Essentially, at this point, all I am thinking about is Europe. The days are dwindling down and there is still a good amount to do. It's been a while since I've been so goal-oriented: thinking of things to do before I go, what to bring, what I'm going to see, what I should see, how insanely broke I'll be at the end of it, et cetera, et cetera... I imagine this is what a pregnant woman feels like, except instead of changing diapers, you're cheesing in front of national monuments and eating your weight in gelato. Also, there are no stretch marks where I am going... except for gelato-related stretch marks.
Today is opening day at Fenway Park and I'm 4 blocks from the Stadium. The game starts at 2:15, which means I'm probably going to be heading home the same time as thousands of insane Bostonians with Sox hats yelling something about "Manny being Manny."
Thus begins the never-ending baseball season.
As for other things, I cooked some more this weekend. Parmesan mashed potatoes and chicken baked with white wine, leeks and pancetta... at least pancetta was the plan. I had to substitute smoked bacon in its place, which would have been ok, had I expected the major change in cooking time. Another lesson learned: a little fresh rosemary goes a LONG way. The chicken was alright, but the leeks were goners. On the plus side, the potatoes came out really well and the brownies I threw together with the help of Mr. Jamie Oliver were frickin' awesome. Here's the recipe (I did without the dried cherries and walnuts, but it's extra fantastic with a little whipped cream.)
Fifteen Chocolate Brownies
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
7 oz dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, broken up
Optional: 2 1/2 oz dried sour cherries
Optional: 1 1/3 oz chopped nuts
3/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 3/4 cup superfine sugar
4 large free-range eggs
Optional: zest of 1 orange
Optional: 9fl oz crème fraiche
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 12 inch rectangular baking tin with parchment paper. In a large bowl over some simmering water, melt the butter & chocolate & mix until smooth. Add the cherries & nuts (if using) & stir together. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa, flour, baking powder & sugar, then add this to the chocolate & stir well together. Beat the eggs & mix in until you have a silky consistency.
Pour your mixture into the tray & place in the oven for around 25 minutes. Don’t overcook them, the skewer should not come out clean. The brownies should be slightly springy on the outside but still gooey in the middle. Allow to cool in the tray then transfer to a large chopping board & cut into chunky squares. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche mixed with orange zest or eat them as they are.
Sound awesome? It is. I was tempted to just eat the batter, but chose the conventional slightly more cooked version over the version requiring a spoon and complete lack of shame.
A bit of infrastructure business: I'm thinking of changing the blog name. It seems like a bit of a misnomer, seeing as how it's been some time since I've really done any art... and also, this blog doesn't really paint much of a portrait, either. I'm hoping that I'll be struck with inspiration for more art, a new blog name, or a more vivid autobiographical approach when I head abroad in twelve days. Holy crap.