked salmon and Dutch Sauce that was a real moment in food porn and also incredibly good.  Dutch sauce with cream and elderflower vinegar instead of butter and lemon was incredibly good and ate as decadently as it looked!

The most overlooked? That would be my first Ambergris post.  Although the 2nd ambergris post was only 2 weeks later, the title for that 2nd one had chocolate in it and that was hugely popular.  I thought the ambergris post was so interesting… I for one knew so very little about it until I started researching. When I actually found I could get some from Ambergris Co. NZ, I was over the moon.  It is magical.

Sadly, it didn’t get a lot of visitors, too weird, I guess. And that’s a pity since it also had hot chocolate that was so good! I am also fond of the post because it introduced me to Mandy Aftel of Aftelier and all her spectacular essences which have made everything I make with them so incredibly good ( including the recipe for today).

The most helpful?  I don’t really do “how-to recipes”, that’s not my style or my audience.  Although most of my recipes aren’t killer difficult, some are.  I think I have 2 choices for this.  The first is grouse, because I had always wanted to make it and was afraid since I didn’t have a clue about how to best cook grouse.  I really asked around and researched a lot and found some great techniques that I use all the time now (frozen hazelnut oil under the skin, who knew?).  The result was one of the best things I ever stuck in my mouth.  My friends who shared the run-through bird felt the same way… they sucked every bit of flesh off the tiny bones and nearly licked the plate…and these are very proper guys!  

The other would probably be making real marshmallow from scratch.  I knew they once were made with real marshmallow root and wanted to see how it would be.  It took scads of research and dead ends and the first effort, although tasty, was more like marshmallow fluff.  As it turned out, it wasn’t a lost cause–– it was fabulous in hot chocolate!  I had trouble with gum tragacanth… there were no real instructions about how to use it.  Well, suffice to say all of my trials are listed and you can now make them if you so desire.  They are, as you would imagine, much more complexly flavored and the fluff was fabulous in hot chocolate!

The most controversial?  Dinner on Horseback.  

Why? It had nothing to do with the dish, which was simple trout and quite good.  It was about the event… I write about history too so food isn’t the only topic.  It was one of the only times I actually dumped a few comments (there are always one or 2 nutters once in a while that I ditch).  These were rather unpleasant comments about Billings being a pig,  asking why was I writing about such a disgusting display, etc.  Problem was, I’d contacted a grandson and just felt creepy about him reading that stuff so I took it out. 

Me personally, I had wanted to know more about The Dinner on Horseback since I first saw the picture as a teenager.  Thanks to the brilliance of fellow blogger, David Solmonson at 12 Bottle Bar and his awesome detective work, I finely found out what they ate… it had never been publicised, only hinted at.  David found it in a book on horses, of course!   And the reason that you never saw a copy of the menu was because it was on a silver horseshoe that was given to the guests… the menu David found was a copy of the original order for the dinner that was in the now defunct Sherry’s archives.  This trumped all issues I may have about celebrating conspicuous consumption.  And honestly, I write about food history… believe me when I say, the dinner on horseback is tame compared to monarchy breaking, treasury busting parties!!!

The most successful? Babette’s Feast.  I loved that movie, I really did.  And it took me a very long time to work up the courage to make the quail in puff pastry. I had no idea how to make quail and my last attempt at puff pastry had been a disaster.  For some reason the cooking gods were smiling on me when I made it and it all turned out perfectly and perfectly delicious.

The most popular? Kentucky Derby and Secretariat , hands down.  Of all the visitors to the blog, 1/3 have been there.  It had nothing to do with the food although Jenny Benedict's little cucumber sandwiches are awesome and so was her mayonnaise.  It had everything to do with Secretariat and the film coming out at just the right moment.

I was very proud of what I wrote since it came from the heart.  Watching Secretariat win Belmont was one of the greatest things I ever saw.  I never get tired of watching it.  I got 12,000 hits in one day as the movie came out which, well seems appropriate to Secretariat don’t you think?  No other post touches the record by a mile.  There was another spike when the DVD came out… love that horse.

The one you are most proud of?  There are 3, Hampton Court is the first.  I loved touring the palace with the cool kitchen historian, Marc Meltonville.  He shared incredible insights into the way the kitchen worked and what it took to feed a palace.

Picture of Chewetts at Hampton Court

It was thrilling and making little chewetts like the ones I saw at the palace was great fun.  I lost my fear of suet after I got some from my favorite beef guy.  Suet makes a very, very strong crust that really can stand on its own.  It was flaky and tasty, who knew?

The visit to Olana  was a fortunate one because I took a chance and wrote to the historian of the house and got a treasure of the recipes that were eaten there… even what cookbooks were on the shelves.  It was terribly exciting and I think the post gave you a good feeling of who Church was and how he ate, and the chicken was delicious and beautiful!

I was proud of Twain  because I did so many dishes to celebrate my 1st year blogversary… it was a lot of work, research and too many pictures.  That said, I was proud of the result and the dishes were delicious.  It also gave me a real sense of the meal that was eaten.  I used old dishes, silver and my 1870 lace tablecloth that is one of my favorite things.

After reading through my walk down memory lane, I can't leave without sharing a recipe, can I? It's a dessert I made the other day from the spectacular peaches I had.  It takes no time at all to do and the result is... sensational. You can make them low calorie or go for the buttery creamy version.  Great peaches need only be warmed for a minute.  You will love them without the jasmine, but with it... well, they are sinful.  It would also be great with pears or berries, although for the berries I would use Aftelier Rose Essence.

Hazelnut Crepes with Jasmine Peaches for 2-3

1/3 c milk
1 egg
1/4 c  flour (3 T white and 1 T whole wheat is best)
1 T ground hazelnuts (or pecans or almonds)
1/8 t salt
1 t hazelnut oil
butter or hazelnut oil for pan

2 peaches, skinned and sliced
1 T butter or hazelnut oil
2-4 T maple syrup
2-3 drops of Aftelier Jasmine essence(it's best to taste

1/2 cup yogurt or lightly whipped cream if you'd like
mint or pennyroyal for garnish

Throw the milk, eggs, flour, hazelnuts and salt into the blender and let ‘er rip for a minute or 2.  Strain the mixture through a fine sieve, rubbing on the solids then dump the residue into the mix–– this really helps to blend it.  Stir it all together again and make sure you get a good mix with each crepe (ie, don't just spoon from the top... you'll miss the nutty goodness!).  This can be made in advance.

Coat your pan with butter or oil…be especially generous.

Use 1/4 to 1/3 cup of batter per crepe, pour in the pan, swirl and let set for a minute then flip and remove,
Keep warm.

Melt the butter in the pan,  toss the peaches in the pan and warm for a moment... if they are really good you shouldn't cook them.  Add the syrup and jasmine.

Fold each crepe into quarters and fling back the topmost flap.  Put your peaches in and pour the sauce over all.

Garnish with pennyroyal (again a reminder, do not eat too much pennyroyal, especially if you are pregnant) or mint.  Serve with cream or yogurt.

Thanks to Gollum for hosting Foodie Friday

Last, I want to send you over to my friend Deborah Chud from A Doctor's Kitchen.  She has a bang up new app for your Iphone or Ipad called Trufflehead.  Here you can get wonderful, healthful recipes and even shopping lists to send out when you've assigned a shopper for a meal (is that a great idea or what?).

The app is HERE on ITUNES or you can visit the Trufflehead Website HERE.  You can get a preview of how it all works on YouTube HERE.  You will be ever so happy you did.  There are even some Lostpastremembered recipes on it.  Since I do a lot of rich food for the blog... I love Deborah's recipes for the rest of my week.  They are smart and delicious!  

To promote it, she will giveaway 20 apps here... first come first serve... you need an Iphone or Ipad to make it work!  Just say you would like one in the comments, email me with your email address and I'll send you the info.  Good Luck!

Thanks for featuring my crepes on the kitchn


pam said...

What a wonderful post, I completely enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Some of the posts, I remembered, and some I had forgotten. By the way, I would love the app!

Diane said...

Love this post of memories. I will be back when I have a little more time to go over these again. Diane

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Deana:
What a magical trip down memory lane this was. As a relative newcomer to your blog it was most interesting to read about the development of your posts and the way in which your blog has progressed over time. The photography we find to be stunning and we are always impressed about the way in which you intertwine the historical and food elements in your writing so seamlessly.

Here's to the future!!!

tasteofbeirut said...

This display of past posts is truly something to be proud of; it allowed me a chance to notice yet again, how incredibly talented, refined and altogether unique, your blog is in this blogosphere of millions, heck billions of posts...every single one of them is deserving of an accolade. By the way, my daughter made me crêpes today for breakfast. Unfortunately, she did not have these wonderful essences you use and next time I will check out your purveyor.

mandy said...

Thank you Deana, I treasure our shared love of these essences! You put them to such inspired uses - what a tasteful presentation of sensational recipes and fascinating history! Mandy Aftel

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Many of my favorites here, Deana. I too would your Hampton Court and Olana visits up at the top. Here's to many more "mosts!"

Linda said...

Deana...I love every post you do...the crepes look incredible..
I have a serious Jones for many of your plates...I have a vintage plate addiction and it makes me so happy to see yours!

sarae said...

I'm so happy to rediscover your blog! So glad it was linked to Aftelier's facebook page today so I could find it again. I will have to subscribe now.
And do enter me in trufflehead app drawing. That sounds just perfect!

Sarah said...

I am falling so far behind with reading my favourite blogs. Loved this and recognized many of your notations. Would still like to get my hands on some ambergris. That will likely be my next purchase.

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Actor Head Shot Makeup Sydney said...

Good blog: You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned:)

Barbara said...

What fun this post was, Deana. I remember some of them well. And some I don't remember at all...such as the pumpkin pie. It's always fascinating/frightening (and often makes me cringe) to look back on the first year of blogging. I need help with photos...well, presentation is the main thing, which is brilliant in your case, not so with me. But I keep plugging along.
Anyway, reading everything today was a pleasure.

Looks like you're finally having a touch of all up there. Wish we were. :( must have been the only person in blogland that caught my slip-up with Maida Heatter. I hit publish by accident! Too funny. She comes up next week and I adore her.

Barbara said...

Oh, and absolutely, I'd love the app!

La Table De Nana said...

I enjoyed this trip too..
I LOVE your personal style of photography..I've told you that.I know it's's Old World..silverware,copper,pewter mahogany  rich.
Bravo on everything you have discovered and shared with us.

Standing and clapping:)

Lazaro Cooks said...

I knew that choosing you would really show off an incredible talent. Your dishes are just flawless.

Thanks so much for playing along. I know your readers appreciate it.


DavidS said...

What a delicious walk down LostPastRemembered Lane!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

You must as much though and research into your 7 Links post as you put into all of your posts, Deana! I too, think it would be very hard to chose, like picking a favorite child. I remember the Babette's Feast post because that is one of my all-time favorite movies. I just recently watch Secretariat on cable television and loved it too. I can understand how the movie could have brought so many visitors. A wonderful look back at your photos and posts!

Marjie said...

I love your introspective post here. Funny that you have nutters now and again; I have one who is always nasty about my sewing. Last time that one said I should grow up and act like I'm pushing 60. And of course they're always anonymous. So, let the nutters keep it to themselves. I love your little history stories.

And pass my app on to the next person, since I don't have any i-anythings!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I loved your list Deana! And I didn't realise that your dinner on horseback was so controversial but it's your blog and I think you should definitely choose what happens on it :)

indieperfumes said...

Lovely to see such an overview of your site. So many gorgeous dishes. Such wonderful fragrances must be coming out of your windows!

Frank said...

With so much gorgeous cooking (and photography) to choose from, I don't doubt it was difficult choice. Thanks for the memories!

DavidS said...

And, yes, accept the "7" Challenge. Look for my post next week. Thanks for thinking of me!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

WAIT! There are so many COURSES here, that I have to savor each one....DINNER ON HORSEBACK, THE NUMBER 7, DUTCH SAUCE and Babette's Feast? These are all things that intrigue me and then you show us the FOOD.....I just ate breakfast and I am already thinking of the possibility of quail or any other poultry dish in PUFF PASTRY?????? YUM!

Oh Deana, you are so kind to visit me; I have been very late in visiting blogs due to FATIGUE from having returned to school. It has been a rough ride with the system and the amount of kids but we do what professionals do....problem solve and get the job done. FABULOUS FOOD for the belly as well as the SOUL...GIRL, you are amazing. Anita

myFudo said...

Thank you very much for sharing all this information.

Laura@Silkroadgourmet said...

Hi Deana:

A nice and personal review. . .

Since I've only recently found your blog (and you mine), I'll have to go back and read a few that you have listed here. I'm particularly interested in the Dinner on Horseback - which I've never heard of before. . .

I may borrow this review idea when the cookoff is over - hope you don't mind.


Tasty Trix said...

Honestly I don't know how you chose. You have done so many amazing things! Some I remember fondly, some I forgot and some I don't think I've seen which means I better get busy! Your posts are gorgeous and always leave me with something to think about - I can't ask for more than that, can I?

Faith said...

I love looking back and I'm so glad you participated in this! You are so talented and it has been so much fun to see your blog evolve...can't wait to see what the future holds. And I'm in love with the picture of that sea urchin pasta!

Magic of Spice said...

You should be proud of them all...amazing work always! And I have always found your photos to be lovely they seem to match the romance of your site and lovely spirit :)

Unknown said...

As far as I am concerned, each one of your posts are tiny treasures, I can see why you had a hard time picking these out.
*kisses* HH

Fresh Local and Best said...

What a fun way to review some of your best posts! Seven is quite a special number, which is why people find it to be so lucky. I love that sea urchin pasta picture, I'm looking forward to making it someday. Where do you get your sea urchin from? Also, I'll have to try grouse someday, it sounds fabulous!