One of the best desserts I’ve ever had was at the Getty Museum in Los Angles. I had it when I was 16, taking a break from touring colleges with my mom. I can tell you nothing about the art exhibits (or even about the schools I had been visiting..) but I can remember everything about the desserts we had. Good thing my parents spent so much money on the trip.
I remember spending a long time deciding between the grapefruit upside down cake and the chocolate pot de creme, probably longer in fact, than I spent deciding which college to actually attend… My mother has been talking about this upside cake ever since and I decided to make it for her birthday when I visited Denver in early June. Shelly has a very mild sweet tooth- forcing me to question if we are in fact legitimately blood related- and so this cake was perfect. Subtly sweet, and terrifically tart, it almost measured up to the Getty version itself. Find the recipe here: http://foodonfifth.com/2013/02/18/a-ruby-red-rio-star-grapefruit-upside-down-cake-for-dark-february-days/
After graduating I went from poor college student, to the even less glamorous position of unprepared adult. The adulthood where you have to think about paying your own rent and cell phone bills. And that sh#t ain’t cheap. My active efforts to “reel it in” spending-wise, have been counter acted by the time vex left by outside school work. Without homework I now have so much additional time to happy hour. Also known as the most expensive pass time.
The point of this all, is that I have had very little money for ingredients. When I bake it has mostly consisted of raiding my fridge for anything that goes well together, which is the case with these peanut butter bars. These bars also represent my tendency to go overboard. I kept adding layer upon layer, when stumbling on new items in my pantry. In the end they consisted of four layers: caramel brownies, peanut butter mousse, peanut butter cookie dough and peanut butter chocolate ganache. Needless to say a recipe was not used or recorded. In the future, I am hoping I learn to control my urge for five o clock half priced drinks, so that money can be put towards ingredient purchasing, and time can be put into recipe writing. Wish me luck.
As I previously mentioned, these past few months a few classmates and I have been working with the Sweet Virginia Foundation, helping prevent the decline of honey bees. Although I’m self regeious enough to claim I do community service, the project doubled as both an ego boost and class assignment. All of which culminated in this video. Don’t worry, it’s only four minutes, and has a lot of cute kids (if you’re into that…) so watch it and hopefully learn something. But also feel free to mute my section as apparently on camera I develop a speak impediment/ lisp.
After much anticipation we ended up coming in second place in the video competition. As this is famed chef Jose Andre’s restaurant, the price was a tasting menu at his restaurant Jaleo. The meal was beyond generous, consisting of everything from cava sangria to croquettes served in a glass shoe (maybe a questionable choice). I have to admit that when I first tried the food I found the flavor profiles to be a little singular, mainly consisting of acid or oil. However, in reflection I truly believe that they were not one dementional at all, and rather completely authentic. I’ve been so brain washed by the food industry that if every plate doesn’t have every flavor note, bitter, salty, sweet, acidic, topped up with notable umami, that the dish is simple. However, there is always something to be said for tradition, and the integrity of culture and ingredients, which was tangible in each bite. So thank you, Jose, for a fabulous meal and even better class.