Thursday, June 27, 2013

Meals On Tour: Part One

Greetings from a tour bus in the middle of Pennsylvania!  I’ve been away from my kitchen for weeks, first performing at the OK Mozart Festival and now playing with this man on a 5-week tour.  I had grand plans to cook and photograph many summery dishes in early June so I could write periodic blog entries from the road, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.  I was overwhelmed by the preparations for these 7 weeks away from home, so until I am back in my kitchen, here’s another series of Meals On Tour.

I love being “the string boss” for this band, and the concerts have been a total blast with a mixture of songs from the new album as well as classic standards, gospel tunes and New Orleans jazz.  A typical day on this tour focuses on an evening concert, followed by a several-hour drive and arriving at the next hotel in the middle of the night. Sometimes we only have a day in each new city, but I always try to explore a bit and seek out an excellent lunch, no matter what.

The first big travel day was rough, leaving late after the first concert in Baltimore and rolling into Providence at 7 am.  At least our hotel was around the corner from Local 121, so after sleeping a solid four hours in the hotel, I treated myself to lunch. This white pizza with smoked mozzarella, sautéed kale, oven-roasted tomatoes and topped with a fried egg totally hit the spot, and I can't wait to recreate it at home.

We followed the brief stint in Providence with several days in Boston, my old college town.  I was thrilled to play at Symphony Hall for the first time, and my inner 19-year-old was turning cartwheels with the excitement of it all.  I was deliciously happy wandering around all weekend, revisiting my first two college apartments and other favorite places.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Heavenly Flourless Chocolate Cake With Rose Whipped Cream and Raspberries

It takes very little to prompt me into celebration mode with my friends.  In addition to birthday festivities, I am always ready to rejoice over creative milestones, finding new jobs and fantastic new apartments, not to mention new loves in one’s life.  Whether it happened to me or to one of my friends, I’ll also happily mark the anniversaries of any of these events with an appropriate beverage, no matter how many years ago the original event was.  A bottle of bubbly lends a particularly festive note to any occasion, but the more significant celebrations call for cake.  Especially when we're talking about a four-layer Flourless Chocolate Cake with Rose Whipped Cream and Fresh Raspberries.

I’m salivating again just looking at this.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I made this heavenly chocolate beauty last week for my 17-year anniversary of moving to New York City.  June Fourth was the very significant day in 1996 when I arrived in town with nothing but a violin, a suitcase of clothes, less than $300 in my bank account, and the invitation to crash on a friend’s couch for the summer. (Thank you forever for that, Lara!) I knew very few people and had no employment prospects lined up, but I knew that I had to stay no matter what it took.  I felt I was truly HOME for the first time in my life. 

New York is undeniably an amazing city, pulsing with a vibrant energy all its own.  I have had creative opportunities while living here that I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined once upon a time, and I am forever grateful. But it is the amazing friends who have come into my orbit throughout these past 17 years who have truly made my life so indelibly rich.  This colorful cast of characters has filled my heart with laughter and great joy, and how could I not throw a party for at least a handful of them each June 4th?