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Add a little butter

  • Nov. 14th, 2010 at 4:45 PM
stove
My disdain for that Thanksgiving side-dish of candied yams with marshmallows is very well known. It is right up there with miracle whip under the heading of things that nice people just don't engage in. If you want to that is fine -just don't ask me to participate. It isn't that I object to the notion of marshmallows being in a salad because I don't. My family is well-known for its love of salads that have sweeter things in them. I will happily eat serving after serving of ambrosia. I might even be willing to eat snicker bar salad. But the yams & marshmallows just don't sit right with me. I suppose because it is often so cloying and overwhelming. That being said, I admit I can appreciate the look of the dish. It inspired me to come up with something a little less...alarming.

Snob's Yams

You will take three medium-sized yams (I like those red garnet ones myself) and wrap them up in parchment and roast them in the oven at 350F until they are soft in the middle. (usually this can be done in about an hour) They will be sticky sweet and easy to peel. I would suggest waiting about 10-15 minutes before removing the skin unless your hands are good and hardened to burns. In a large bowl you can take your yams and mash them up with a fork. Add about 3 Tbs of butter and 1 Tbs of cardamom. If you aren't super keen on cardamom (and really what is wrong with you) you can half that amount. The cardamom adds a nice hint of spice and you get that citrusy scent. This is instead of the usual thing of cooking the yams in orange juice. The fact is, the yams have enough sweetness on their own. If you need more, why not just dig into a sack of sugar and pass out while watching Glee if you need that kind of action. Once things are pretty well mashed up and smoothed, you can pour this into a medium sized casserole dish. (an 8x8 pyrex pan will do you. But if you really want to throw down with the snobbery -you use le creuset. It can be a Hyacinth Bucket moment when you present the dish to those you are dining with by saying "le Creuset" in an over-done French accent.) Now for the second part. Instead of marshmallows you are going to take 8 oz of marscapone (yes we are feeling fancy) and 1-2 Tbs of maple syrup (and this depends on how sweet you want things) and you are going to beat it together. It will be smooth and you will have to keep yourself from eating all of it. Hold back just this once. Spread this all over the top of the yams. You will bake this in the oven at 350F until it is golden on top. About 40-50 minutes. You will want to let this cool/set a bit because most people aren't keen on burning the roof of their mouth. It will be decadent and yet won't leave you feeling ooky. (technical term)

yams with marscapone

Next in the thanksgiving series: Sorbet! For those times when you feel like you will need to be rolled home but you want a little something to take off the edge.
madeleines
As Betty Draper would say, "My People are Nordic." Therefore I appreciate a good bar cookie. It goes well with a nice cup of coffee and a little commentary about this isn't too bad a deal. If the bar cookie is especially good you might say it is pretty darn good. A cookie that is popular in my family is the Ross cookie. It doesn't require a great deal of effort and has a sort of pleasing simplicity. After all brown sugar and butter are involved.

You will cream together a couple sticks of butter with a cup of firmly packed brown sugar. You may find this decadent but sometimes you have to sacrifice a few years of your life for the good of butter. You will mix in 1 egg yolk (save the egg white in the freezer so that you will eventually have enough to make angel food cake. One must have cake.) and a tablespoon of vanilla. Have a taste. One has to make sure the butter and sugar and everything tastes good. I like to think of it as offering it up by taking the time to potentially risk a little food poisoning by tasting the cookie dough. Then mix in 2 cups of flour. It will be a fairly stiff dough. You will spread the dough out in a lightly buttered 9x11 inch pan. Press it down evenly with your hands. Bake that at 350F for about 15-20 minutes. While that is baking you will start in on your fifth cup of coffee that day and get out a bar of chocolate. If you are a bittersweet sort of person you can use that. I suggest using semi-sweet. What sort of chocolate is really up to your palate. You will chop it up into little tiny pieces. When the cookie is done baking you will remove it from the oven (obviously. It isn't like you are going to send the cookie to Timbuktu) and spread the chocolate bits all over the base -leaving a quarter inch border. Just let the chocolate bits soften and melt. Maybe have another cup of coffee while this is going on. And maybe a short conversation about the Minnesota twins or how Cousin Ruth shared this recipe for snickers bar salad and how you thought, "that was different." (seriously this conversation once happened in my family and that salad recipe exists.) Once the chocolate has melted just take a knife and spread that chocolate around. (again making sure you have that border) Oh how delicious this will be. Then you finely chop about a cup of nuts. Pecan or walnut is preferred. You will sprinkle that over the chocolate.
Then let everything cool for about half an hour. (this will allow you some time to talk about how the Sons of Norway are having a lutefisk feed. You may go but they better have enough butter for the lutefisk because otherwise you won't be able to eat the stuff.) Then cut the ross cookies into squares. If you have some willpower (though if you like to taste creamed butter and sugar I doubt you are the sort of person to wait) you will wait until the cookies have completely cooled and then eat them up. You can bring them to coffee hour at church and they will go fast.

have another bite.

  • Oct. 7th, 2010 at 10:48 PM
stove
My Mother inlaw and I first bonded over food. She has three sons and while all three have brought girls home for meals; I was probably the first that didn't live on a diet of biscuits and air. The very first time I visited I had a wonderful chocolate tart that I had to have the recipe for and she gladly gave it out. Since then we have traded recipes back and forth. It is a good relationship. My Mother inlaw doesn't have any daughters but between me and her other daughter inlaw (who is also interested in food) I think we sort of fill that need for girls and being able to share her interests. (though it should be noted all three of her sons can cook and love to eat.)

She happens to run a little restaurant and sometimes she will do special menus for visiting people who are staying for awhile. (they also run a self-catering holiday place) They recently had people for the weekend and she shared with me the menu they did over two nights. I thought other people might like to see it.

Menu FridayCollapse )


Menu SaturdayCollapse )

I can verify she makes some amazing and original ice cream flavors. Whenever I visit she usually has up to ten different choices. It is always fun to choose. "I will have a slice of cake and two different kinds of ice cream...and a nap."

dark and delicious

  • Sep. 26th, 2010 at 8:48 PM
stove
I have become all about chocolate cake with chocolate frosting lately. There is something kind of zen about the whole process. From stirring up the batter to the time spent frosting a cake.

A friend gave me her recipe for chocolate cake and it is so moist and dense. I have made this cake twice since she shared her recipe and now I have to share it with the rest of the world.

Jill's Chocolate cake

In a bowl over simmering water (or if you have a double boiler, use that) you will melt down 3 oz of unsweetened chocolate and then set that aside to cool. If you are lucky someone will come into the kitchen and spy the chocolate and take a taste and then feel mildly foolish.

On a piece of wax paper you will sift together 2 1/4 cups cake flour, 2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 a tsp of salt. You will set that aside. I know I know... all this setting aside business. But cake requires preparation and this cake is worth it.

Next you will cream 1/2 cup of slightly softened butter. Then you will continue to cream that with 2 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar. If there are small children about they will ask for a taste of the brown sugar because it has a certain exotic allure if you are three years old. Add 3 eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Things should become light and fluffy. Beat in the cooled melted chocolate and 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla. Kick everyone out of the kitchen and have a taste. (if you don't kick them out they will want a taste too.) Now to get slightly fancy. You will slowly add the dry mixture and 1 cup of sour cream. You will alternate between the dry mixture and the sour cream. It will become quite thick as you mix everything together. Finally you will add 1 cup of boiling water. It will make the batter thin but it will work. Trust me.

Pour the batter into 2 greased/floured 9" inch round pans and bake in oven at 350F for about 35 minutes (or until done) Remove from the oven, let it cool and turn over onto rack to completely cool.

Now the frosting I like to do comes from Joy of Cooking. It is a chocolate mousse frosting that is smooth and decadent like a character out of a Christopher Isherwood story.

Whisk together in a heat-proof bowl (or your double boiler once you have washed it and had a drink because you need one after all these people hassling you to make another cake) 2 eggs, 2 cups of powdered sugar, 1/2 cup of milk and 1/4 tsp of salt. You will then set the bowl/pan over a pan of simmering water and you will whisk and whisk until the mixture reaches 160F on your thermometer. Remove the pan from the heat and add 4 oz of unsweetened chocolate (finely chopped) and 6 Tbs of butter. (cut into small pieces) Yes there is more whisking involved. You can do it. You can say it is exercise so that you can have a second slice of cake. You will also add 1 tsp of vanilla. Stir until the butter and chocolate have melted. Now you will get out another bowl -because you haven't dirtied enough dishes today. You will take that bowl and put in ice water and then set your pan of chocolate deliciousness in the ice water. Using a handmixer on high-speed you will beat the ever-living heck out of this until the frosting takes shape. The chocolate mixture will be dark and glossy at first but as you beat it, it will slowly lose its gloss and become lighter. Keep beating and it will become super smooth and lush.
You should be able to use it immediately or you can pop it in the fridge for a bit and give it a quick stir and frost your cake. You will end up with a great deal of frosting so you can take your time with the crumb layer and will likely end up with enough leftover that you can put it on the person of your choice and eat it that way.
stove
I know it is Fall when the coffee shops begin offering pumpkin-flavored everything. I live in the land of Starbucks where the presence of their stores are more prolific than Michelle Duggar's womb. Everyone is ordering a Vente Pumpkin-gingerbread double-pump half-twist dismount soy macchiato (double-cup, no whip) with a sprinkling of Fall leaves and a hint of irony. After you order your drink you look at the bakery case and get some pumpkin bread/muffin because after all it is Autumn. Plus today no one has a birthday one needs to get their four o'clock sugar high somehow. You can't have the pumpkin baked good everyday. After all there is the corner piece of cake (with the rose so you get extra frosting. Years spent attending Catholic functions has made me an expert at getting that piece of sheet cake.) and you need to be slightly healthy. Maybe you got stuck with snack duty and you need to make something for the uncivilized hoard or you have a spouse who has become obsessed with their cholesterol and makes noises about fiber. Maybe you just want to appear slightly more healthful in your noshing choices at breakfast. "Oh this? It is whole wheat."
So we shall make whole wheat pumpkin muffins. You will want to start with your dry ingredients. You will combine 2 cups of whole wheat flour with 1/2 a cup of ground flaxseed and 3/4 cup of brown sugar (firmly packed). The whole wheat flour will allow you to justify the cupcakes that someone brought in to work. Then you will add 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp cardamom, 1/2 tsp of baking soda and baking powder and finally a 1/4 tsp of salt. Cloves are a pretty common addition to pumpkin flavored whatever and while I tend to appreciate its heady citrus scent I find that cardamom is a little more subtle. Sometimes it is difficult to wake up to a smack upside the senses from the cloves. Once your dry ingredients have mingled together like a bunch of giddy doctors at a convention mixer you will add the wet ingredients. You will stir in 1 egg, (Eleanor of Aquitaine and Queen Maude the chickens have been laying like crazy as of late. One practically has to have souffles three times a week.) 2/3 a cup of milk, 1/3 cup of olive oil and 1 cup of pureed pumpkin. You can use canned pumpkin (preferably something organic and with an attractive label, because packaging is important in one's pantry display.) but sometimes it is more satisfying to roast a pumpkin and puree it yourself and make your family eat pumpkin-related things for several meals and make them just ever so slightly resent the existence of gourd-like squash.
Give everything a final stir and then scoop/spoon into a buttered muffin tin. For a final touch you can chop up about a 1/4 cup's worth of candied ginger and sprinkle it over the muffins. (Or you could stir it into your batter before putting things in the muffin tin.) Bake at 375F for about 20 minutes.
You can even throw away all that healthful effort by slathering a muffin in butter and nutella. Yes. Both. We aren't Victorians thank you.
Now go and enjoy your Triple shot non-fat soy sugar-free caramel apple latte and muffin. I hear that Carol from pay-roll is bringing in Brownies today.

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renoir
A friend emailed me asking me about teaching her how to can something. I am always game. I like to introduce people to the fun of boiling water and potential steam burns. She had come into possession of her Grandma's recipe book and in it were the pickled peaches that she recalled eating as a kid. The best part about this recipe was that like many of a certain generation the directions are rather vague. I also had another recipe that is a bit more modern that we were able to use as a guide in terms of canning times. So we came up with something that is an adaptation of the two.

My friend made a rather interesting observation that typing up the recipe made it look rather dull whereas looking at the recipe written in her Grandma's hand made it seem truly exciting. I think there is a lot of weight to that.

Now let's can the heck out of some pickled peaches.

Jean's Peach Pickles

You are going to take about 4Lbs of ripe peaches and place them for about a minute or so in boiling water and them remove to cold water and remove the skin. Peaches today (even the fancy-pants organic locally grown ones) are a bit bigger than they used to be. While you can pickle/can these whole you may find it easier to slice them into halves/quarters once they are skinned. It is a minor detail but one to keep in mind.

In a large pot you will combine 2 cups of vinegar, 2 cups of water and 5 cups of sugar. Yes. That is a lot but stick with me. We are going to have some fun. Then you will had 2 Tbs of whole cloves and 2-3 sticks of cinnamon. You will bring this to a boil (all while stirring the live long day.) You will want to probably boil this for about five minutes. It will do something to your sinuses. Add the peaches and cook those until they are tender but not soft. This is what the directions say. Obviously that isn't terribly helpful but the gist is that you want to avoid having the peaches fall apart like a 13 year old girl at her first dance when the boy she likes asks her best friend to dance instead. You will then put the peaches in hot jars (along with the syrup) and seal and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes. They will be golden and glorious and you should want to let them sit for a week or so before breaking into them.
These are good as is or with some kind of pork. (Imagine a beautifully cured ham and some pickled peaches)

Supercilious Stew for the Soul

  • Sep. 6th, 2010 at 9:48 PM
stove
Let's pretend we are feeling modest.

This is a soup that allows you to use up various ingredients from slightly failed culinary aspirations. You will begin by soaking some beans. Remember when you read that BPA was in canned beans so you rushed out and bought a variety of beans in bulk and you even purchased beautiful glass containers to hold those beans so that people could admire your pantry? Now you can actually use those beans. Take say half a cup of cannellini beans (obviously you can use other beans but we all know you bought some imported beans when you were in that specialty shop one day and it seemed like a good idea because you were high off of that truffle salt you tasted) and rinse them and place them in that large attractive dutch oven you bought to make no-knead bread. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Let it boil for about ten minutes, turn off the heat and let it sit for about four hours. During those four hours you can pretend to read Finnegans Wake when we know that you are reading the latest piece of trash. Come back to the beans and let them cook for about two hours. Do not add salt unless you feel like eating pebbles with dinner. Now then we have prepared our beans. Let's do the fun stuff.
Apparently we are living in austere times. Waste is a bad idea. We must make the most of our CSA box and not feed the less popular items to your chickens; Asquith, Atlee and Blair. Go through your fridge and dig out the things that are looking a little faded like some old hollywood star. I know one isn't easily seduced by things like kohlrabi. If kohlrabi was a person he would be named Clarence and would giggle if he accidentally brushed against your breast. But even kohlrabi needs a little love. Chop up whatever you can find. The remaining stalk of some broccoli? (because you always end up with that excess stalk) Slice it up. The carrots that droop like an emo teenager? chop it up. There is that slightly pale celery that would be good if you minced it. You will dig through the fridge and find some bacon. Maybe some pancetta. Not too much though. We are being chaste with cured meats. It isn't Lent but when we tell people what we ate (and we must) we should make it clear that the bit of meat used was merely as an after-thought. Something to show that we haven't completely lost our dignity. Once the bacon is cooked you will set that aside and then saute a sliced onion. Maybe a bit of garlic. Once it has softened you will add your assorted vegetables. Maybe add a touch of olive oil if there isn't much fat. Once the vegetables have softened you will look through your fridge in desperation. You will spy that half empty can of tomato paste. Yes you had grand designs to freeze tablespoons of the paste and keep it in some attractive container in the freezer but that dream quickly died. You will put the remaining paste in the pan and caramelize the vegetables and create a fragrant fond on the bottom of your pan. Then you will add either water or chicken stock to your vegetables and deglaze the pan. You know you have some chicken stock lingering in the back of the fridge. Again you thought "I will use this" but then you didn't because every dish is about disappointment to one degree or another and you need to tidy out the fridge at some point but haven't because it is such a chore and can't you hire people to do that?
You will scrape the bottom of the pan to bring out the delicious flavor. You may ask, "how much?" I say, "enough." If you can't figure it out maybe it is time to properly hire someone to attend to your needs. So then you may add the beans and the bacon. For a final touch of flavor you will use up that rind of good parmesan cheese. The judges will also accept pecorino if you have that. Give everything a nice stir and then let it simmer for awhile. Maybe toss in a bit of pesto that is hiding somewhere behind the cream. Toward the end you will add a bit of sad-looking greens. You can use kale (and don't lie, no one really loves kale all that much. It is like saying that you relax by reading Melville) or swiss chard or even spinach. Though remember you do want to use up all those vegetables you bought in a state of pious bliss when at the market. So in the chard goes. Season as needed at the end.
You will serve this bread up with some artisan rustic bread. The kind of bread that gives your jaws just enough of a work-out to make you worry that you have TMJ. The soup will taste all right the first night. You will find it slightly lacking but boast that it tastes so simple and of the people. Take your leftovers and let it sit overnight. The flavor will improve the next day. If you need to stretch it a bit. Add a bit more bacon. You are feeling less subdued in your meat-eating habits today. You will also add some tomatoes. Maybe sprinkle a bit of cheese on top. The soup will be eaten with more enthusiasm and then you will wax poetical to all who are within blogging distance about how you appreciate the simple life and simple cuisine. At least until you get a new CSA box and hit up the shops and dine on pate and figs and rare roast beef.

gusto specializzato

  • Aug. 16th, 2010 at 2:25 PM
stove
I am not a fan of mild tasting fish. I am not one for eating tilapia. I love fish with a definite flavor. A fish that tastes like it likes to have a good time. The sort of fish that probably hangs out with Colin Farrell and has a few stories to tell you. This is why I like sardines. I will eat them fresh or canned. It is a sultry meaty flavor and it is easy to cook. So let's cook it with some pasta.

Pasta con sardine is a sicilian dish that I like to put together when I don't want to spend a lot of time in front of the stove. If you are serving around four or so people you will need about half a pound of fresh sardines. You may want to ask your fishmonger to clean them if doing that gicks you out. I will say that sardines are pretty easy to clean. You snap off their heads, slit their bellies, pull out the guts and then rip out the spine. You will feel vaguely sinister while doing this but after awhile the rhythm of it is pleasing. Or if is a bit difficult to get a hold of fresh sardines, you can use a couple cans of boneless sardines that are kept in oil. If you are using canned sardines you don't need to add much in the way of olive oil to a large pan. If you have fresh -then 4 Tbs or so will do. Enough details, let's cook. You will saute 2-3 cloves of chopped garlic with olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. If you like a lot of garlic you can always use more but I find that you don't want two heavy flavors competing. Let the garlic stand back and be the character actor this time. You know, it shows up, has a few impressive heavy lines that stay with you but doesn't steal the entire show. You don't want the garlic brown but lightly golden. Then you will add the sardines. You will mash it up with a spoon and cook it down so it is almost like a paste. You will love it. If you don't well then you can sit at home and eat your white fish and talk about the time when you stayed up until 11pm.
Then you will add about 6 oz of tomato paste to your fish/garlic paste. Yes I know... this is a lot of paste. More paste than at kindergarten craft time. At least no one will look at you funny when you eat this paste. Use your empty can of tomato paste and pour in about three cans of water. Look at that. You are recycling. Stir, stir, stir. Bring everything to a boil. Add a bit of fresh basil and some chopped up oregano. Reduce the heat to very low add a bit of salt and pepper and then let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes. Everything will mingle together and develop a beautiful strong flavor.
Boil some pasta -something short works best, until al dente. You will then toss the pasta with this delicious sauce and then sprinkle some pecorino on top.

Serve this with a very simple green salad and let this decidedly adult but simple dish roll over your tongue.

ciao darling

  • Jul. 23rd, 2010 at 9:31 PM
ice cream in venice
It's Friday. Let's go to the market and find something that we can make for dinner that is just so simple but filled with enough subtext to resemble something written by Nabokov. After all what good is making dinner unless it inspires a potential film by Kubrick.

Let's say you get some pasta. It is all right if you buy pasta as long as it is hand-made and the person selling it has an accent. He should call you Bella Donna and make you feel like you ought to wear dark glasses and a slip dress -as if you are in a Fellini film. If you can't have this experience when buying carbohydrates, you may as go home and eat gruel.
Then pick up some bacon and a few vegetables and get yourself home. For there are things to cook.

You will take a pot and fill it up with water and add a few spoonfuls of salt. Set that to boil. You cringe over the idea of using all that salt but if you ever want to truly be accepted by Italians (and let's face it everyone secretly wishes they were Italian now and then. Just so they can throw their hands around a lot and justify eating song birds on occasion) you put salt in your water when making pasta. Don't put in oil. You want to look like an amateur? What next? you will be using Ragu and using that parmesan cheese from a can? Where is the nearest balcony so that I might end things now. As Boris Lermontov said, "Don't forget, a great impression of simplicity can only be achieved by great agony of body and spirit." SUFFER for your pasta. Where was I? Yes, so you are waiting for the water to boil.

In the mean time you will chop up a few slices of bacon. As always you want to make sure you know where this bacon came from. You can't just wave your hand in the air and go, "somewhere...out there." You should be able to say, "this pig sometimes had indigestion and didn't care for the works of Joyce Carol Oates. Well except that one about Marilyn Monroe. That was pretty good." When you taste your bacon it should be a religious experience. I am not saying it has to be like Lourdes or Guadeloupe. (you save that for Jamón ibérico. That stuff will make you get down on your knees, speak in tongues and have you telling the Pope all the secrets that the Virgin Mary told you. Including the one about the Sox finally winning the World Series.) The religious experience will be above seeing Jesus in a tortilla. Like maybe one of those statues that supposedly cries blood. Your breathe will be taken away, you will moan. Maybe say a decade of the rosary. Maybe not. But you will like it gosh darn. Now how much bacon do you use in this dish. There are two ways to approach this. You could be like Saint Augustine and just have a rasher or two. Well actually what you do is cook up like four our five rashers, eat two by yourself, feel guilty, make your Mother clean up the mess, give her a hard time for letting you know about bacon and then profess to live a healthier life. But that is dull. Plus you should be nice to your Mother.
Or you could just wallow in a little excess and cook about three or four and maybe offer it up in some fashion. After all bacon is good and you want to do right by this pig that sacrificed itself. Bacon for all! Once the bacon is cooked up you remove it to a plate to drain/contemplate its place in the universe. A monastic experience for bacon. You will then take two thinly sliced shallots and saute them in the bacon fat. After all it would be wasteful to not put the bacon fat to good use. Once the shallots are softened and fragrant you will remove those and set them next to the bacon. A grand meeting of flavors. By now the water should be boiling. Toss in your beautiful pasta. Tonight I had chestnut trofie. Once it is cooked -al dente please, (We aren't making wet noodles for a K of C potluck thank you.) you will drain all but a tiny bit of water from the pasta. A little pasta water does a lot for things. Starch is our friend. Toss in a bit of butter. (if you are so keen to be exact how about two Tbs) Then? Add about half a cup to a cup of peas. Did you shell those peas yourself? No? Well it's okay I won't tell. I used frozen peas from a bag. It's all right though, I know where the peas came from. The grocery store. Anyways, add those peas, the bacon, the shallots and then a bit of parmesan cheese. I like the proper stuff. At least five yeasr old and has been around the block. The kind of cheese that if it was a woman it would look like Phyllis Diller. Someone you could trust. Toss the pasta a bit more and serve it on a plate. With a bit more cheese dusted on top. Serve it with a salad or some sauteed vegetables. I think some sort of heady red wine would be nice with this. The sort of wine that might have you telling people about that one time in Venice where there was a sudden downpour and you sort of accidentally flashed half of the city and caused men to call others out from shops to have a look. Not that I know anything about that.

Now excuse me, I need a beverage.

short note

  • Jul. 8th, 2010 at 10:47 AM
stove
It's hot out so I am putting my ice cream maker to work. Yesterday I made a strawberry sorbet and cardamom white nectarine ice cream. The sorbet is my husband's favorite flavor.

As for the ice cream it was kind of a rough draft. I made the usual cardamom custard and then when I went to churn the ice cream I tossed in chopped up white nectarines. It was great in many ways but the nectarines could have benefited from being cooked a bit and maybe caramelized on its own sugars. It is a great ice cream with cake or on its own.

When I was a kid my Mother would make ice cream once in a great while. I recall her making peach ice cream on the fourth of July. The scent of sweet peaches and the powder from fireworks is a strange but wonderful combination in my memory. Afterward running around in the dark with sparklers, excited by sweets and bright colors exploding.

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