The past month has been busy, between the work I’ve been doing on my book and the class I’ve been teaching for LSU Continuing Education. I’ve spent the past four weeks talking about the French Resistance with a truly lovely and engaged group of folks. Judging from some of their questions, comments and the like, I suspect there may be a massive run on resistance histories and memoirs over the course of the next week or so. So I am tickled as can be about their interest in the subject and, most importantly, their continued support of my classes. If any of them are reading this now, a big, big thank you for trusting me with your mornings. Until we meet again…
Now, part of one’s ability to become a figure worthy of a group’s trust is a willingness to not only admit that one has goofed up, but actually go about the business of fixing one’s blunder. And class, I misspoke yesterday when I said Robert Gildea’s Fighters in the Shadows was coming out today. I could say that in my zeal to read this tome, my error was aspirational, i.e. “Dear Lord me, I really hope that Dr. Gildea’s book comes out today because I have been reading so many fantastic reviews about it all over the place, that I just can’t take waiting any longer.” But sadly, the truth is quite simple. This was a case of my very own and very human error. When I went to Amazon to order it this morning, I found that Gildea’s book is not, in fact, out in the United States until November 30. Surely there will be oodles and oodles of more fantastic reviews that will make this wait even more torturous for me and for the others who may have gone online today in search of this bloody thing that their well-meaning instructor told them about in class. Know that you are not suffering in solitude, my friends. May this tome be the gift we give each other this coming holiday season. Vive la Resistance!
What are you reading right now? Anything that has captured your imagination? Please let me know what it is and why I can’t live without it in comments.
One of the more recent freelance assignments I’ve taken on was for USA Today, which does an annual NASA Special Edition. This is the second consecutive piece I’ve done for them on the agency’s exoplanet research initiatives, which never cease to capture my imagination, especially considering recent reports about the discovery of water on Mars. Is there life out there beyond our planet? The people I’ve talked to for this story are devoting themselves to this question, and it seems we’re getting closer and closer to an answer which very well could be “Yes.”
See these little nuggets of amazing? They are cocoa sables and I brought a few dozen of them to my class yesterday morning. I live in a household of chocoholics, so when I found the recipe for these cookies in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table, they became a pretty beloved sweet (but not too sweet). They’re crumbly and buttery and rich with dark chocolate flavor. They’re just as good served with a cold glass of milk as they are with a nice Malbec.
Here’s the recipe:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 cup of sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 lb. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (the recipe says this is optional, but I believe it’s a must)
1. Whisk the flour, cocoa and salt together.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and smooth. Gradually add the sugar and keep beating, scraping the bowl as needed, until the mixture is creamy, but not airy. Mix in the vanilla.
3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture, little by little, making sure the ingredients are well-incorporated. Then, stir in the chopped chocolate.
4. Scrape the dough onto a cutting board and divide in half. Roll each piece into a log, then wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill for at least three hours.
5. Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
6. Slice the logs into 1/2-inch thick cookies. Arrange them on the baking sheets, leaving a good amount of space between the rounds.
7. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Then transfer the cookies to racks to cool to room temperature.