Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Autumn Leaves (happy solstice)

Tonight I just picked up the horn and stayed
out of the way, letting the chromosomes
sing their song for once.

They played Autumn Leaves,
a tune I would never
play on a snowy evening
though it's a nice tune in summer.

Why that song when the tree's flurry
lies under the sky's pale foliage?
Perhaps they feel the hand of winter
curling at their throat and harken
back to when death was just beginning.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Panettone recipe

Rebecca, Ludwig came through for me! Wow. I left the loaves on the fridge over night and they rose a reasonable amount. Baked them this morning and they're not half bad. Perhaps not quite as light and fluffy as panettone should be, but definitely moist and unmistakably panettone. I'm going to try again this week, making sure to let the butter cool to room temperature this time. Also, it occurs to me that I used salted butter. I know that salt is toxic to yeast, so maybe that was the problem.

Here's the recipe for anyone interested (from Breads by Sharon Tyler Herbst)


3 packages yeast
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup warm water
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (use the real stuff)
2 tsp freshly grated orange zest
2 tsp anise seeds (I'm leaving them out next time, though it was still good with them in)
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts or almonds (leaving these out next time too)
1/3 cup finely chopped citron (candied lemon peel)
1/3 cup dark rasins
1/3 cup golden rasins
eggwhite mixed w/ water for glaze

Disolve yeast and 1 tsp of the honey in the warm water, let stand till foamy. Add remaining honey, egg yolks, butter, salt, vanilla, orange zest, anise seeds, and 1 1/2 to 2 cups of the flour. Beat at medium speed w/ electric mixer 2 minutes (or beat 200 vigorous strokes by hand). Stir in nuts, citron, rasins and enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in bulk (about 2 hours). Punch down dough, knead for 30 seconds, divide in half and shape into balls. Place in baking containers (Herbst stuggests 1 lb coffee cans or 1 qt souflé dishes, but I put the balls on a baking sheet and they seemed fine, though they won't have that tall columnar shape to them). Cover with damp cloth and let rise until doubled in bulk, about an hour. Brush tops of loaves with egg-white glaze, Bake 35 to 40 mintues.

Buen appetito!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

day off

and whats the first thing s. and i do... go skiing, of course. after that, we started making perhaps the worlds ultimate comfort food-- panettone. the problem is, the dough smells so good that ive had to ask s. to tie my hands behind my back so it makes it to the oven. and im typing this post with my nose, channeling e.e. cummings.

other than panettone, my life is a neverending litany of work, sleep--with visions of imacs dancing in my head--rehearsals, concerts, beer after concerts, and no time to write except now, waiting for the panettone to rise. where is the poetry in all this...

life will be more fulfilling with an imac, im sure of it...

Sunday, December 05, 2004

The Birds of Florence

white monolith waits
noontime glare
hammer and chisel
David waits
weaverfinches bathe in dust
Michelangelo waits

marble white murmurs
long sunset
David whispers
goldfinches gather in pine
Michelangelo listens

marble monolith wakes
David awaits
blackbirds sing to rising sun
Michelangelo awakens

Saturday, December 04, 2004


EDDIE: You look different ... More relaxed.
SARAH: It's the lights. And the scotch.
EDDIE: How come you didn't catch your bus?
SARAH: I wasn't waiting for a bus.
EDDIE: Then why go to the bus station?
SARAH: Same reason you went: at that hour of the morning you haven't much choice. Besides, I only live three blocks from there. Where do you live?
EDDIE: Around.
SARAH: I know where you live: in a locker, in a bus station. What's it like living in a locker?
EDDIE: Cramped. (she smiles) You always drink like this, so early in the morning?
SARAH: Do you always ask so many questions?
EDDIE: No, not always.
SARAH: Sometimes I wake up and I can't sleep, not without a drink. The bars don't open until eight. Mack over there has faith in me. When I'm broke, he trusts me. Don't you trust me, Mack?
SARAH: When I'm not broke, I usually have a bottle in my room, in which case I sleep very well indeed.
EDDIE: You talk kind of funny, but I like it.
SARAH: I used to be an actress.
EDDIE: Yeah? What do you do now?
SARAH: I'm a college girl. Two days a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, I go to college.
EDDIE: You don't look like a college girl.
SARAH: I'm the emancipated type. Real emancipated.
EDDIE: No, I didn't mean that -- whatever that means. I mean, you just don't look young enough.
SARAH: I'm not.
EDDIE: So why go to college?
SARAH: I've got nothing else to do on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
EDDIE: What do you do on the other days?
SARAH: I drink.
EDDIE: (to the bartender) Hey!
SARAH: No. No more. I'm getting sleepy. (puts a scarf around her head) Thank you very much, Mr... ?
EDDIE: Eddie. The name is Eddie.
SARAH: (studies his face) The name should be Eddie. What should my name be?
EDDIE: I don't know. Whatever you like it to be.
SARAH: I like it to be what it is. It's Sarah. That's a biblical name. You want to know its meaning?
EDDIE: I could always get us a bottle.
SARAH: (a little alarmed) No.
EDDIE: Fifth of scotch?
SARAH: What do you want me to do, just step out in the alley? Is that it?
EDDIE: No. I'll take you home.
(There is a long pause as she tries to read his face.)
SARAH: All right.
(Eddie finishes his drink, rises, crosses to the bar, pays the bill, and returns to the booth. As they go out, Sarah stumbles, and he catches her by the arm.)
SARAH: It's all right. (smiling) I'm not drunk ... (serious) I'm lame.

white monolith waits
noontime glare
hammer and chisel
David waits
weaverfinches bathe in dust
Michelangelo waits

Hope for the future

The Isaac concert last Wednesday was sublime. I still have trouble believing that students (mere babies, really) can sing that well. Doug was very pleased and says he wants to try to record it in the new year. It would be neat to find some way to distribute it, especially since this particular mass probably hasn't ever been recorded. I also hope someone has told these kids how lucky they are to sing in such an advanced group at school. And to think most of them are 1st years--freshmen and women indeed. The next four years should be fun.

I was considering posting my last Spanish composition here, but I don't want to drive away the few readers I have.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

A great Canadian...

It's a measure of how fondly Pierre Berton was held in the hearts of Canadians that on the day of George W. Bush's first (!) official visit to Canada, the CBC evening news led not only with Berton's death, but opened with about 10 minutes of coverage and tributes. If you read only one book on the North, read The Arctic Grail--one of 50 books this incredibly prolific writer produced during his 84 years.