In Honor of the Eagles’ Super Bowl Victory: A Dessert to Knock Your Booties Off

.1.1

I live in Philadelphia and I suppose I would be remiss if I did not take passing note of the Philadelphia Eagle’s recent Super Bowl Victory.  Before the game started, however, victory was far from certain.  Knowing that the only other kind of “bowl” that could bring such joy to my husband was a bowl filled with something chocolate, I decided to make a chocolate creation worthy of the Super Bowl and so delicious that if the Eagles lost, we would still have the dessert as consolation.

2.2

I searched the Internet for a flourless chocolate cake recipe and found one on the Finecooking.Com    The recipe is easy to make and held up to my minor alterations.  One thing I did was to use my husband’s favorite Icelandic Chocolate from Whole Foods.  He is trying to cut all milk products out of his4.IcelandicChocolate diet (for some reason, this does not include butter.  Don’t ask me to explain how butter is not a milk product.  But Icelandic Chocolate contains not one speck of milk product so it’s OK.)    The second alteration was to use a springform pan which makes unmolding the cake much easier.  I changed the icing too, adding cocoa and powdered sugar  And I serve the cake frozen. You would not believe how much better this makes the chocolate experience. That and an Eagles’ Super Bowl  victory. Here is the recipe:

3.3

Super Bowl Flourless Chocolate Cake

  • 12 oz. Icelandic Chocolate (about 1 3/4 bars)
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 5 large eggs at room temperature (cruelty-free, please!)
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbs cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.  Cut a circle of baking parchment to fit into the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan.  Spray the parchment and the sides of the pan with cooking spray and dust with cocoa.  I like to sprinkle some granulated sugar into the pan too.  Combine the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat until the mixture becomes thick and fluffy.  This is a simple step but I tried to find a site on the Internet to illustrate it for people who have not done it.   I saw so many different instructions that I gave up.   Here’s what I did: I threw everything in the bowl, including the cocoa, and beat the mixture for about 5 minutes with a Hamilton Beach 6-speed hand mixer using the mixing paddles and not the whisk.  I used the number two speed.    The batter fluffed up beautifully.  (Remember, my cruelty-free eggs were at room temperature. )  I scraped the batter into the prepared pan and baked the cake on the middle rack for about 40 minutes.  The knife I inserted in the middle had a smidgen of batter on it, but I did not want to over bake the cake, so I took it out.   I let the cake cool for about 20 minutes, ran a knife around the edges of the pan, and put the cake, still on the spring-form bottom, on a plate, and into the freezer.

Then I made the icing

I melted 1/4 cup of butter in the microwave, put the remaining 2 oz. of the Icelandic chocolate into the melted butter, and stirred the mixture until the chocolate was melted. Then I added 3 tbs of cocoa powder, about a cup of powdered sugar, and a tsp. of vanilla.  I beat the mixture with the mixer, adding just enough water to make it pourable.  I took the cake out of the freezer,  poured the icing over the cake and let it drip over the sides and returned the cake to the freezer,  When the icing set up, I covered the cake with plastic wrap.

Some recommendations

This cake is best served frozen.  You can eat it as soon as it cools, but it is so much better  when it’s frozen.   If you have trouble cutting it, try dipping the knife in hot water before slicing.   The cake is so chocolatey that a small piece will quell your inner chocolate monster.  In fact, this cake is too good, it will knock your booties off.  Go Eagles!

Christmas at Laurel Hill

Laurel Hill Mansion in Fairmont Park is all decked out for the holidays.  This year’s theme is “Celebrating 250 Years of Designing Women.”  The Christmas Tree in the main room is decorated with ornaments showing women’s fashion plated from Godey’s Lady’s Book.  If you never heard of Godey’s Lady’s Book, you are in for a surprise.  Godey’s was the premier woman’s fashion magazine in the United States from  1837 to 1898.   But it  was more than a magazine.  Women relied on it for information and articles on everything from cooking to housekeeping to health to etiquette.  It contained sheet music, short stories, book reviews, etchings and essays by the leading intellectuals of the day.    Its female editor, Sarah J.  Hale, wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and convinced President Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday.   Hale was also a trend setter who knew what her readers wanted. In 1850, she started a fad when she introduced the American public to the Christmas tree when she published a picture of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert  and their family gathered around their holiday tree.  

Here are some pictures of Laurel Hill.

If you want to take a look at Godey’s Lady’s Book,  press here.  You can download articles and other materials here. And enjoy your holiday.

9.end

Summer Walks, Summer Flowers

  One of the things I love most about Philadelphia is the unexpected little streets and alley ways that stretch from Queen Village to Point Breeze and all the neighborhoods in between.   Here are some flower pictures I took on some walks around the city.1.SummerFlars0728_1417522.SummerFlars0728_1418043.SummerFlars0728_1418204.SummerFlars0728_1418235.SummerFlars4526.SummerFlars5077.SummerFlars5368.SummerFlars556

In The Sanctuary

I did something a little different this week.   I attended the Wednesday night In The Sanctuary series at the Fleisher Art Memorial where my figure drawing teacher   Bernard Collins joined  DJ Razor Ramon and artist/activist Priscilla Anacakuyani for a collaborative spoken word/live painting/music  performance.

 

1-1

Bernard and DJ Razor Ramon.  Bernard read-rapped-sang his poetry while Ramon kept the beat.

2-10

Bernard and Pricilla painting.

3-2
4-3

 

5-4Bernard invited a member of the audience to come up and sing.  Her strong dynamic voice to everyone by surprise.

 

6-5

 

7-6

The rear of the sanctuary.

 

8-8

To read more about Bernard Collins and his work press here.

9-9

 

 

It’s Time for the Mummers!

2016 is screaming to a close.  Who knows what the New Year will bring?  One good thing it will bring is the Mummer’s Parade.  I’ve written about the Philadelphia Mummers and their fascinating history and traditions in past years but I’m always learning something new.  I saw the badges and ribbons pictured here at an exhibit at Lemon Hill in Fairmount Park.  

mummersbadge1

mummersbadge2

 

lh-mummersidbadges

At first, I thought the badges and ribbons were awards of some kind.  In fact, they were Mummer identification worn on parade day.   “New Years Association” is just another term for Mummers club.  

Mumming  is an ancient European  tradition.  The first modern Mummers Parade took place in Philadelphia on New Years 1876.   The first “official parade” was in 1901.   

To see pictures from the 1906 Mummers parade, press here.

Cross-dressing was a Winter Solstice and Carnival tradition that transitioned into the Mummers Parade without any political hysteria.  It was considered good fun.  And still is, as the picture below will attest.  That is my husband gamely posing with some happy Mummers.

Ken and Mummers2

To read about cross-dressing and the Mummers Parade, press here .

l_directoire-gowns

For the 2016 Parade lineup and route map, press here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Melange of Topics Including Melange!

5-5

I needed cinnamon.  My favorite spice store, The Spice Corner,  had closed.   I didn’t feel like running up to Reading Terminal and pre packaged spices from the grocery store were out of the question.  That left Melange, a tea and spice store at 11th and Pine Streets in Philadelphia.  Melange has been open for a couple of years but I had never shopped there before I stepped in that November afternoon.  When I asked if they carried cinnamon, proprietor Boris Ginsburgs  steered me to a shelf that held Saigon cinnamon, Sri Lankan cinnamon and Indonesian cinnamon.

“Could you explain the difference between the three of them?”

Boris launched into an explanation that was concise, lucid, and which branded him as a tea and spice nerd. Maven would be a better description.  I ended up buying small onamounts of all three varieties intending to try them in different dishes.    And I will go back to Melange when I need more spices because they have such a big, reasonably priced assortment.

Boris Ginsburgs knows his tea and spices.  Just read through the Melange web site if you want a tea and spice education.  Better yet, go to Melange and buy some new spices to try.

 

 

In other news,  I raised a little money for the Fleisher Art Memorial  by running a make and take bracelet table at their annual Holiday Craft Fair.   I also contributed a piece to Fleisher’s semi-annual fundraiser, Dear Fleisher, 4 x 6  inches of  Art.

  1-makeandtake

   More than 300 artists contributed work to the fundraiser.   All the work  is  priced at $50.00 and  the artists remain anonymous until the work is  sold. The polymer  piece I donated  went home with a buyer.

1-wheresatellitedishesgotodie
Where Satellite Dishes Go to Die

 

Thanksgiving in Philadelphia

What else could provide a better example of the bounty and abundance that we should all be so thankful for this Thanksgiving and every other day of the year?  Reading Terminal Market.    Here are some pictures of the hustle and bustle on the day before the turkey lands.

Diane Marimow

 

The  Parkway has long been the  home of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum.  The relocation of the Barnes from Merion to the Parkway  sparked a flurry of development and the designation of the neighborhood as the Philadelphia Museum District. The Park Towne Place apartment complex, which has rebranded itself as Museum District Residences,  hired a curator and acquired art to  fill the common areas of the complex and  an  art gallery that contains a permanent collection of about 100  works, many of them by Philadelphia artists.

The gallery has space for rotational exhibits.  Park Towne Place plans to have several public art openings each year.  “Constructing Organics” is the first show and is open until December 2016.

Diane Marimow  is  one of the Philadelphia artists whose work is showcased in the “Constructing Organics”  show.   I loved her massive  hand-built pieces that evoked memories of the seashore and marine life.

 

10-marimow1

11-marimow2

12-marimow3

Diane Marimow  teaches  at The Clay Studio  and has exhibited widely.  See more of her work here and here.

 

Happy Thanksgiving from Philadelphia

IMG_20151124_115915_20151124152754222_wm

IMG_20151124_151235_20151124153921146_wm

Pictures from Reading Terminal Market

 

 

 

Happy Second of July

I never thought twice about how the 4th of July was selected to be  Independence Day in the United States until I read the quote below:

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

-John Adams

Fourth of July in Centre Square where Philadelphia City Hall stands today. 1819 painting by John Lewis Krimmel

We can’t be right all the time!    If you would like to know  why we don’t tell one another to have a happy 2nd, click on the links below:

How the Fourth of July was Designated as an “Official” Holiday

Fascinating Facts about the Declaration of Independence

More facts from the National Archives

And have a happy Fourth of July!