Sunday, May 9, 2010

a thoughtful take on a simple pleasure

I am so inspired by the literary prose of M.F.K. Fisher the legendary food writer of such books as Consider the Oyster, How to Cook a Wolf,  and The Gastronomical Me. Fishers’ work is masterful; every word seems perfectly placed, like the musical notes in a score. Her muse is food and the enjoyment that surrounds it, and the way in which she shares those pleasures is a melody that seems to transport you to a happier time and place.

It makes me wonder, that in a time that is so busy, where pleasure seems complicated that we can, or are willing to slow down enough to enjoy the simple beauty to be found in life.

With all of the rambling I do in this blog for almost a year now, I’m not sure who even reads these words of mine, if anyone.  I’m curious...dear reader are you a cook, a gourmand, or just a curious passerby? Are you inspired in the kitchen? Or do you simply need inspiration?

When someone finds out I enjoy cooking and even finds out I actually blog about it (which is sometimes a little embarrassing) I more times than not hear “Oh, I don’t cook.” After I hear this I always think, (but of course never say) “Do you eat?”

Or maybe I should ask “Do you eat well?”

My hope is that we will see our need for appreciation of the beauty, especially the simple beauty, to be found in life, amidst the confusion and turmoil that surrounds most of our lives. One simple way to achieve this, in my humble opinion is to carve out time each day to plan and create a meal for your family or just for yourself. Then take pause and a prayer if you will and give thanks.

Below is a recipe for Salted Dark Caramel Sauce, it is a quick delicious pleasure that can be a lovely flavoring for your favorite coffee drink, or simply drizzled over ice cream. I like to take the caramel to the brink of burning, until it is the color of an old penny. I love the deep intense flavor of a well colored caramel.


Salted Dark Caramel

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split in 1/2 lengthwise and seeds scraped
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. sea salt

Place the heavy cream and vanilla bean and seeds in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove the cream from the heat and let sit while making the caramel.

Whisk together the sugar and water in a medium non-reactive saucepan over high heat. Cook until dark golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the caramel from the heat and immediately add the cream slowly, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Return to the heat and cook until the mixture becomes smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and salt. Transfer to a bowl and serve immediately.

makes almost 2 cups


  1. I read every posting that you make. Your writing inspires me to look for better ways to cook and better things to eat. Keep posting!

  2. I read all your postings and wished I lived upstairs so I could casually stroll down stairs as the smells waft up... oh, were you making something? oh sure I would love to try a bite... or two or three. I am terrified of this recipe because I could eat all of this I might even put it on ice cream. You do inspire me so!

  3. Shannon - I love your blog, especially the photography! I am more of a baker and Paul is the main chef in the house. As we've become empty nesters we have both become more adventurous as food preparers and consumers, and are always looking for new ideas. Your blog is enjoyable to read and to look at, and it inspires me. So happy you are doing so well!

  4. awesome post my friend. i could see this as a "sinful staple". how long does it keep? who am i kidding...there wouldn't be any left to keep...