Bubbly Beauty

Bubbly

 

“Tease me,” she thinks. All bottled up, her curves hug restraints as she rests supine at an odd angle. Her well-trained lover knows exactly what she needs and without an exchanged word he begins the ritual. His fingers caress her cool neck, letting her feel the strength of his knowing hands, his supple wrist. She understands she will be well cared for here.

And then he leaves her.

And she waits. She dreams of what is to come.

He returns and again touches her, adjusting her position to suit his will. Expectation begins to tingle beneath the surface of her skin. She yearns for one more touch but again he is gone.

He continues in this sensual but brutish manner. Stirring her slightly then letting her cool, leaving but always returning. She blisters inside; each tempting turn bringing her closer to some yet unknown bliss when finally she is unbraced.

Capable palms support her weight and carry her up out of the dark cellar into the light. On the edge of ecstasy, she can’t move and is content to rest in the embrace of one so strong. A group of strangers surround her, gleeful smiles of expectation on their faces. Crystal sparkles, rainbows are cast against cream walls, sumptuous smells linger in the air.

Now, in the middle of all this commotion, her lover’s hand caresses over her body, up her neck; his thumbs linger on her lip- she can’t take any more and BANG! … Sweet release.

The crowd cheers as her liquid electricity fizzes to the brim of their glasses. Ahhh, champagne. C’est manifique!

 

*Champagne is traditionally made by turning bottles of wine very slightly, at precise angles (usually 45 degrees) over a period of months. This, in part, is what allows the bubbles to form. For more on how bubbly is made, follow this link.

** To buy this vintage champagne poster follow this link.

At Davey’s for Afternoon Delight

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November plays its hand and surprisingly calls my wardrobe’s bluff. I stuff my puffy hooded coat back inside it and joyfully dance down 5 floors. I’m grateful for Mother Nature’s dementia today and eager to sport bare legs tucked into fuzzy boots down the street. My sweater dress is exposed for the first time to the autumnal sun that gilds the rooftops and northeast corners of the city I love, the neighborhood that stole my heart- The East Village.

I turn the corner to escape the season’s confusion and indulge myself with a new playmate. My heart races as I rush to my latest crush. He doesn’t know how smitten I am as I attempt some semblance of self-control but happen to pass by his place several times a day. It’s not stalking, it’s infatuation.  I compose myself and try not to run the last few steps to his door. I greet my new neighbor Davey. A “man” for me, Davey (more accurately Davey’s Ice Cream) is magical, making homemade ice cream, homemade sorbet, homemade salty caramel sauce and hot fudge, homemade brownies… you get the gist. The adorable young woman standing behind the wooden counter lets me know that everything is made there from SCRATCH. The phrase is apropos considering the chocolate ice cream transports me to moments in which I might run my nails less than lightly down the back of some ecstasy monger.

As this is a nearly religious moment, I should confess to you- this is not my first time at Davey’s. I’ve been here before to try the sweet corn ice cream (gone for the season), pistachio, Mexican vanilla bean, and coffee ice cream. The flavors are clean, pure send-ups of their names. The roasted pistachio offers a sweeter and creamier alternative to an afternoon of prying open shells and the vanilla elicits wonder at why other vanillas are just not as good. A taste of each selection is offered and I would be remiss to deny my taste buds the full gamut of flavors before ordering. Though I’ve never had coffee ice cream so much like a cup of joe as I have tasted here, nothing compares to the chocolate chocolate ice cream- my reason for repeat visits… and possibly living.

I cannot keep myself from fantasizing about a double-scooped brownie sundae topped with salty caramel, whipped cream, peanuts, and the wonted maraschino cherry.  My thoughts are out of my mouth before I can stop them and satisfaction struts my way.

As the sun exits the sky and takes the random warmness of the day with it I notice their sign for thick homemade hot chocolate made with 61% extra dark chocolate…  Fine, twist my arm, I’ll come back later.

Desperate… for Dinner

WP_20131031_15_33_01_Pro20131031153441I grab a knife in a fit of desperation. The heavy metal in my hand is sobering.  Bumps on the grip stabilize the sweaty hold but the flash of light off blade meets the glint in my eye and I know there is no turning back- I don’t want to.

With held breath and sharp focus- I sneak up silently, sidling in sinister glee to observe my prey. Unaware, she sits in her homemade paper costume, blissfully ignorant of what perils are in store on this Halloween day. Muahahahahah.

Her friend spies me. She vegetates beside her, all eyes.  And now the two are struck still in trepidation; they don’t move. A gruesome grin spreads across my face as I reach out and take my target hostage. She is silent. As I lay her down on the wooden alter she says nothing and nothing still as I slice into her… but I cry. I can’t help it. I try to go on with my surgery but must step away. Washing my hands of their deeds offers momentary relief but as I return to her – I can barely look in her direction for my eyes well with tears again.

I must get rid of the evidence. Gathering her together I throw her into a cauldron of shimmering oil, where she finally finds a voice- hissing and squealing. I can’t stand it. I turn down the heat and place a lid over the carnage, I can’t think with the noise.

What to do next…

I turn back to my knife- yes. Now that I have a taste for killing I can’t stop.  I spy my next victim. He is round and plump and blank.  Accompanied by grotesquely smiling siblings, it is easy to separate him from this patch of bumpkins. Once he’s in my custody, I bathe him and dry him and coax him towards the alter. Then I hold my knife high and plunge it down. One stab, two, seven and the youngster is decapitated. I plunge my hands into his body cavity- removing his insides in slimy handfuls.

Ugh- I’m even grossing myself out here with this metaphor…. See the recipe below for a real Halloween treat!

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Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s recipe in Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes From My Home to Yours found on epicurious.com

Extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion thinly sliced
1 teaspoon brown sugar (dark or light)
1 small sugar pumpkin with stem, 3-5 pounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ loaf of country, crusty bread, cut into 1” cubes, stale or dried in a low oven
1/4 -1/2 lb mixed cheeses, cut into ½” cubes (I recommend a smoky cheese with something mellow and maybe nutty) gouda, emmenthal, gruyere, cheddar are all great
2–4 garlic cloves, chopped  and/or 1 whole head of roasted garlic *See note
4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme, divided
About 1/3 cup heavy cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

To caramelize onions, drizzle olive oil in a large frying pan and heat over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot but not smoking add onions and stir with a wooden spoon. Add 2 teaspoons of the chopped fresh thyme and reduce heat to low. Cover the pan and allow to cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle sugar over onions, stir, replace lid. Continue to cook stirring every once in a while for 30-45 minutes, until onions are caramelized. Once dark and soft and sweet, remove onions from heat and set aside.

Place racks in oven low enough so that the whole pumpkin on a baking sheet will fit inside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut a hole around the stem at an angle, as you would a jack-o-lantern. This opening should be large enough to fit your fist comfortably through.  Remove the seeds and set aside. Scrape the pumpkin clear of strings then season the inside with salt and pepper. Cut any dangling strings from the lid. Place pumpkin on a lipped baking sheet or in a casserole to serve at the table. Sometimes the pumpkin can be difficult to move to servingware after baking.

In a medium bowl mix together bread cubes, cheese cubes, onion, chopped fresh garlic, the rest of the thyme and nutmeg. Fill pumpkin with the stuffing until nearly full then drizzle cream over the filling until it is moist. Replace the lid and place the whole thing in the oven. Bake for about 90 minutes to 2 hours until the pumpkin flesh is tender.

Slice pumpkin and dressing into slices and serve.

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* Pumpkin seeds may be rinsed, dried, lishtly oiled, salted and roasted on a cookie sheet on the rack below pumpkin for about 15-20 minutes while the pumpkin bakes. Stir seeds half way through baking for evenness.

** A whole head of garlic may be wrapped in foil and roasted for an hour of bake time to be served along side the pumpkin in addition or instead of the chopped garlic added to the stuffing.

Bottled Up

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Frustrated on the phone in response to false advertisement and customer service that can do nothing to solve my problem, I find myself in tears, gnashing my teeth and ready to strike at whoever crosses my path. My skin feels raw from betrayal and the slapping wind outside.  I wish for the hiss of the radiator to return.

It’s well into fall now and everything feels older. The crispness that freshened the air a few weeks ago is now colder. Relationships are stressed with growing pains. Making outrageously overpriced holiday travel plans remind me that the year is nearly done. I wonder where it went, how I spent my time, how I spent my money… did it all go to air travel?  Another twelve-pack of months nearly empty and I recline in my drunken stupor wondering at my position in the swirling fall of leaves. I sit and seethe.

To soothe my soul I yearn to create and open the refrigerator door to see what I can possibly do with my vim and vinegar. Bitterness, so often neglected, is perfect for preservation.

I volunteer the always-philanthropic masons from their shelves to sterilize and wait their fate before bringing anger, pettiness, resentment and regret to boiling. Keeping my mixture steaming and bubbling it almost overflows with animosity before I pepper it with insults. Heatedly I dish it out until nothing is left. Then, put a lid on it. Bottle it up. Save it for another day. Allow the feelings to steep and fester and cool, though I know some day soon a crisp biting comment will make its way to the surface.

In the dark and cold sour servings wait to resurface later. Later.

 

***Need somewhere to store your resentment? Sock it in these spicy radish pickles (no cooking required for these but you can shake the blank out of them!)***

Self Loafing

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Warm. Undercover. Resting. Limbs intertwine, thrown over or under one another in some intricate brioche braid, motionless. We are doughy in our sleep. An hour we lay still, soft, breathing, sticking to one another, until the heat is too much and an elbow punches down the night’s work and we knead ourselves into another position. Leg between leg between leg, pelvis stacked back to front motionlessly grinding, fingers nestling in the nadirs between ribs we rest another hour before some alarm will raise us from sleep to begin our baking in the morning sun.

As I loaf in the dark, comfy in my half sleep, I wonder at the inner life of dough. So quickly it matures from its nascent stages. Living yeast- miniscule and barely noticeable- is ready for action. Warm water and sugar transform the genetic material into a body growing and changing with every added handful of flour. This new, ungainly body is so kneady.  It is pushed and pulled and stretched, offering little complaint, at times becoming attached, but always moving onward, smoothing itself with every push forward. And then it rests. And slowly it begins to rise, filling with hot air and self-importance. It absorbs, breathes, and creeps up and out, expanding until too big for its britches it is punched down, deflated. Having learned its lesson it begins the process again, not quite at square one again it breathes in and starts growing back, bulking up… stronger this time.

I lay supine, waiting for something, a punch, a pry, a braid… the sun. I am nudged and rolled to my side. Unmoving, I wonder at my own resiliency. My moisturizing cream is failing to take away the line arched above my right brow. Even now I can feel my muscle indefinitely suspended there, cementing the crease. I imagine my inbox empty of responses to resume submissions but wonder if today will be the day my emails elude the black hole of cyber space.  I consider my sometimes-neglected blogging duties- can I maintain consistency and earn the trust of foodies and sensualists alike?  Can I aspire to be bread? Hearty, substantial, sweet, and alluring? Or will I fail to guild my accomplishments and languish in doughy sloth?

Sleepy fingers twitch on my flesh; a soft knead, a prod, pushing me towards my waking dreams.

Post 69

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Positioning is of paramount importance. Fingers caress thighs lightly as excitement builds. We are both so into this, this sultry exploration of mouths and muscles. Slight sips and little licks precede heads knocking back and diving right in. There is no half way here. Salty and slick, the sexy little sucker slips past my lips to play with my tongue before sliding down my throat. My lover’s mouth is equally engaged and our simultaneous moans augment each other’s delight. Eyes close, I breathe through my nose and welcome in the scent of sea and my desire increases.

Eyes open, mouth empty, I crane my neck to look at my date, he too is in his own world but must feel my gaze upon him as he returns my stare, smiles and asks, “So good, right?” I agree. There’s nothing like feasting on oysters in a month inclusive of R. As soon as April’s showers end I begin waiting out the sweat of summer before I can again indulge myself with the intoxicating invertebrate. Perhaps with oyster farming there is less seasonality of the seafood crop, but there is something to be said for continuing tradition. Wearing white waxes and wanes with opposite availability of the mollusk mouthful and this temporary separation keeps passion fresh.

My man and I clink glasses. Martinis swirl and tip toward mouths. We each raise a shell brimming with liquor and repeat the ritual. Cool liquid pools past my teeth, priming the path for the soft and silken snack. Lip corners turn upright at acute angles. We toast his birthday again. He gives me a toothy grin but his brow furrows; getting older is still something to be celebrated, right? I cringe at the thought of my next circle round the sun and I bury my cold nose into the sand of his cheek. At the very least it is an excuse to binge on bivalves.

We slurp and suck and smile at each other. Ahhhh, there’s nothing better than mutual oral satisfaction.

 

Image taken from here.

Wrong and Right Angles

Wrong and Right AnglesThe warm yoga class is as cool as it is going to get on this 90-degree day.  I wriggle through a still and unusually disorganized class. On any given day mats are aligned in straight rows and columns; for some reason this afternoon a scatter plot has displaced the normal grid. I find myself tucked into the front in one of two horizontal spaces beside the small staged area.

I swallow my uncertainty at this new location and breathe myself into child’s pose, dismissing my dismay at separation from my friend and post-meditative-exercise to-do list. As the collective inhales into mountain pose I find myself in direct eye lock with another displaced yogi. He seems comfortable in this position. His cool blue eyes calm my doubt but raise other distractive concerns.

I shut my windows to the world and submit to a dark and solitary practice, fluttering my eyelashes open every now and again to ensure balance. Each peek at the world embarrassingly plugs into the ocular sea before me. Our instructor mutters words, guiding us pose by pose, but my real teacher stands before me silent, shirt off, tanned and rippled with tone. His actions mirror mine, save for its absolute perfection. I cannot help but watch as he bends deeper, rolls more smoothly, and poses with precise poise before those blue beacons beam at me again.

The heat is palpable and with four feet between us I can feel his breath steaming. Our limbs don’t touch but bend and curl and wrap around each other. Space is just a limitation in our minds.  My fingers explore the forest of his hair, the stubble mossing his face, the waterfall of sweat trickling down over his pectoral boulders in the unrelenting heat of this urban jungle. I close my eyes again and feel the tips of my fingers buzzing with the memory of their explorations. We twist away and come back to each other. He smiles and I blush. I am grateful for already being red with heat and exertion; my embarassment might not be detectible. We twist away once more and I feel guilty for not having returned the smile.

Spent, separate, and supine on the floor, I send him white light from my heart and thanks for his tutelage. The singing bowl rings and all thoughts drift away. The ache in my hips releases, the heat dissipates, wetness drifts and cools in the dim studio. The geometry of the space continues to change as pupils rise and abandon their positions. A few moments pass before I am up bowing with gratitude and retreating towards the light in the hall.  I look back at the emptied studio now alive with peaceful energy and devoid of any physical shapes at all.

 

Photo taken from sosighworthy.tumblr.com