Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving approaches I am reminded of this passing year. Some ups and many downs, but even with the downs I have received gifts from some of the most unlikely places and people. I have been lifted up by others I had no idea cared about me. I have even been lifted up by strangers. Never have I allowed myself to be as open to others has I have become this year.

I believe this year was a learning experience on opening my doors and welcoming others in regardless of the mess. Giving others a chance to offer their care and concern for me rather than push everyone away because I am strong enough not to need anyone. Strength doesn't necessarily mean going things alone.

I am thankful for each and everyone that has touched my life this year and provided me a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on, a diversion, a good story, a caring e-mail (from near and far), and a reminder that love still exists in all its odd shapes and endearing forms. This Thanksgiving I will be traveling for work- another gift. A chance to avoid a familial get together that I am not ready for, not yet.

I wish you all a very happy and thankful Thanksgiving. Thank you

Friday, November 12, 2010

Raspberry & Cream (Creme fraiche) Tart

This little treat goes fast and is easy to make. It has almost a cheesecake feel to it, but isn't as heavy.

I was invited to a potluck Halloween party and couldn't decide what to make so I went with the raspberry cream tart, a recipe I picked up from the Spice House. It was a hit- my cousin gives it 2 thumbs up. 


1 stick butter (softened)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
pinch of salt
3/4 creme fraiche
2 cups fresh raspberries (or other berry)
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar

Oven: 350 degrees (preheated)

Beat butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar and salt. Then add in 3 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla. Beat together until smooth. Toss in 1 cup of flour and mix until combined. Pour mixture into tart pan making sure to spread it evenly over the entire surface and up the sides of the pan. It is sticky, it is supposed to be. If you don't spread it well, your filling will stick to the tart pan and make it difficult to remove.

Next, whisk together 3/4 cup of the creme fraiche and 1 egg. Mix in 1/4 cup of sugar and the last tsp of vanilla. Once mixed, pour into the tart pan and spread this evenly as well. If you aren't careful, it will spill over the sides and look messy...so be careful.

Once the filling is placed where you want it, begin placing the berries. Remember, the berries will be seen so try to make them look nice- leave the smashed ugly ones for snacking while decorating the tart with the prettier ones. After you have the berries placed where you want them, sprinkle the whole tart with vanilla sugar.

Place in the oven 50-60 minutes- until crust is brown and filling is set. Let cool and then have at it.

I am willing to believe, but I have not yet tried it, that you could probably throw in some unsweetened chocolate with the crust batter creating a chocolate crust, raspberry cream tart... maybe next time...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Embers of a Thought (a poem)

Pulling in the smoke of a lost flame...

Misplaced paths crossed and paths still chosen
Mistaken luck? I sit and ponder

Lost in thought
Lost in the labyrinth of my imaginary memory

I want, I long for…something
I can taste it, feel it, without knowing what I miss
It remains on my lips, yet to utter would be suicide

When it grasps me, I am unable, unwilling to break free
Without so much as a warning
Wanted hands, wanted heart, wanted words…

...unlock, what?

(J. Smith 2010)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

First Night in New Orleans

The Big Easy... a place of mystery and secrets. A place where one can turn over the glitter exposing the dark to turn over the dark to expose the glitter- spinning like a coin- each a necessary side filling in the city's character. If I had to choose, I would argue strongly and definitively that city is definitely a lady.

She has all the seduction of the most alluring courtesan and the strength of the strongest of matriarchs. She holds her own, bringing the culled to her breast to hug and kiss away hurts, while drawing others in with her oil lighted lamps and promises of warm caresses for those willing to promenade her deserted streets. At night, lights reflect off her black ink river like flashes of lust from a restless lover’s eyes.

As one finds oneself uncertain of being awake after waking from a nightmare, I recently found myself in New Orleans (or N'Awlins or New Ooorleeaans) with the hope of freeing myself from the everyday boredom... and to volunteer time with Habitat for Humanity. Each reason gave its own lift to my soul, in different ways, but both necessary and long sought after. The evening I arrived (and after a strange exchange with the valet), I dropped my bags and headed out into the night with the vague notion of finding dinner- leaving Bourbon for another time.

Walking along her fairly deserted streets, I wanted her to fill me, consuming my disjointed thoughts and even more disjointed feelings. I hoped she would reveal some of her secrets in exchange for my homage. Quickly I fell under her spell soaking up her offerings in the shadow of barely lighted streets and creole homes wearing their history and familial ghosts seen through dark shuttered doors and windows as badges of honor.

At night after the crowds have dwindled the city breathes deep sighs of relief. Walking alone, a tinge jealous, I could hear the slight sound of restful life behind closed doors and open windows. I knew what that life was like, once. I remember the comfort of curling up in another’s arms and snuggling into the crux of his neck. With the fresh rawness of uncertain freedom, I hurried back onto more traveled streets, away from the slumber and damaged memories.

Monday, November 1, 2010

In Honor of Halloween (Pumpkin Heads, a poem)

Pumpkin heads

Shattering the commotion with your silence
Not the jack-o-lantern smiles left on your rotting skull
The tricks already played and treats savored
Remove your mask revealing sought after decay
Free falling thoughts from your candied lips

Wicked and sticky sweet your actions speak volumes
To your unwritten confessions of lost youth
You walk through the cackling laughing leaves
For without them the walk at dusk lacks

Carve deeply into the flesh
Leaving no room for interpretation or validation of strangers
Undoing time and space absorbed by your presence
Sucked clean like a snake bite offered in homage
to the handler fiddling with devotion

Embers snuffed with the last breath of smoke
Freeing itself through the uneven cracks
Light lingers still for a moment alive
Only for a glimpse into your madness

(J.Smith 2010)