2.25.2010

So far up

You know what? You’re great. I show up here with nothing but a subpar ginger cake and some indulgent psychobabble, and instead of complaining, you say all kinds of nice and encouraging things. I think you’ll be happy to hear that things are looking up in the kitchen. So far up, in fact, that my neck is beginning to cramp.

As I mentioned in the comments yesterday, I recently pulled something sweet from the oven that is eminently worthy of your attention. Unlike the more elusive (and ultimately disappointing) cakes that have been lurking around these parts of late, this beauty is undeniably delicious, and it told me so straight away. What’s more, I have a feeling that I know how to make it even better. I’m going to give it another go tonight, and I’ll report back before the week is out. I already have a few dazzling photographs of the first run that I could show you, but I feel that posting them without a recipe would be cruel. I may boss friends and family members around the kitchen from time to time, and be prone to cake-induced fits of frustration and self-doubt, but cruel, I am not. So I’m going to ask you to sit tight, but not for long. You deserve a treat, friends, and I mean to deliver.

In the meantime, I thought that you might like to see some photos from the dinner out that I mentioned in my last post. It was a celebration in honor of my friend, Mary. Mary is a writer, an artist, and a triathlete. She’s the kind of friend who sends frame-worthy homemade Valentines in the mail, and drives up to Vermont to visit you in the hospital when, out of nowhere, your brain explodes. Mary is also a first-rate foot masseuse and – though she’s been known to deny it – a copy machine whisperer. (You know you are, Mary.) There are about a million and one reasons to celebrate Mary, but on this particular night, we gathered to celebrate her birthday. We went to a restaurant in the South End called The Butcher Shop. It was a special night and, as if inspired by the knock-out birthday girl herself, it was beautiful.

Here are some of my favorite shots from the roll. As usual, you can click on the images to see them larger. Apologies to those of you who may have already seen these photos elsewhere. You can have an extra slice of dessert tomorrow to make up for it, okay?

Have a great day, everyone.





16 comments:

jacqui | happyjackeats said...

love seeing these shots again. and you're so nice to wait until that cake is the best it could possibly be before sharing it with us! happy thursday.

braiseandbutter said...

really great photos, and very much looking forward to the cake recipe! problem is i now have a craving for that sweet wedge nestled in a pool of sauce, whatever it is. mmm.

Char said...

but, you know....a bit of handholding is always welcome isn't it? the dinner looks so lovely. makes me long for beautiful restaurants here instead of chain places.

have a beautiful day

Linda said...

YOU are so sweet...it is easy for all of us to post encouraging comments.
photos of mary's b.day are great...are those jars (resting against the wooden box) honey?
back @ you...fab day!

Jada Ach said...

Beautiful shots! Perfect combination of shimmer & blur.

Ann Underfunded Humanity said...

Beautiful! Also, Champlain Valley Apiaries rocks.

Jess said...

Jacqui - Well, we operate on a strict "nothing but the best" policy here. Except, of course, for when disappointment rears its ugly head and I'm forced to show you pictures of crappy cake.

Thanks, braiseandbutter. That "sweet wedge" up there is a ricotta torte, and it was really something. The pastry chef had already left for the night by the time we were digging in, but I did manage to score a list of ingredients. I have big plans to recreate it at home. If all goes well, you're sure to hear about it.

Char - Ah, but down in Alabama, you get to feast on all kinds of terrific Southern cuisine, no?

Linda - Yes, that's raw honey made in Middlebury Vermont by Champlain Valley Apiaries. While we were waiting for our table, we stood around a beautiful spotlit butcher block. A server brought us wine, a selection of bread, some salted butter, and a ramekin of that honey. It was the perfect start to our evening.

Thanks, Jada! I like seeing those shots all together here in this space.

Ann Underfunded Humanity - Thank you. And yes, I'm with you on the honey. (Good eye for that label!)

Lindsey @ pickyeatings said...

Mary sounds like one of the best friends in life to have, that only come around a few times in a lifetime...also, everyone needs a copy machine whisperer...she could totally advertise as being one on craigslist.

El said...

Great photos and a great friend. Delightful.

Lilly Higgins said...

Yum, the ricotta torte looks gorgeous, I can taste vanilla from here! x

Rosiecat said...

Hurray for kitchen success stories! I can't wait to hear all about it. I'm going to sit tight for now, but I'm almost wondering if I should fire up the oven in anticipation of the recipe...

PS I'm planning to make your tomato soup again tomorrow night and I'm feeling pretty darn happy about it. Anticipation is the best!

molly said...

Wow. Yikes and jeepers. I've come in, apparently, mid-way through this wild ride, and am humbled and stunned all over, tucking back into your crazy amazing journey. What a year you have had. And banana bread, too? Sheesh, you shouldn't have (but I'm so glad you did). A belated, heartfelt congratulations on your recovery.

Jess said...

Lindsey - Yeah, I'm pretty much only friends with her because she knows how to fix a paper jam. (Hi, Mary - just kidding!) You're right, she should advertise her services!

Thanks, El and Lilly. I'm going to have to get on that torte recipe sooner rather than later.

Rosiecat - Yes, yes! Fire up that oven at once. You'll have to eat something after that tomato soup, right?

Molly - Thank you for your very kind note. It has indeed been quite a trip, and I'm so grateful to be fretting over little things like disappointing cakes instead of much bigger, scarier things. I hope you'll enjoy that banana bread. I love it.

Clarice said...

I particularly love the photo of the baguettes. Thank you!

Mary M. said...

How am I just now seeing this?!? Lord. Thank you again for this, for everything, Jess. I love you!

Jess said...

Thank you, Clarice!

Wait, Mary, you mean you don't just sit around staring at your computer screen waiting for a new Sweet Amandine post to pop up? Thank you, lady. So much love.