My discovery of new podcasts never ceases, and never shall until there is no more battery life left in my iphone. Today, I want to tell you about Lore. Ever since… well ever since I was very young and somehow got my hands on the real Grimm versions of some of my favorite fairytales, I have been interested in the darkness behind these stories. This podcast is all about exploring that darkness.
Aaron Mahnke, the author, writes supernatural thriller novels and uses that background to tell some really amazing stories. The subjects of his podcasts range from the origin of the first American vampire to the last witch burning. He tells us about the hotel that inspired The Shining, the asylum that inspired HP Lovecraft, and the first American serial killer. Beyond that, he talks about Norse mythology, Greek mythology, fairy tales and the like. He is just an amazing storyteller, reminding me somewhat of the man who does the podcast The Memory Palace.Check it out my friends. It will brighten up your rainy Wednesday.
Yesterday was my semi-day off, which should have made it easy to get a blog post out. But instead I just slept the whole day and binge watched Gotham. I hope you will forgive me and accept a Tuesday blog post instead.
Sunday night I met up with my lovely lady friends to try out Grassfed in JP. A small burger joint just around the corner from Jamaica Pond, Grassfed markets themselves as a “A burger joint with strong values.” Obviously respectable. They also have strongly delicious burgers. I like this place for a couple of reasons. First, the burgers are fresh and creative. Second, the fries are just potatoey enough for my taste. Third, they are located right on Centre Street in the middle of super cool JP. My friends and I grabbed our burgers, walked the block to Jamaica Pond, and sat to watch the sun set. My friend Sara and I split the Blue Devil burger, laced liberally with blue cheese, and the Guinness Burger.That is steamed in Guinness and has bacon and caramelized onions on top. We three split a large truffle parm fries with the Grassfed special sauce and cilantro lime mayo on the side.There are some times when I wish that I could just keep eating my meal forever, and this was one of those occasions. The burgers were really heavenly, although if you like yours rare then this isn’t the place for you. They only cook to medium or medium well, which suited me fine. And what a lovely view this was. This is why I love Jamaica Plain and really need to spend more time here- there is a great combination of green space and urban amenities. Tiny independent bookshops, the Harvard Arboretum, the original JP Licks, big victorian houses… I could see myself happily living there. But more than anything, it was nice to spend some time with good friends, good food, and beautiful views. I hope you visit soon.
I am in danger of just giving you nothing but baked goods these days. I’ve been working quite diligently and haven’t done a whole lot of leaving the house for any reason other than work or groceries. So in that spirit, I made you some muffins.These were always my favorite kind of muffin so I set out to find the best recipe I could. This one is a bit more complicated than most, but it is also a whole lot more delicious than most.
You will need:
1 stick of unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat your oven to 350 and spray some cooking spray on your muffin pan. Beat you sugar, softened butter and egg yolks together until creamy (sugar and butter first, then eggs).
In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients, poppy seeds, and lemon zest. Add the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients together a bit at a time, adding in the buttermilk, then the lemon juice, then the vanilla. Beat until smooth and creamy.
Beat egg whites in separate bowl until soft peaks have formed, then fold them into the batter. Spoon into your muffin pan 3/4 of the way full in each cup. Bake 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then remove and devour.As we all know, if one breaks then it is the property of the chef.Happy weekend then, friends.
As you may have noticed, I have been making more of an effort to cook and bake at least one new recipe a week. This past week I made Nigella’s Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake. This was so easy to make that I am officially making it one of my staples when I need to impress some peoples. Basically you throw all of the ingredients into a blender and then pour it into a cake pan. Sound perfect? It is.
You will need:
2 small oranges
1 generous teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups of almond meal (finely ground almonds, you can grind your own if you wish or buy it at TJs)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Fill a medium saucepan with water and put two small oranges (whole, not peeled or anything) into the water. Heat to boiling then cover and simmer for about two hours. The oranges should be sort of soft and spongy on the outside by the end. This is the most time consuming and difficult part of this recipe and it literally just involved you waiting for two hours.
Once they are done cut them in quarters and take out any seeds you find (they will, obviously, be hot. Feel free to wait until they are cool enough to handle). Put them in the blender or food processor and throw all the other ingredients in there as well. Blend until well-blended. Pour into eight inch saucepan and bake for 45 min at 350.I didn’t put anything on the top this time, but when I make it again I would put a bittersweet chocolate icing on the top, similar to the one on Julia Child’s Reine de Saba cake. For that, put an ounce of semisweet chocolate into a small bowl and melt it over a pot of boiling water, then put the bowl containing the melted chocolate over a bowl with icewater in it and combine three tablespoons of butter with the chocolate, stirring until the mixture is spreadable.
Make this, friends. It is delicious, impressive, and easy. Happy Monday.
Back in March I sat in a classroom and heard Kevin Barry read one of his short stories aloud. I found myself quickly mesmerized by his deft juggling of the English language. By the end of the week I owned his two books of short stories and his novel, City of Bohane. It has taken me an unconscionable length of time to begin City of Bohane, but now that I have completed it, I must tell you about it immediately.I don’t know exactly how to describe the plot of this novel. It is set in the future, in Ireland. The city is controlled by gangs, most notably the Hartnett Fancy (what is a Fancy, you might ask). Logan Hartnett controls the Fancy (since it took me much of the book to really find out, I will let you discover for yourself) and much of the novel centers around him and those attached to him as they experience a year of life in the ever-changing city.
Stylistically, it’s part steampunk, part film noir, part American Western, part 20s gang flick. It could be some strange amalgamation of Sin City and Ulysses. And yet it is also not truly like any other novel I have ever read or heard of. Somewhat like A Clockwork Orange, you are dropped into a strange land of slang and reference to which you are provided no key other than your own interpretation of context. I encourage you to just read a few chapters. If you are not sucked in by the strangeness of the language and the intensity of the characters, then I will be a surprised woman. If at all possible, grab the audio book as well. Kevin Barry, as I have mentioned, is an amazing reader and listening to him read from this novel is sure to suck you in and send a shiver of pleasure down your spine. Let me show you what I mean:
Curl up and binge this one friends.