Yesterday, I mentioned the fact that my absence from blogging while in New York stemmed from two different reasons; today, I approach the second: France itself.
This trip back to New York was probably the best in years. I felt at home again, and whether that’s because I actually lived there last year, because I was working like a fiend instead of vacationing (which, if you know me, you know I hate: idleness doesn’t bode well for us Type As), or because I was finally getting along with all members of my family without even minimal strife… the reason behind the feeling is moot. The point is, I have two homes; I probably always will… but there’s something about Paris.
When I left France, I kept this picture of clafoutis that I made for a dinner party with the Australian and the American Proust Fan two days before my departure up for days, waiting for the inspiration of a story that would accompany it, but inspiration never came. It took two seconds on the Paris métro for it to arrive: a blind man and his dog, a boy offering the strapontin next to him for several moments before realizing he was being ignored and letting the flip-down seat rise with a snap… and suddenly, I was rummaging through my bag for a pen and the Moleskine that The Childhood Best Friend gave me for my 24th birthday a few weeks ago.
I have to understand, I think, that I’m not the same person in France and in America. I’m a bit more productive Stateside, rolling out of bed and directly onto my Gmail account, before the coffee is even done brewing, to check my e-mails and start planning out my projects for the day. But France is better for my writing… there’s something in the air here that breeds creativity, at least for me.
This time around, I had a harder time snapping back into my French self; memories of New York, of long talks with my Dad, of apéro with my Mom, of those moments amongst the four of us kids that I never would have thought possible, hanging on counters in the kitchen, just talking, like equals… all of these and more were still clouding my perception yesterday when I made it to the Country Boy’s country home, where we’ll stay for a day before making the long drive down to Paziols. Today, I’m back; I can feel it… but I know that New York me is just biding her time beneath the surface, waiting for the next seaside landing on the JFK jetway to re-emerge.
Until then, may you take advantage of the season’s cherries, and make clafoutis.
Cherry Clafoutis (adapted from Chez LouLou’s recipe for apricot clafoutis)
12 ounces fresh cherries, washed and stemmed
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sifted flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter, cut into 6 pieces
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F.
Butter and lightly flour a 9½ inch round tart pan or baking dish with deep sides.
Place the cherries in the tart pan.
Combine the flour and the salt in a large bowl and whisk together.
Add 1 cup of the milk and whisk until completely smooth, then add the eggs, one by one, whisking briefly after each addition.
Whisk in the vanilla sugar, the vanilla extract and the remaining 1 cup of milk.
Pour the batter over the cherries and dot with the butter pieces.
Place in the center of the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.
Let cool completely before serving,