Saturday, March 31, 2012

Etymology, or, Seeing the trees for the forest

eautiful.         Pronunciation:  /ˈbjuːtɪfʊl/
Forms: beautefull, beutifull, beutyfull, bewtifull, bewtyfull, beuty-, butyful, beautifull, beautyfull, beautiful, beautifull.
Etymology:  < beauty n. + -ful suffix. Occas. compared with -er, -est, usually with more, most.

A.2.a.  Affording keen pleasure to the senses generally.
A.3. Impressing with charm the intellectual or moral sense, through inherent fitness or grace, or exact adaptation to a purpose. 1
Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté,
Luxe, calme et volupté.2
beautyn.   Pronunciation/ˈbjuːtɪ/
Etymology:  Middle English bealte,  beute, < Old French bealtebeaute,  biaute,  earlier beltet, modern beauté, (cognate with Provencal beltat,  beutat, Spanish beldad, Italian beltà ) < late Latin *bellitātem, < bellus beautiful: see -ty suffix1.

I. abstractly: 2. That quality or combination of qualities which affords keen pleasure to other senses, or which charms the intellectual or moral faculties, through inherent grace, or fitness to a desired end; cf. beautiful adj. 3.

   A girl came in the café and sat by herself at a table near the window. She was very pretty with a face fresh as a newly minted coin if they minted coins in smooth flesh with rain-freshened skin, and her hair was black as a crow's wing and cut sharply and diagonally across her cheek.
   I looked at her and she disturbed me and made me very excited. I wished I could put her in the story, or anywhere, but she had placed herself so she could watch the street and the entry and I knew she was waiting for someone. So I went on writing.
   The story was writing itself and I was having a hard time keeping up with it. I ordered another run St. James and I watched the girl whenever I looked up, or when I sharpened the pencil with a pencil sharpener with the shavings curling into the saucer under my drink.
   I've seen you, beauty, and you belong to me now, whoever you are waiting for and if I never see you again, I thought. You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil. 3
1. "Beautiful, adj. and n." Second edition, 1989; online version December 2011. <>; accessed 26 February 2012. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1887.
2. Baudelaire, Charles. "L’Invitation au Voyage." Online version 21 mars 2012 à 15:42 <éme)>; accessed 30 March 2012.
3. Hemingway, Ernest. A Moveable Feast. New York: Scribner, 1964. Print.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Photos of phood: Nougatine Pastry Crisps

ood lord.
I haven't posted since the holidays! The horror! Much didn't happen, then much did happen, and now I've got several drafted posts to get out and need to decide which go first. So instead, here's a couple photos of the most recent baking incident.

Earlier this month I had a request for palmiers as a birthday gift, so I [somewhat foolishly] bought a log of Amish butter from the local butcher. Foolish because 1) I neglected to notice that this was *salted* butter, something I never use and 2) it will always smell like butcher shop to me. Also probably 3) 2lbs of butter was more than I needed and more expensive than the perfectly good Cabot at home, but heck. Anyway, I had half left over and the fastest way to get rid of butter is in a 1lb butter package in pastry, SO:

pastry, nougatine, almond, caramelMade puff pastry dough. ... only then did I go through a few recipes and realise that everything called for ingredients I didn't have (and I try to bake only with things on-hand, otherwise it would become a huge expense very quickly), fruit and cream and whatnot. Palmiers really only use butter, flour and sugar, which makes them very convenient. Eventually I found a recipe for an assembled dessert from the Ritz involving sort of a pastry sandwich around a cream/fruit filling from the Pie and Pastry Bible (I know, I know, big surprise, I'm using the book again).

pastry, nougatine, almond, caramel The pastry discs are simply slabs of the dough rolled out thin and baked between cookie sheets to keep them flat. However, the secret (or not) addition is the nougatine crumble which tops them. I doubled the original recipe for this (figuring it can go on yogurt and stuff, too) and got a nice sheet of almond filled crunchy caramel. With a crumbled spoonful of this sprinkled on top, the pastry rounds become cookies with slightly chewy caramel and nutty almonds on top. Easy enough, attractive, and so flakey you can barely pick one up.