Friday, May 22, 2009

Interested? Interesting!

I was invited to a cocktail party this week that would be attended by foodies, beauties and exercise aficionados.  While sipping a great glass of pinot and nibbling on chef created designer appetizers, I chatted amongst the crowd that had gathered. I eventually found a group of women by the bar that I knew better than the rest, I was ready for some real give and take kind of conversation.  We covered all the topics: the gains and losses in life, love, weight and the economy! And then a gentleman walked up who would remind me of something important. He was in his 70's, quiet, intelligent and unassuming. He was a " twinkle in the eye" kind of man, a delightful and curious man!  My short time with him left me happy, hopeful and energized.
Once home, I began thinking of the different conversations I had that evening. We worry about everything from extra pounds, to aging skin. Reinventing ourselves to watching our children invent their futures. And that's just the start of it! So much worry.  And then I remembered this gentleman and the secret he revealed between his lines....Be interested while being interesting.  It's as simple as that.  What a formula! The best beauty/happiness product yet to be marketed and you won't empty your pockets while applying! Interesting!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Life is Rich

Maybe the newspaper headlines have succeeded in yanking a bit of joy from my spirit, but yesterday I woke up ready to fight back!  If everyone is suffering from becoming "poor" then I had better find a way back to "rich"!  I jumped out of bed and headed to the kitchen to make what was soon to become the creamiest, thickest, richest gateau au chocolate in the world (or at least in my world)!  If you too are ready to fight back, put your apron on and get busy!

 Rags to Riches Chocolate Cake!
10 oz ScharggenBerger bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
7 oz butter, salted or unsalted, cut into pieces
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar

Butter a 9" springform pan and dust it with cocoa powder.  If you doubt that your springform pan is water-tight, wrap the outside with aluminum foil, making sure it goes all the way up to the outer rim.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler (or microwave), stirring until smooth. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar, then whisk in the melted chocolate until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and cover the top of the pan tightly with a sheet of foil.  Put the pan into a larger baking pan/roasting pan and add enough hot water to come about half way up the outside of the cake pan.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  The cake will be done when it feels just set, like quivering chocolate pudding.  If you touch the center, your finger should be clean.
Remove the cake from the water bath and remove the foil.  Let it cool on a cooling rack.
Serve thin wedges of this very rich cake at room temperature.  Cocoa dusted raspberries on the side add a nice touch.
Close your eyes and take a bite---life is rich!

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Dreaming of Paris and  Miss Von Teese?  CointreauTeese will keep the dream alive!

1 1/3 oz. Cointreau
.75 oz. Apple Juice
1/2 oz. Monin Violet Syrup
1/2 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
Shake with ice and strain into a tall martini glass.  Finish by sliding a fresh slice of ginger along the rim of the glass.  Close your eyes, sip and dream.....

April in the City

Usually on my birthday, I like to spend a quiet day alone.  I gather both my thoughts and my wits to be ready to move forward into a new year.  It's windy this day in San Francisco and as I am pushed around Union Square I keep passing in front of the corner hot dog stand.  The vendors are usually students trying to make a buck and today is no exception.  They are young, smiling and dancing around to upbeat music to stay warm.  The smell of the sausages cooking gets into my soul and I decide that one will be my lunch.  There is no one at the stand when I approach so they are very happy when I order, pay and tip!  I prepare my hotdog the way I like it with lots of ketchup, relish and a smattering of mustard. I stand in the sunshine on the street next to the stand and take my first bite.  My eyes are closed and my head is tilted back to take in the sun's warmth and I utter a quiet sigh of delight.  Simple pleasures!  I open my eyes to see a line forming at the stand now.  The young vendor smiles at me and thanks me for bringing all the business!  "You are the best advertising ever!" he laughs.   
So this is how my 52nd year begins...the message is:  give a little, get a little; get a little and give a little until it becomes something big!