Every morning, I like to sit and relish my morning espresso. I open up my laptop, and flip through my favorite food blogs looking for inspiring recipes, reading stories, and seeing the gorgeous artwork that the world has created over the past few days. For years, I have relied on Google Reader to deliver my favorite posts from the blogosphere to my computer, and it has been as much a part of my morning ritual as my coffee. I’m sad to have to say goodbye to Google Reader this week (did you know Google Reader is going the way of the dinosaurs on July 1?), after such a long relationship.
If you currently read Jenn Cuisine through Google Reader, it’s time to look for a new way to get your favorite blog feeds – some services like Feedly boast being able to migrate feeds from Google Reader seamlessly. Personally, I’m finding my email program the best source for reliably getting feeds I don’t want to miss out on. As an alternative to having to search for a new RSS reader, you can always subscribe to Jenn Cuisine by email, and then posts will go straight to your inbox.
But as with everything in life, change can be good. Having to change readers has forced me to go through and do a thorough spring cleaning of which feeds I read, and subsequently I’ve also discovered many new blogs in the process. My morning ritual might change a little too, and that’s not all bad either. Actually, it already has changed – after over two years of being caffeine free, I have slowly recently started enjoying a “real” coffee here and there. And oh man have I missed that in my morning! Even better, it means I can enjoy coffee when I am out exploring the alpine wonderland that is Switzerland, such as on a rainy boat ride on Lake Luzern on our way to the iconic Pilatus mountain. And even rainy in the fog, the magical beauty of Suisse still shines through.
Today is a very special day – and special days call for cake. Now I’m not a frosted layered sponge cake kind of girl – I’ve never really been a fan of sponge cakes, nor a ton of frosting. So instead, I like to opt for something a little more rustic, like a quick bread
What’s the occasion? Exactly one year ago today, a beautiful baby girl joined our family by coming out into the world - she was full of spunk back then, is just as spirited today, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Every year, we keep returning to Burgundy (La Bourgogne). There’s an electricity in the air, a familiar rush of excitement that I haven’t felt since I was a little kid every time I return to that place. The Côte D’Or is a magical place, and not just for its famed chardonnay or pinot noir – the soul of Burgundy is very much alive, and its energy pulses throughout everything – the houses, the cobblestone streets, the luscious food, and the vines themselves. The first time we came to La Côte D’Or, we had barely just arrived in Europe – I became acquainted with Jean-Charles on Twitter, who invited us to dine at his restaurant, L’Auberge de Vieux Vigneron in the quaint little village of Corpeau. It was a cold rainy Easter weekend, but through all the stormy skies my husband and I both knew there was a little piece of heaven hidden amongst the gently sloping hillsides.
That next Summer, the region opened up its bounty to us as we explored caves and vineyards with my good friend Mardi, teaching us about wine, food, and history along the way. And so we keep returning to the Côte D’Or and all it’s splendor – seeing things old and new, but mainly, just taking it in, slowly and thoughtfully.
I better blog this while it’s still Spring! Because soon it will be time to pick out squashes and eggplants and berries, and the asparagus will be done. So it’s Springtime still, let’s embrace it – 2 months ago we were snowshoeing in the Alps, and now the trees are in bloom by the lake. We do cheat a little on Spring, buying our Italian tomatoes as it will be a while yet before Swiss ones come into season, and I don’t feel one bit guilty because they have been utterly fantastic. But more on them later.
We’ve been planning on going to see all the tulips and flowers in bloom at the local tulip festival (actually, we’ve been planning to do a lot of things), but life has just gotten in the way. I had eye surgery, computer died sending us to Geneva a few times for repairs (and gave us a fun excuse to spend an afternoon with our friend Jonell, indulging in chocolate macarons from Auer), baby got sick, all number of things keep changing our plans from day to day.
So no gorgeous flowers or Springtime hikes in the Swiss alpine hillsides just yet. But if we cannot go enjoy Springtime in the wild blue yonder, why not bring Springtime here? With these open faced sandwiches, we did just that
Have you ever stopped to listen? Listen to the sounds of the world around you? Sitting outside I find myself appreciating the different songs of the birds, and taking comfort at night in the rhythmic inhale/exhale of my sleeping baby girl. I hear the traffic outside amidst the gusty thrusts of the year’s first thunderstorm pelting rain against our apartment building, or down at the lake shore I take in the serenity of the water lapping against the docks swaying the boats to and fro, whilst a few seagulls (yes, this land-locked nation appears to have seagulls) call off in the distance. If I think really hard, I can almost hear the sun trying to be noticed from behind the wall of fog that sits like a gatekeeper over the lake, keeping summer at bay just a little longer.
In my kitchen, I hear the sizzling of sliced garlic hitting the hot pan in a bit of butter, and then the shtshtshshh of salmon filets being added, its skin crackling at the thought of having to become bedfellows with a vegetable like garlic. As my husband poaches the filets, spooning a little hot butter over top, the sizzling comes in waves, crashing against the shore each time that butter finds the pan once more. The pot on the stove comes to a roaring boil signaling that it’s time to blanch the broccoli, and finally the salmon has quieted down letting its rich aroma permeate the room, the smells and sounds of preparation become a pair of sirens tempting us to give the meal a taste.
How often do we say, “dinner sounds good,” as a generic approval of what we will eat? Have you ever thought of what dinner actually sounds like? While my vision hasn’t been too awesome lately as each blink of the eye comes with searing pain, when I can I’ve been taking the opportunity to close them slowly, and take in the world with my other senses. I think we all know how to associate smell with food, but how often do you listen to your food? Maybe its song tells a story as much as its fashionable (or sometimes even garish) looks.
I think we often forget of the richness and vibrancy of the world of sound compared to that seen with our eyes, especially when it comes to food. But food does sing. It sings when it’s getting chopped, as it cooks, as it crunches between our teeth. And if you listen carefully, you will notice that it carries a rhythm and possibly even a tune, that is always enriching our world and our perception of it.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a licensed medical professional NOR am I a certified nutritionist. This site is NOT meant to be used in place of medical advice. You are responsible for your own consumption of foods. Consult a licensed medical professional before making any dietary changes. Contact manufacturer to inquire about allergy risks in specific food products.