6.29.2011

Chilled Wild Blueberry Soup


When I was younger, we used to pick wild huckleberries while anchored in the Georgian Bay area of Canada. We'd all return with purple mouths, hands and tongues, but with enough berries left in our containers so my mother could make the world's most heavenly huckleberry pie.

I've heard many an argument about wild blueberries versus wild huckleberries. Do you know the difference?


They come from the same family but are a very different berry. Wild Huckleberries only grow in the wild but wild blueberries often are harvested commercially on farms. (You can even buy them frozen in your market.) The wild blueberry is smaller than a regular blueberry and has many soft, tiny almost unnoticeable seeds, while the huckleberry has larger seeds so they are slightly grittier when eaten. Blueberries are also more blue, while huckleberries are blackish blue or reddish black. Huckleberries have a much more vibrant and robust flavor than blueberries. They're sweeter too. Also, wild blueberries are have a slightly more earthy taste than you might expect.


Now that I live in Florida, my days of fresh-picked huckleberries are just a memory. But because of those memories, I should have guessed how much I'd like this nearly savory soup made from wild blueberries. It's a thicker fruit soup than I'm used to, but you could add more cream to thin it out if you prefer. A beautiful summery first course, you could also pass it around in little glass mugs.


Chilled Wild Blueberry Soup
By Rowan Jacobsen from Fine Cooking Magazine



Ingredients:
8 cups frozen wild blueberries (from one 3-lb. bag), or fresh if available 

1/2 cup dry white wine 
1/2 cup heavy cream 
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves; more for garnish 
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (from 1/2 medium lemon)  
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom 
Kosher salt 
Sour cream or crème fraîche

Method:

Heat the blueberries and wine in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the blueberries are thawed, about 5 minutes (if using fresh blueberries, bring the mixture to a simmer). Stir in the heavy cream, mint, lemon zest, cardamom, and 3/4 tsp. salt.
Working in batches, purée the blueberry mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth. Strain through a medium-mesh sieve into a storage container. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator, about 4 hours.



To serve, whisk vigorously to loosen the soup (chilling thickens it and you can add more cream at this point if you wish.). Season to taste with more salt. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche and a single mint leaf.  Makes about 5 cups.

                                               *********************************


After glancing through my drafts folder, I noticed lots of odds and ends I've never gotten around to posting. Rather than deleting them I thought I'd start a little side blog and get them posted as there are several good ideas and recipes among the discarded drafts. You'll notice some wooden cooking utensils on the sidebar. That's the new blog, if you have time to take a look.

                                                                                   **************************

Have a wonderful 4th of July!

Happy Birthday, America!



6.25.2011

The Picnic Game: Cherry Bars in a Jar


Did you ever play the picnic game as a child? Well, Louise at Months of Edible Celebrations is hosting a virtual Picnic. In order to participate in the Picnic Game, each blogger chooses a letter and brings a dish that begins with that letter.  Join in the fun!



I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing.....

A: Apricot Cobbler from Mae at Mae's Food Blog
 


                    





B:  Banana Cream Pie from Marjie at Modern Day Ozzie and Harriet




And my letter is C: Cherry Bars in a Jar

Be sure to visit Louise for all the other letters and their matching dishes!

Back in the 60's, I made these gems all the time. Such a simple dessert when you're in a hurry and I've always made the recipe in bar form. But recently I remembered the little Ball jars I made my mother's rhubarb pie in. Why not make Cherry Bars in those? I love individual servings like this. So you have a choice...make this as a bar, using a rectangular pan, or make it in oven proof individual dishes like these. This is an easy dessert to serve on a picnic as you can use canned pie filling on top, screw the jar tops back on and pop them in your basket. I know it's called "cherry", but I've also made it with rhubarb curd (if you have any rhubarb in your garden) and roasted fruit. So use any fruit you want; take the fast and easy road with canned pie fillings or make it more elegant with homemade fresh fruit toppings. For Louise's 4th of July virtual picnic, I thought the bright red cherries were very appropriate.
The filling may look like cheesecake, but it's not nearly as dense.

Cherry Bars in a Jar





Ingredients:

16 graham crackers, crushed
1/3 cup  butter, soft
1/2 cup  sugar
1 8 oz  pkg cream cheese
1/2 cup  sugar
2 eggs  
1 can  cherry pie filling

Method:

Mix grahams, sugar and butter. Press into the little Ball jars or press into a 9 by 13 pan.  Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth and add eggs. Pour over crumbs. Bake 325 for 25 minutes or until very lightly browned. You'll see cracks in some of the tops. That's OK. When slightly cool, pour cherry pie filling over top. Refrigerate.


You'll find the individual jars need to come to room temperature as the graham cracker crust gets quite firm. But they're still delicious no matter if you serve them cold or at room temperature.

6.23.2011

French Polynesian Adventure III: Moorea


For Part One of this series, check HERE.

For Part Two of this series, check HERE

For once, we didn't need to return to Tahiti to get to Moorea. There was a direct flight from Huahine to Moorea. The trip took less than half an hour.


Moorea

Moorea, the sister island to Tahiti, is perhaps the most popular tourist destination in French Polynesia, after Tahiti. It's pronounced MOE-oh-ray-ah. Occupying an area of about 50 square miles, Moorea is located roughly 10 nautical miles west of Tahiti and you can see each island from the other easily. Many Tahitians have holiday homes on Moorea and hop over in their boats or take the 30-minute ferry. It's home to about 16,000 people. Surrounded by a well developed coral reef and lagoon system, Moorea is a 1.2 million year old volcanic island with freshwater streams that flow year-round.





From above, the shape of the island vaguely resembles a heart, with its two nearly symmetrical bays opening to the north side of the island: Cook's (or Paopao) Bay and Opunohu Bay. Moorea has no urban center, but rather the island is home to a series of small villages, such as Paopao and Haapiti, that line its shores. It's easy to visit them during a circle-island tour, which we did on our own. More about that later.

Compared to the other islands we visited, we found Moorea touristy and crowded. And here, we had our first run-in with cruise ships. The only other island where cruise ships were an annoyance was Bora Bora. 

We found the hotel situation here appalling. Remember, it's been several years since we visited so I can only speak about conditions as we found them then. We stayed at the Sheraton, now a Hilton, and if the recent photos on their site of the inside of the bungalows are indicative of the improvements since we left,  kudos to them. When we were there, the Sheraton/Hilton was the best choice; some friends from Huahine called us when they arrived on Moorea, were unhappy with their hotel and transferred to ours. I don't know if they considered it an improvement or not. 

(To be fair, if you're interested in the hotel as it now is, you might like to check Here. There is a lovely virtual tour if you click on "take a tour of our hotel" and choose virtual tour. I can't speak to the service and food however.)

And we did love our over-water bungalow.


Messy, aren't we? :) It wasn't glamorous (they appear to be very much improved now) but it was comfortable and we did have an underwater viewing panel in the floor. The nicest thing about our room was the location. 





You can see waves in the distance in the photo...that's the outer reef. It was shallow right out to the edge of the reef.  Which made for divine snorkeling. The bungalows, however, did not afford the privacy we found on Huahine. There was a cute bar on the dock, which was fun in the evenings.



So what was our objection? The food and service. One can only hope Hilton has improved the situation. We ate breakfast there each morning, a buffet, thank heaven, which is difficult to screw up too badly!





And lunch outside around the pool (which was a nightmare I hope never to repeat). This photo looks so calm. It wasn't. It was a madhouse, the food took forever and was terrible when it came.




We ate dinner our first night at the hotel; it took over 2 hours before the meal was put in front of us and it was barely edible. We never ate there again. 

The problem was, we went to 3 other restaurants and were disappointed with two of them. There was one small advantage though: we were able to get free transportation, courtesy of the restaurant, something quite common here. Rather a lengthy procedure though as everyone was coming and going at different times and from different locations. 
I remember one restaurant had some entertainment: an American couple with a guitar singing 70's songs. We couldn't believe it. All the way to French Polynesia to hear American 70's music! The other restaurant was some sort of mixture of cuisines. I don't think they knew what they wanted to be and they failed at everything. We didn't even write down the name of either restaurant, knowing full well we would never suggest anyone go there. But both were recommended by all the respected travel guides. The list of fine restaurants was pretty skimpy when we were there. Doubtless dining on Moorea has improved. One hopes.

However, there was one place we went that was great fun. It was called La Bateau Restaurant, located at Linareva near Haapiti. We had read about it in a tour book. It was on the other side of the island so we had to take a cab and pay for it to wait for us. It was a houseboat.  Because it was a real boat, in the water, it gently swayed during our meal. The decor was a hoot. A lot of wood and a multitude of Tahitian decorations. The menu was on a large chalkboard and the food quite good. The evening was a lot of fun; I wish my photos were better. And finally, a poor photo of me on the right....rather blurry too. That's my daughter on the left.




One rather interesting fact: the Polynesian islands don't have a lot of natural wildlife, aside from birds and of course, marine creatures. Why? The answer lies within the origins of the islands themselves. Volcanic in nature, these islands literally sprang up in the middle of nowhere, far from any surrounding land masses. The only mammals on the islands today are those that were brought over by the human navigators who populated these islands.
With its eight mountain ridges, Moorea also boasts some of the most stunning panoramas in the South Pacific. Mount Mouaputa: elevation 2723 ft; Mount Rotui: elevation 2949 ft; Mount Tohiea 3960 ft.: Mount Mouaroa (also called Bali Hai) 2,887 feet.




In the photo above is a view taken from Cook's Bay with Mount Mouaputa (left), Mount Mouaroa, aka Mt Bali Hai (center), Mount Rotui (right).


One day we decided to rent a car because Moorea is an easy island to explore that way. The one coastal road is just 37 mi long and the best part of a day is needed to travel the road and stop off at the villages, bays, little churches, and cafés along the way and to travel into the interior to the Belvedere lookout and the marae (ancient temples). 

We stopped to snorkel at a public beach. You won't find too many tracks of endless white sands on Moorea;  the top resorts have man-made beaches. There are actually only 2 recognized public beaches on Moorea: one is Temae and the other Faimano beach. This photo is Temae beach.


 On our tour, we saw several lovely old churches. Our favorite was the first catholic Church on the island, located near Haapiti. It faces the ocean with Mont Rotui behind it. 




We stopped and had lunch at a very funky and ramshackle restaurant on the beach. We had read about it someplace. The owner was a piece of work. The food was excellent, but even if it wasn't the owner made the trip worth while. Unfortunately, neither of us can remember the name! We aren't much help, are we?
(I'm in all three photos here.)



Then we drove to Belvedere point. It is the island's highest point accessible by car. From the summit (720 feet ) there are commanding views of Opunohu and Cook's bays, Mt. Rotui, surrounding peaks, and the valleys below. On the way we saw pineapple plantations and ancient marae.



Tracy tells me the diving was wonderful, but so far, it's been a pleasure at every island. The snorkeling was actually as good as the diving on this island.
I must confess Moorea was not a favorite with either of us. There was no Polynesian charm and way too many people. We'd skip this one another time. Although there certainly was more to do if you're a tourist.

Next stop? Bora Bora.



6.19.2011

Pastry Studio's Lemon Almond Ice Cream


Pastry Studio is one of my favorite blogs. Every recipe is original, beautifully presented, unusual and delicious. All her ice creams are truly special and this particular one is tart and refreshing. I love citrus flavors in the summer, don't you?
Quite surprisingly, this ice cream is made without eggs. While you do need an ice cream maker, this is the simplest ice cream I think I've ever made. You'll find 1/2 teaspoon almond extract is just about right. I love toasted almonds too, so I sprinkled the ice cream with even more before serving.


Lemon Almond Ice Cream
From Pastry Studio


Ingredients:

1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup + 2 T sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
2 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest (I used 2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon good quality almond extract, to taste
good pinch of salt, to taste
1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds

Method:
Whisk together all the ingredients except the almonds. Refrigerate the mixture overnight to chill thoroughly.
Toast the sliced almonds in a single layer in a 350 degree oven for about 6 to 8 minutes. 
Churn the ice cream base in your ice cream machine. Fold in the toasted almonds. Pour into 
a container, top with plastic wrap, cover securely and place in your freezer. Makes 1 1/2 pints.

6.16.2011

Happy Father's Day

I remember everything......







6.14.2011

Cathy's Salt and Vinegar Potatoes


Have you ever had salty french fries in a paper cone with vinegar sprinkled on top? I still remember my first introduction to them as a kid, walking around the state fair. And I've always loved 'em that way.  


 So let me introduce you to Salt and Vinegar Potatoes. I'm not going to rave on and on because the photo says everything better than I ever could. I'm just going to post the photos and the recipe, nothing more needed....these are such a delight. What else would you expect from Cathy at
Noble Pig

Salt and Vinegar Potatoes with Rosemary
From Noble Pig




Ingredients: 

2 lbs small potatoes, new or fingerlings work well
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
Fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Cider vinegar
Method:
Place potatoes in salted water and bring to a boil; cook until fork tender.  Preheat oven to 425º.
Place the cooked potatoes on a well-oiled baking sheet and press down gently on each potato with a potato masher.
Brush the top of each potato with olive oil...be generous.  Season well with Kosher salt, pepper and rosemary.  Place in the oven for 25 minutes until browned and crispy.  Remove from oven and brush well with cider vinegar.  Taste and add more vinegar or salt accordingly.



6.10.2011

Cold Sorrel Soup


I love cold soups in the summer, don't you? So refreshing. What could be easier for a picnic? Just pour it into a thermos to keep it chilled and take it along. You can dress cold soups up or down.....it all depends on how you serve them. I posted a wonderful strawberry soup a while back; I've served it at a luncheon, at a casual cook-out and it was even served at an engagement party I attended,  passed around in small glass cups on a silver tray during cocktail hour.  And I've got another cold soup coming your way for the 4th of July. 

But today, it's all about chilled sorrel soup. Is sorrel available in your area? Or perhaps you're growing it in your garden?  If so, you've got to try this lovely soup. Sorrel is a member of the buckwheat family and you'll find it most frequently used in soups and sauces. You can use sorrel in salads too, but I'd stick with the small tender leaves that are less acidic. Cooked in a cream soup like this one, you'll find sorrel tangy with a slight lemony flavor.
 


It's an easy green to clean. Wash to remove grit, fold the leaf in half lengthwise, grab the stem/vein and pull to remove any woody strings. Sorrel practically falls apart and melts when it hits anything hot. Fresh, as you can see, it's a lovely green color. Unfortunately, when cooked it turns a drab green, but its fresh tangy taste survives to make a delicious soup.


I've saved a couple recipes. Gabrielle Hamilton from Prune likes to serve her sorrel soup hot over some diced cooked potatoes rather than puréeing the potatoes along with the sorrel. I think I'd like to try that texture in a sorrel soup and I'd like to try it hot too. But because it's summer, I'm sticking with this recipe which calls for chilling and you can serve it in paper soup cups if you want. 


Cold Sorrel, Leek and Potato Soup

Adapted from HERE
.



Ingredients:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 
1 medium leek (white and light-green parts only), thinly sliced (about 1 cup) 
Kosher salt 
2 small Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice (about 2 cups) 
4 cups low-salt chicken broth 
4 oz. sorrel leaves, ribs removed; more for garnish 
1/2 cup heavy cream  
Freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Melt the butter in a 4-quart pot over medium-low heat. Add the leek and a pinch of salt and cook until tender but not brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the potatoes and then add 4 cups of chicken stock and 1 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, cover partially, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes. Add the sorrel and cook until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Purée the soup in a blender until smooth. Pour the soup into a medium bowl, cover, and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 4 hours. Whisk the cream into the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with thinly sliced sorrel leaves and even a dollop of yogurt or sour cream. Makes about 4 cups.

6.07.2011

Pancake Soufflé Muffins


Last month I discovered these little gems. You can make the batter a couple hours ahead of time and bake when you want. When I made my first batch and bit into one, it was a surprise to find it wasn't very sweet. You expect a muffin to be sweet. But you've got to remember one word in the recipe name: pancake.
And that's what these taste like. Pancake in flavor, but light and airy like a soufflé and shaped like a muffin. All bases covered. You're gonna love these for breakfast or Sunday brunch. You can serve them with only maple syrup of course, but it's interesting mixing the syrup with fresh fruit...or, if you prefer, top with jam and some c
rème fraiche. Keep thinking pancakes here. Anything you like on your pancakes, you're going to like on these. 

They were a hit with my troops and you should have seen the surprised looks when everyone thought they were biting into a muffin! 

Pass the maple syrup, please!

Pancake Soufflé Muffins with Strawberry-Maple Syrup




Ingredients for the muffins:

Nonstick cooking spray 
10-1/2 oz. (2-1/3 cups) all-purpose flour 
4-1/2 oz. (1 cup plus 2 Tbs.) cake flour 
2 tsp. baking soda 
2 tsp. baking powder 
1 tsp. kosher salt 
6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature 
3/4 tsp. cream of tartar 
3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly 
6 T bs. granulated sugar 
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract 
3-1/3 cups buttermilk, at room temperature 
Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling

Ingredients for the syrup:

1 cup pure maple syrup 
1 cup quartered, hulled ripe strawberries

Method:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Liberally spray two 12-cup muffin pans with the cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, mix the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a large, clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed to firm (but not dry) peaks, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.
In another large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the mixer on medium-high speed until thick, ribbony, and lemon-yellow, about 6 minutes. Add the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla; mix on medium-low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add one-third of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed. Add one-third of the buttermilk and mix to combine. Alternate adding the remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk, ending with the buttermilk and mixing until just combined.
With a large rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter, leaving some streaks.
Scoop about 1/2 cup of the batter into each muffin cup—you can fill the cups to the rims. Bake, rotating the pans after 10 minutes, until browned on top and puffed, and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out dry, 20 to 25 minutes total.

Make the syrup:
 
While the muffins are baking, bring the maple syrup to a boil in a small pot over medium-high heat. Put the strawberries in a medium serving bowl. Pour the syrup over the berries and set aside in a warm spot.
With an offset spatula, pop the muffins out of the cups and arrange on a platter. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve with the syrup.
Makes 24 muffins.



6.02.2011

The Juice of a Few Flowers


Near the beginning of the last century, 16-year-old Gerald Murphy met beautiful 20-year-old Sara Wiborg at a party in East Hampton. Eleven years later in 1915, they were married. In June of 1921, Gerald and Sara and their three young children, Honoria, Baoth, and Patrick, set off for Europe. They wished to escape the 
snobbish, elite world into which they were born (which, one must keep in mind, supported them) and the strictures of their parents. Gerald had always been aware, and often troubled, that he was not exactly the typical hearty American male. It turns out they were both looking for the inspiration of a fresh and fertile creative landscape.


They found that inspiration in Paris. The Murphys quickly found themselves embraced by the city and its most talented international residents. They were called the Golden Couple: worldly, artistic, bohemian, glamorous.

Gerald and Sara thrived among this wide and eclectic circle, finding their roles 
as friends, sponsors, confidantes, muses, and co-creators as modernism in all its forms bloomed around them. They never asked for favors in return, but they actively supported the careers of such “unknowns” at the time as Ernest Hemingway, Fernand Léger, Cole Porter, John Dos Passos, Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, Archibald MacLeish, John O'Hara,  Jean Cocteau and Robert Benchley.

Gerald developed into quite the dandy...his resort wear even inspired Coco Chanel. He “arranged himself like a work of art,” says curator Deborah Rothschild, in clothes that were varied but “always informed by the highest aesthetic sensibility.”  Murphy's looks were distinctive but he definitely wasn't handsome. There are few images of him smiling...he always deprecatingly described his own face as an Irish moon face. Hats played a key role in Murphy’s wardrobe, which his daughter later explained was because of his thinning hair and the chubby appearance of his cheeks.

Picasso adored Sara, as did everyone else, and admired Gerald’s idiosyncratic flair. Sara's penchant for wearing pearls draped down her back while sunbathing inspired drawings and paintings of the period as well as Fitzgerald's prose. Sara with her famous pearls:


During a walk soon after they got to Paris, Gerald caught a glimpse of paintings by Picasso, Braque, André Derain, 
and Juan Gris in a gallery window. “If this is painting,” he announced to Sara, “then this is what I want to do.” Gerald (and Sara as well) began to study modern art under a Russian artist. Between 1924 and 1929, Léger, a major influence, encouraged Murphy's shared enthusiasm for mass-produced objects, advertising, and design. His first works, displayed at the 1923 Salon des Indépendents in Paris, “Turbines” and “Engine Room,” portrayed the dynamism and precision of machinery.  The next year, his 18-by-12-foot canvas “Boatdeck” literally overshadowed everything else in Salon. In its depiction of an ocean liner’s towering smokestacks, rigging, and ventilation funnels, the piece reveled in pure geometric forms and flat, poster-like expanses of color. It was a sensation. (Like many of his smaller works, these larger works have been lost.) So 40 years before Andy Warhol, pop art was born.  Murphy painted 14 pieces, but only 7 survived. Although this is a small body of work, he has been recognized as a significant artist. I thought you might enjoy a slideshow of his work:

Photobucket


Now I certainly don't want to leave out Sara. She was considered one of the great American beauties of her generation.



She became muse to Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald and a number of others. The Murphy's generous hospitality, spontaneity and extraordinarily adventurous spirit made them the trend-setters of the time. F. Scott Fitzgerald famously quipped about the Murphys saying: “The rich are different from us.” But the Murphys weren’t really filthy rich, just well off and knew how to live with great flair and style.



In 1923, Gerald and Sara bought a seaside chalet at Cap d'Antibes in southern France, named it Villa America and continued to host this elite circle of friends who defined art and literature in the 1920's. The trendsetting Murphys transformed the French Riviera in summer into a chic, if not mandatory, destination. Equal parts artistic salon and lavish family picnic, Villa America embraced everyone for whom Gerald and Sara cared.  They spent their time sunning on the beach and enjoying impeccable dinners under the grand silver linden tree in the garden of the villa.




But before every delightful dinner at Villa America, there were cocktails. 

Cocktail hour became quite a performance with Gerald at the bar and he was very mysterious and secretive about his concoctions. When someone would ask what was in this or that drink he would always answer: "Just the juice of a few flowers."  Murphy eventually turned this favorite description of  "Juice of a few flowers" into  a cocktail. It was made of freshly squeezed juices -- one ounce orange, one ounce grapefruit, a half ounce lime, a half ounce lemon -- together with an ounce of gin. Gerald Murphy's instructions:
"The mint should be put in the shaker first. It should be torn up by hand as it steeps better. The gin should be added then and allowed to stand a minute or two. Then add the grapefruit juice and then the lime juice. Stir vigorously with ice and do not allow to dilute too much, but serve very cold, with a sprig of mint in each glass."

A little side note: Have you ever seen the 1940 movie "The Philadelphia Story"? (There was a musical remake in 1957 called "High Society" starring Grace Kelly, which was her last film before her marriage.) The original starred Katherine Hepburn. In one scene, a woozy Tracy Lord, played by Katharine Hepburn, has a hangover and her ex-husband, played by Cary Grant, makes a Stinger for her as a hangover remedy. Hepburn asks what's in it, and Grant replies: "The juice of a few flowers."



It happens that Philip Barry, the author of "The Philadelphia Story," was one of Gerald Murphy's closest friends and had taken particular note of Gerald's way with a cocktail shaker, which Barry described as being "like a priest preparing Mass"  and so wrote that famous line into the script. Murphy would later give his painting "Cocktail" to Ellen Barry, Philip Barry's widow.  (It now belongs to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.) Murphy arranges the tools of pleasure (a silver shaker, corkscrew, cocktail glass, 
and five cigars) with a presentational precision that reflects the seriousness with which he approached the ritual of mixing drinks. (See the above slideshow.)

Many years later, in 2008, I watched Ina Garten make a drink  she called
Juice of a Few Flowers and I smiled and knew I had to try it. You're going to love it. It’s a drink with a tart citrus punch and a nice kick of vodka. An ice-cold glass, a sugared rim, a sprig of mint. Pretty darn close to Gerald Murphy's description.

Juice of a Few Flowers

2008, Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics




Ingredients:

1/2 cup (125 mL) freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
1/2 cup (125 mL) freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice (1 grapefruit)
1/4 cup (50 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
1/4 cup (50 mL) freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
1 cup (250 mL) vodka
extra lemon juice
granulated sugar
fresh mint sprigs

Method:

Combine the orange juice, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, lime juice and vodka in a pitcher.
Dip the rims of 4 martini glasses first in a dish of lemon juice and then in a dish with sugar. Set aside to dry.
Pour the cocktail mix into the glasses, garnish with mint and serve.

And just in case you'd like to read the end of the Murphy story:


The Murphy's  were the inspiration for Nicole and Dick Diver in Fitzgerald’s masterpiece “Tender Is the Night” , which caused a rift between Fitzgerald and the Murphys, although they remained supportive of Fitzgerald for many years, through all his drunken episodes.

Another old friend, Ernest Hemingway, in his posthumous memoir, ''A Moveable Feast,'' called them rich ''bastards.''  (Hemingway’s hunger to bolster his own machismo led him to grow more suspicious of 
Murphy’s sexuality over the years of their relationship.) 
There were some deleted passages never published in which Hemingway unforgivably, considering their generosity to him, commented, ''They were bad luck to people but they were worse luck to themselves and they lived to have all that bad luck finally.'' 
Gerald Murphy reacted by saying: ''What a strange kind of bitterness -- or rather accusitoriness . . . . What shocking ethics! How well written, of course.''

The bad luck Hemingway referred to was the unexpected deaths of their two sons. (As if to bargain his first ill son back into health, Gerald abandoned painting in October 
1929.) Which makes the first photo above very poignant. The second piece of bad luck was the near bankruptcy during the Depression of his family's business (Mark Cross) which forced Gerald's grudging return to America to save, and spend the rest of his life preserving, the family business.

So as an elderly man, Gerald lived the life he had fled as a young man, going to an office and lunching every day at Schrafft's.  Sara threw herself into volunteer work with children. The hospitality of their home  in Snedens Landing, just up the Hudson from New York City, seems to have been a sweet but pale afterimage of their former salon.  Five of Murphy’s works were among the “American Genius in Review” exhibit mounted 
at the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Art in 1960. From then on he found himself the object of serious critical interest. He supposedly announced at a family luncheon, “I’ve been discovered. What does one wear?”

Gerald died October 17, 1964 in East Hampton, courtly to the last; his final words to his wife and daughter were “Smelling salts for the ladies.”

Sara died on October 10, 1975 in Arlington, Virginia.


  

Additional reading about the Murphys...I loved both these books:
Living Well is the Best Revenge and Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy, a Lost Generation Love Story. And if you haven't already, you certainly should read A Moveable Feast.
Photo and informational credits: 
 http://identicaleye.blogspot.com/2010/03/summer-by-sara-gerald-murphy.html
 http://theerrantaesthete.com/2009/02/16/the-golden-couple/
 http://mondo-blogo.blogspot.com/2011/05/gerald-and-sara-murphy-superfreaks.html

 Some photos by Man Ray
http://www.ucpress.edu/content/chapters/10873.intro.pdfhttp://www.nytimes.com/books/98/05/24/reviews/980524.24allent.html

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/artworld/2007/08/06/070806craw_artworld_schjeldahl
http://nymag.com/arts/all/features/17561/
http://www.dandyism.net/?p=1080

http://www.ucpress.edu/content/chapters/10873.intro.pdf

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