Monday, March 31, 2008

The Lone March Blog

March is almost over (fewer than three hours left in the Pacific Time Zone), and I’ve been a lazy bum and written no blogs whatsoever this month. In fact, I see that my last entry was in celebration of Chinese New Year. Sheesh!

So I’ll get busy and share a few food observations from my end-of-the-month bargain bin:

► I catered an Oscar party for my friends, James and Jeff, who each year open their lovely home—and lovely home theatre—to their friends for an evening of voting, opinionizing and feasting. And I’m honored to be the supplier of the feast, which this year was inspired by Ratatouille, winner for best animated film. I even paused at the door so that as the best animated Oscar winner was announced, I could make a grand entrance carrying Jeff’s honkin’ big, honkin’ heavy but oh-so-lovely blue enamel-covered Le Creuset seven-quart cast iron pot (groan!) filled with enough ratatouille to feed all of Los Angeles County (double groan!). (That's it in the left center of the table.) That sent the guests scurrying to the buffet to find out just what ratatouille actually IS. Uber-chef Thomas Keller, who was primary adviser to the moviemakers and who created the menu, developed a splendid ratatouille recipe which I used that night and which I will use for the rest of my life. I’m convinced I’ll never find its equal elsewhere. Thank you, Chef Keller!

► I balanced an egg on its end in a tip of the hat to the spring equinox. I don’t know why, but it’s one of those irresistible holdovers from my youth, like picking buttercups and putting them in glasses of water with food coloring and watching the dots and veins of red, green and blue magically appear in those happy first flowers of spring. And then I’d take a knife and split the stems longways and put each stem half in a different glass with a different colored water, so the flowers would be a different color on each side. I remain quite easily entertained.

► And just today I admired a nice bit of baking artistry:

At first glance this looks like a t-bone steak, right? It’s actually a red velvet cake fashioned to look like a steak, complete with hunks and slices of pear situated in the appropriate places to replicate veins of fat. I love seeing what creative people do when their medium is food. The cake’s creator is a surfacing artist at DreamWorks, where my husband, Andy, also works in visual effects.

Maybe I’d best save the rest of my observations for April . . .