A dear friend managed to have both a birthday and a baby in the course of a week, so I decided it was time to take a shot at her favorite dessert: creme brulee. I've always considered creme brulee one of those fancy desserts that are better left to the pros and those with torches, but since I have Sam by my side, we had the torch part covered and perhaps enthusiasm would make up for our inexperience. We consulted a couple sources. This was our primary recipe and we also checked out this video as the brulee was baking, which was a bit late to implement the main suggestions (next time we will try a spot of salt as she suggests, just to see), but we at least got the fruit part down. It was all surpassingly straight forward, even for a cooking novice like myself. I both saw and cooked with a real vanilla bean for the first time on this adventure. (I included a photo. you can't tell much about the bean, but it has dramatic lighting to help you catch it's artful nature. right. exactly.) We tried the brulee both 2 hours after refrigeration and a couple days after, and it's best texture was after a couple days. Oh, and the part about only torching after the brulee has been out of the fridge for 30 minutes is important. Otherwise it will crack your ramekins. (we learned this from experience...) But it was worth it for that yummy smooth vanilla mixed with the crunchy sugary top.
We also participated in our normal food share and made a french peasant chicken dish along with blanched green beans fresh from the market and toasted almonds and a baguette from the aforementioned market.
So I have a bit of an ulterior motive for including food on my blog. In addition to the potential of someone getting on here, adding their expertise and saying, "oh hunny that's not how you do that, try this, it's much easier/better," it's also a good way for me to more deeply savor food. I've always been one that must be conscientious of the way I eat for weight management (I never have had the eat-whatever-you-want, natural girlish figure that so many friends speak about missing now as adults). And I've found that the seasons when I struggle with this issue, instead of enjoying food too much, I'm usually not enjoying it enough...using it to divert my attention from life stresses, focusing on other things while eating, etc. When I receive food from a posture of gratitude, presence and even celebration I tend to naturally fall into nourishing habits and food becomes a joy instead of a source of guilt (even the occasional brulee).