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Saturday, June 30, 2001


the hottest, most humid day of the year so far! definitely the day for the promised no-cook tiramisu! it's an interesting variation on tiramisu, and combines two of our subjects, coffee and chocolate. . .

also, today's the last day of june; and i'd just like to thank the more than 1,200 people who stopped by this month, staying an average of 4 minutes. i don't collect or know any more information about you, so don't worry! i just wanted you all to know that i appreciate your interest and your email.

now on to the recipe, which comes from italian cooking and living, and originates in a fun little neighborhood-type brooklyn restaurant, carmaya. it serves 6:

3 large eggs, separated
1 cup leftover espresso or extremely strong black coffee
1/2 c. sugar
2 tablespoons cognac or liqueur of your choice (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 oz. imported italian mascarpone
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 c. good cocoa, such as scharffen-berger
36 ladyfingers, vanilla wafers, or other plain stiff but slightly cakey high-quality cookies

attach the wire whisk to your stand mixer. beat on speed 5 the egg yolks, 1 tablespoon of espresso, sugar, vanilla, and cognac for 3 mins. add the mascarpone and beat another 3-5 minutes until smooth. transfer to another bowl. wash the mixer bowl and whisk; beat the egg whites and salt on speed 10 until stiff but not dry. gently fold the mascarpone mixture into the whites, being careful not to deflate them.

spoon this mixture into 6 individual cups or ramekins and sift the cocoa over the tops. to serve, stack 6 ladyfingers nicely on a plate, sprinkle with some of the reserved espresso. serve each person with a dish of ladyfingers and a dish of mascarpone mixture; let them dip the cookies into the sweet mixture.



posted by fortune elkins | 11:31 AM | top | link to this |


Friday, June 29, 2001


fixed the problem with the search engine indexing. now you should be search normally and receive answers. thanks for alerting me, gentle readers! the tiramisu recipe is coming -- never fear. but today i received an exciting email from renowned yoga teacher, john friend.

john friend, of anusara yoga fame, kindly emailed a reply to a question i had asked him. included was the interesting news that he will be publishing a new translation of the yoga sutras by patanjali in the fall as well as a book on general yoga philosophy:

"In Anusara we ascribe to a Tantric viewpoint, so we translate the Sutras very differently than the Classical approach. For instance, we take the premise that everything is Supreme Consciousness, so everything is this world is just a different form of one spirit. Douglas Brooks and I are also translating the Sutras from a Tantric point of view. That book will follow the general yoga philosophy book. "

as i have complained here in the past about the difficulties in almost all currently available translations of patanjali, this makes me hope that finally i will be able to understand more of what yoga is really about, beyond false and superficial new-agey generalities. generally, when people hear the word "tantra" they think all kinds of strange and wild things. as the links above should show, the essence of tantrism is the theory that all matter is a form or extension of a universal spirit, often conceived of as shakti or the devi.



posted by fortune elkins | 10:13 AM | top | link to this |


Thursday, June 28, 2001


today someone asked why i take private yoga lessons and do i think they make a difference. they clearly have made a difference for me. . .

personally, i just want to deepen my yoga practice in an open-minded way. looking at the news is giving me some insight into yoga, i think. most of the people who doing yoga now are naturally interested in the "chicness" of it. and they hear it's good exercise. so they expect certain things, i guess: to get great arms, or "a tight butt."

recently i realized that i don't think like that anymore. i just kind of show up and do the yoga with a kind of disinterested attention. something may happen, something may not. maybe today i will be able to do headstand, maybe not. i know it sounds flaky but i think this attitude helps. for example, yesterday. after i was done with my yoga, and into the final "om," i noticed my very tight right hip (and therefore knee) had dropped noticeably closer to the floor while sitting in easy cross legged pose. and i said to my teacher, "hmm, i think something's happening there."

so this attitude may be helpful at this current baby stage in my little yoga thing. or maybe not. what do you think? what is the best yoga attitude, in your opinion?

posted by fortune elkins | 11:37 AM | top | link to this |


Wednesday, June 27, 2001


i'm rushing to tell you about the amazing chocolate torte i just had for lunch at the tribeca grill.

this week the tribeca grill is participating in the annual new york city "$20 prix fixe lunch special" event. so my entire workgroup from my little job at the software house went out together to sample the wares. at first we tried to get a reservation at brooklyn's famed river cafe, but the snobby hostess there wasn't too interested in taking our 12-person party. so we went over to the tribeca grill instead, where they were very nice to us.

the picture on the web doesn't do the interior justice. and after we munched on an alice waters' type heirloom tomato salad, a chilled coconut and lobster soup, and striped bass with corn, we got to the serious chocolate.

the tribeca chocolate torte is an amazing confection of rich cake layers sandwiched by three kinds of mouse -- dark, milk, and darker still -- with a smooth fondant icing. heavenly. garnished by a long triangle of chocolate imprinted with musical notes in gold leaf and a careful dollop of chantilly cream. . . ah.

the portion size was too huge however. not that that's a fault in and of itself, but it meant that we all had the sorrow of leaving half of paradise on the plate. we should all suffer so most days. . .

posted by fortune elkins | 2:09 PM | top | link to this |


Tuesday, June 26, 2001


coffee. . .what about coffee? have talked about coffee lately?

although i work at a groovy software house in mall-hattan, the place just isn't as groovy as it could be. for example, it lacks espresso. if you want espresso, you have to hit the elevator, endure the 31 floors, and then all you get is nasty chain espresso for your time and trouble.

to solve this problem, and bring coffee to the lives of my benighted colleagues, i brought my now-discontinued krups novo 3000 into work after i got my silvia. the director of human resources said she might be interested in buying it for the office. the problem is, the poor krups can't really keep up with the volume: about 40 cups a day.

thus after a chat with the director of human resources, i think i am close to persuading her to get a nice machine for our office. therefore, i am looking around for recommendations for a super-automatic espresso machine. easy to use, fairly sturdy, easy to clean, and capable of the volume. i might recommend a saeco vienna deluxe with rapid steam. that fits the measly budget we might be able to scrounge from the corporate coffers. but can it stand the volume? and how much will a service contract cost?

ahh. . .i need to do more research. . .if you, gentle readers, have answers, please advise. . .

posted by fortune elkins | 10:16 AM | top | link to this |


Monday, June 25, 2001


coffee. . .what about coffee? have we talked about coffee lately?

this week i'm going to post my favorite recipe that combines both coffee and chocolate -- yes i mean tiramisu. speaking of which there's a new magazine i'm very interested in, italian cooking and living. the most recent issue has an interesting recipe for an variation on tiramisu, whereby you make the saucy cheese, cream and chocolate parts separately, serve them in a bowl, and dip the ladyfingers, cookies or cake into them.

you may recall that i am struggling to resist getting a new coffee grinder. i'm trying to make do by grinding espresso for my silvia with my saeco 2002. i've set the thing to one click beyond zero, but am having difficulty getting a consistent grind at this level. this means i can't get consistent crema on all my shots. i may have to try a different brand of coffee or just throw in the towel and get a second grinder.

already my husband thinks i'm nuts with my coffee equipment -- and now another grinder! where will i put it? it is a drag to have to get different grinder for drip or vac pot coffee and espresso. but no grinder does it all! the rancilio rocky, husband to my silvia, is for espresso. i've heard it's not very good for "regular" coffee. and the saeco won't do for espresso!

somewhere their must be one grinder for home use that will do it all! why haven't any of the manufacturer's filled this obvious void??? as i agonize over this into the sunset, you can look forward to that tiramisu recipe. . .

posted by fortune elkins | 10:51 AM | top | link to this |


Sunday, June 24, 2001


not such a terribly humid day. i'm about to get ready for my late afternoon yoga class. . .

which reminds me, i'm looking for a new mat. i'm deeply drawn to the so-called, "black mat" sold at bheka and manduka mat source/yogaboys. the only thing that puts me off a bit is how they are described as non-sticky. i need a sticky mat so don't slip in balance poses!

gentle readers, have any of you used these black mats? please email me with your comments, pro or con! i need a new mat in just a couple of weeks! i'll be much obliged. . .

posted by fortune elkins | 12:45 PM | top | link to this |

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