Posts Tagged 'night'

Pipe Dream #130: To Savor a Rich Evening – Bumble Berry Napoleons

This dessert came to me at a well-timed moment. It was one of those rare, glowing summer evenings.

Picture it! It’s a balmy July dusk; the sun is nearly below the horizon. You’ve just had a meal full of grill marks and witty conversation. You’re not wearing any blue clothing, so there are no mosquitoes pestering you (double bonus). As you pour yourself a glass of sweet red wine by the fire, a delightful concoction of flaky pastry, jumbled berries and creamy filling is presented. The flavors and textures contrast and meld together in a  creamy symphony of flavor, fulfilling all of your wildest dreams about how life should be.

It was ideal. But because nights like these are few and far between, I do my utmost to appreciate them to the full.

Thus, this dessert has stuck with me. This is the reincarnated version of the dessert my mum made a few years ago. Frozen puff pastry makes it easy-schmeasy. Because we were feeding a crowd, we cut the pastry into 12 parts, rather than six. It went further, and really, it was a better portion size than the original recipe suggests, I think. Unless you are feeding tha men. Size at your discretion. We also used cream cheese this time around, because I was too lazy to run to the store and get mascarpone. It was still, great, but hey, if you wanna be cheesy and elegant, you go for it, man.

P.S. I hope I haven’t been overwhelming you with berries. I mean, there was The Trifle, not to mention the various lessons in fake frugality I have been obligated to share, all of which include berries, fresh or otherwise. I think this speaks to the fact that I have been somewhat overwhelmed with berries this summer. Not that I’m complaining. These bright bulbs of goodness are in season, after all.

Enjoy these Havana nightttts,


Bumble Berry Napoleons

Adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine

1 sheet  frozen puff pastry, thawed and cut into 6 equal rectangles (or 12)
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh raspberries
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons ruby port
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup (4 ounces) Mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees . Arrange the puff pastry on a baking sheet and bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 5 minutes; split each piece into 2 layers.
In a large bowl, combine the berries. In a large, nonreactive skillet, combine 3 cups berries, 1/4 cup sugar, the lemon juice and port over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until cool.
Using an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream, mascarpone, vanilla and the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar until stiff, about 2 minutes. Fold in 3/4 cup berry compote.
Spread the remaining berry compote on the pastry bottoms. Top them with some berry cream, the remaining fresh berries and the pastry tops. Dollop with the remaining berry cream before serving.

Pipe Up! On Your Favorite Thing In This Wide World

If I ever tell you that I love you more than sparklers, you will know that you are loved a lot. Like Top 10 loved. And something else will probably be less loved, because sparklers are not being bumped out of the Top 10 Things I Love anytime soon.

Ok that’s pretty dramatic; I don’t actually have a list of Top 10 things I love, but I do adore those bursting fire balls that don’t hurt you when you stare into their fascinatingly changeable hearts and cause endless joyful wellings of laughter from my soul. I could go on, but I’ll spare you the rest of my heartfelt outbursts for later.

I had such a fun time messing around with the camera settings to capture the evening light, and I was so impressed by how sharp and interesting all the little sparks are! I didn’t even know my camera could work so well. Does anyone know why cameras can do this? Are they really just that fast? Is it something to do with how bright the sparks are? What is your favorite thing to capture?

Pleasantly puzzled,


Pipe Dream #52: To Not Be A Spaz In Front Of Famous People


Remember thou mine glorious shots of Rachel P? Well. There was so much more going on that night. I mean, it can’t be denied that Rachel was an integral part of the evening, but presumptuous carnies, mini donuts and old-school rides caught my attention as well. Plus Anthony, my dear friend. For years he worked at DQ and would bring me free sundaes. Come on people, that only happens in the movies. And my life.

Also, my beautiful friends!

Random, but do you want to hear another story that only happens in the movies and my life?

K good. So when I was a sophomore in college, Phoenix was coming to play First Avenue in Minneapolis. This was the tour for their album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, which is huge and awesome and jamming. Tickets sold out within the first few weeks on the market, so I was left to pathetically imagine the impressively catchy riffs and ethereal synth pop penetrating the inky blackness of the premier venue of the Cities.

Such was the effect of my pining that when a friend told me that Phoenix had agreed to play a small acoustic show at The Electric Fetus, I snatched up tickets without delay. Better than nothing, right? We went and it was fine. I think they were jet-lagged or something because they were all wearing scarves and dark circles, but it was fun because it was such a small show. Probably only fifty people. Anyway, so afterward, we all got to walk through a line and meet the band. Super nerve-wracking because they’re, like, famous, but I managed to keep my cool all the way through their smooth lines sung in darling French accents.

Until. Laurent. The last member of the band to greet me, we joked for five seconds about our names before…”So, are you coming to the show tonight?” I replied (read: stuttered) with regret that I had been unable to snag tickets.

And then Laurent pulled a little beat-up paper out of his pocket, grabbed a Sharpie and said, “Oh, that’s ok. I’ll just put you on The List…Yeah sure…Oh and here’s a plus one for your friend…Make sure you sing loud. I want you right up front.”

After they pulled me out of my faint (kidding), I mumbled a bit of thanks and smiled a dazzling smile and then ran outside to celebrate what is clearly the favor of God in my life. We went to the show. I walked up to the 300-pound, tattooed bouncer with a smoking beard (if I remember right), and said, “I’m on The List.” He gave The List a glance, made a slight nod, and I was in.

Basically the coolest I’ve ever been in my life. And the show was awesome. And this story is totally unrelated to this post. Just thought you should know.

Anthony posed obligingly for me after several eye rolls. What a man.

He also took a few shots for me in the process. For real, he does not shave his legs.

I was captivated by the lights. Everything seemed so sparkly and surreal. Like we were in this sparkly bubbly place and everyone else just didn’t really exist. I know. Another one of my better descriptions.

Fun. Merry-go-rounds are so nostalgic.

I love the brown tones in this shot.

Hello, sir. Wanna be on my blog? Ok stand still. Thanks. Ok, we’ll throw a few balls. Nope, no thank you. Bye.

Spontaneously enjoying planned civil events,


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