Last week, after posting on my little French tart, and the week before that on cuatro leches cakes, I began to wonder why on earth I ordered very expensive French violet petals when our garden is brimming with colorful pansies, Johnny jump ups, and herbs - all of which can be crystallized easily.
This particular French tart is a what, not a who. It is a dark and intensely-flavored tart based on a traditional French confection, the mendiant, often served at Christmastime. Mendiants (which translates to mendicants or beggars) are chocolate palets topped with dried fruits and nuts that represent the four branches of mendicant Catholicism: raisins for Dominicans, hazelnuts for Augustinians, almonds for Carmelites, and figs for Franciscans, toppings that approximate the colors of their monastic garb. Curious? Keep reading...
Or... Wedding Bells The Sequel. Yes, part two of the wedding is upon us, and Susan and John are getting ready for their big party at Cocoraque Ranch today. I have been busy making Cuatro Leches "cakes in cups." Not cupcakes.
Before we decided that Tucson was to be our home, we dreamed of moving to Lucca, in the Tyrrhenian plains of Tuscany, Italy. We absolutely love Lucca - its rich and vibrant history, the architecture which runs from medieval to Art Nouveau, its cultural scene, its people, its few tourists, and, of course, its food.
Two of our favorite people are getting married this weekend. Susan - who works with me at the UA Honors College - and John. They are two of the kindest, smartest people we know, and they have such varied interests, too. It is so much fun to share a table with them!
In the week between Christmas and the New Year, I took Mark to New Orleans for a surprise 60th birthday celebration. When I told him, he was so surprised and excited he went from 60 to 16 in 6 seconds - faster than a Ferrari! He was downright giddy.