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    Born to Run by Christopher McDougall - (K) Humorous and thorough history and science behind ultrarunners and long-distance running
    *****
    Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela - (K) An autobiography covering his childhood, years as a freedom fighter and incarceration. Inspiring and informative
    *****
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón - (K&T) A mystery set in Barcelona involving an old book, a failed writer and murder
    *****
    Lush Life by Richard Price - A Lower East Side tale of cops, drugs and drinking
    ***
    The Chinese by Jesper Becker - (K&T) Modern history of my peeps, from the cultural revolution to the many failed economic and social attempts to move the country forward
    ***
    Setting the Table by Danny Meyer - A "how-to" on hospitality and business acumen by the restaurateur behind such NY institutions as the Shake Shack and Union Square Grill
    ***
    The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama - Obama lays out what is wrong with the current government and how, vaguely, to change it.
    **

La Tarte flambee

On the German border of France, in and around Strasbourg and the rest of Alsace, you’ll find a little pizza like treat called la tarte flambée. Literally meaning “baked in the flames”, the Germans call it Flammekueche. You take a pizza-esque dough, roll it out very thinly, cover almost to the edges with fromage blanc (literally white cheese – similar to greek yogurt or a light crème fraiche), top with lots of caramelized onions as well as  speck/bacon and cook like a pizza until the bottom crust is crispy. The end result of sweet and creamy pork crispness is like nothing else. 

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La Technique: Saucy

Class four was all about taking what we had done previously in the stocks class and adding onto it. You take a stock and add a binding element (liason) and you come out the other side with a basic sauce. Seems pretty simple, right? It is, actually. There are all sorts of liasons out there including flour, potato starch, arrowroot, cornstarch, double cream, mustard (as we saw in our mayo the class before), egg yolk (hollandaise), etc.

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La Technique: I Love the Base

Session three was all about stocks and emulsified sauces and probably the first class I was really excited about. What’s so exciting about stocks? The book says they are “indispensable in the classic French kitchen”. They are used to make the mother sauces and their correct preparation can have a dramatic effect on your final dishes.

The thing about these basics is that their preparation is hard to understand from a book. I’ve made stocks before, notably from leftover chicken both cooked and uncooked, but I was hoping this class would help me make those stocks better as well as learn about beef and veal stocks. It did, though we didn’t talk much about chicken stock, more about the veal and marmite.

Here’s something interesting, milk is considered a stock. Bet ya didn’t know that…

So, guidelines for a proper stock? According to the book they are:

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Loving It…

Them Germans, always so eco-friendly, always so ingenious. Which brings me to my latest purchase that I must share with you guys: the Mini Max Shopper by the German company Reisenthel.

I found these while browsing around bookstores in NY. You can carry these mini ones (it fits in a keychain-size bag) in your purse and just pull them out when you need them!

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It’s Alive! It’s Alive!

Thanks to you guys’ unrelenting support and faithful prayers, our Roomba is well and alive after having its battery replaced. It’s now back to its old self, vacuuming away, aimlessly bumping into every corner like a blind stray dog.

Heath Ledger RIP

Yesterday, on my way to Soho, I unknowingly walked by Heath Ledger’s apartment. It was early afternoon and considering that the news broke on Tuesday, there were only one reporter and a few grieving fans there, though the mood was still somber. I took some pics with my phone (see below), and as strong as I was tempted to appear on TV, I thought it rather inappropriate to jump behind the reporter for my five seconds of fame.

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Missing Our Friends

We miss all of your Seattle friends, but February/March will be nice, as we’ll get to see of of them. Here’s our schedule so far:

Feb 29 – Mar 2: Emily and Marisa

Mar 8 – Mar 9: Jing (?)

Mar 11 – Mar 16: Kristin and Melissa

Mar 14 – Mar 16: Kristin, Melissa, Tarah, Regina

Mar 20 – Mar 23: Bea & friend

Apr 10 – Apr 13: Mom & Dad Sale

Summer:  Kokes and Adam

Sep: Lauren and Ben (still some work to be done here)

Can’t wait to see you all!