Monthly Archives: July 2011

Joyeux 14 juillet

From May 2003 to July 2005, I spent my life away from the United States living and working with a church in Strasbourg, France. It was an incredible and life-changing experience that left me with a new appreciation of the French language, culture, and people. The one thing I missed a lot when I was in France was celebrating American holidays. Obviously France does not think anything of July 4th. To them it is just another day. But July 14th is a completely different matter. Just 10 days after the United States’ beloved national holiday, France celebrates its own independence from the monarchy. Also known as Bastille Day, July 14th is a huge holiday for the French. It involves fireworks and parades and all kinds of festivities not unlike the ones most of us are accustomed to. And since France’s colors are also red, white and blue, it was easy for me to feel right at home even while celebrating in another land.

This year in honor of le 14 juillet, I decided to make a red, white and blue dessert. These pastries have absolutely no tie to France. I actually got the original recipe (which I tweaked slightly) from Visions of Sugar Plum. The original recipe was for a blueberry pastry with lemon cream cheese icing. But I decided to make half of these strawberry and to leave out the lemon flavor altogether. The results were good. This was my first time working with puff pastry, though, and honestly I expected it to be a lot more convenient than making my own pie dough. While I’m sure it did save me some time to have the pre-made dough, I still had trouble rolling it out and cutting it into uniform squares for the pastries. In the end, I think they turned out alright.

Happy Birthday Daddy!

About a week ago my father hit a milestone. He turned 50 years old. Not one to make a fuss, my dad insisted on a small family breakfast and absolutely no other festivities. We, of course, obliged. However, my mom simply could not stand NOT having a cake. So for Sunday lunch, she requested I make a German Chocolate Cake- his favorite. This cake is not too difficult to make, though it does use a ridiculous number of bowls- 1 for the butter/sugar mixture, 1 for the melted chocolate, 1 for the dry ingredients, 1 for the egg whites and 1 for the egg yolks. That’s 5 bowls for 1 cake recipe! Fortunately the frosting is a 1 pot deal, otherwise, I might have had to pause and do dishes in the midst of cooking. But other than this cake dirtying up every dish in your kitchen, it’s a simple enough recipe to follow. And believe me when I say the results are rewarding.Personally, I’m not too big on either cake or chocolate, so you can imagine where I stand on German Chocolate Cake. That being said, I did enjoy the reactions of my taste-testers, and based solely on that, I’m calling this recipe a hit. Honestly, I just google “Bakers German Chocolate Cake recipe” and pick the first one that pops up. You could probably find the instructions printed on the back of the Bakers German Chocolate bar too.