02 May 2011

the cloisters and a cake

With only two weeks of classes left, I find myself in good shape academically, and this weekend I allowed myself a little free time with my Mister to celebrate his birthday. Honestly, it was a nice break from the computer for a couple of days (it's amazing how tired, sore, and irritable just sitting in front of a screen several hours every day will make you). Here is a picture of the cake I made him (I apologize for the poor quality):

This was a mocha cake with a chocolate-hazelnut glaze, both recipes from the wonderful Complete Tassajara Cookbook, by Ed Espe Brown and it was to-die-for delicious. This is the best cookbook I have ever beheld--directions are simple, ingredients common, and every single recipe is perfectly balanced and delicious. Ed Brown is an inspiration and a wonderful chef.

Anyway, the cake turned out brilliantly and was completely stress-free (I often avoid making cakes because they tend to call for special flours, lots of sifting and whipping and then turn out only plain-tasting), and so I highly recommend the recipe, and will surely be making it again, on multiple occasions.

After eating half the cake for dinner, we got up to eat the second half for breakfast, then made a pasta salad to take with us as a picnic lunch to the Cloisters, the beautiful medieval art extension of the Met in Washington Heights. Both the collections (inside an old cloisters on a hill) and the vast gardens that surround them are beautiful, especially this time of year, and we were lucky enough to have the lovely weather to enjoy them:

So much beauty all in one day! The Mister and I noted how like the "complacent smiles" of the Classical Chinese and old Buddhist works were the smiles on the faces of the Virgin in many of the Medieval works. And how wonderfully Utopian these old interpretations of Christian allegory were. And the colours on the angels' wings--crimson, and lapis, so beautiful!

Back to the books now, unfortunately, but if all goes according to plan, I should be finished with all my work and have it turned in by next Tuesday! And then, the following one, back to California. More before then though--I have more pictures that I've saved for a rainy day. :)

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