Bonjour, mes amis!

It’s rather gray and damp today–A typical April day. I’m beginning to understand why T. S. Eliot starts off The Waste Land with the words “April is the cruellest month.” Random aside, T. S. Eliot is my favorite poet, and “The Hollow Men” my favorite of his poems. For awhile, back when I was still writing crappy poetry as an angsty teenager, I tried to emulate his style. Obviously, that didn’t really work. I think I’m better at prose.

But I’ve not come to discuss old, dead poets (although having said that, I really want to dig out “Dead Poets Society” and watch that this afternoon). I’m actually debating on whether or not I want to go and sort laundry and get that out of the way today. I probably will, just so I don’t have to deal with it tomorrow, especially since we’re probably going to Sunday dinner with Jay’s folks. Trying to get laundry done always makes the whole day seem frantic & rushed, when I’d really rather just relax.

I went running this morning, which I’m glad I did, since about 30 minutes after I came home, it started sprinkling. I should just suck it up one morning and get out there in the rain–After all, if I do get to the point where I DO run a 5K, what am I going to do if rains on race day? Eat my registration fee & refuse to take part? When I got back to the house, I decided to tackle one of the recipes from Diana’s evil chocolate cookbook I’m holding hostage protecting from Lake Poinsett’s rising waters. Mini Pain au Chocolat (I suppose correct French would be Petits Pains au Chocolat). But first, I had to make the coffee. I’m finding that once again, if I work out in the mornings, I really don’t need the perk from coffee, but I drink a cup or so anyway, just because I loathe caffeine headaches later in the day. I made myself some bastardized café au lait, then got to work on pains au chocolat.

It somewhat cracks me up that while the bulk of my ancestry is German & English (at least from what I’ve been able to track through my genealogical adventures), there’s some Dutch (actually more than I ever expected), and a whole lotta French. My maiden name (now mine & the bambino’s middle names) is French. My sister Kendra traced the family tree back to France (by way of New York and Canada), although that’s about as far as she got. My dad, for some reason that no one’s ever been able to pinpoint, hates the fact that he carries French blood in his veins. Actually, we like to tease him about the fact that he’s just a misanthrope and hates everyone, and we occasionally refer to him as the Equal Opportunity Offender, just because he makes fun of EVERYONE. Why do I bring this up? Because as long as I’ve been alive, I’ve been proud of my French ancestry, even though it’s meant 35 years of having to patiently spell out or repeat the pronunciation of my last name (until I got married, anyway), or (due to the spelling) earning the nickname “Elmer” in 6th grade. And occasionally, I like to make French dishes, and feel a little like I’m getting back to my roots. As a matter of fact, it was after I stumbled upon French Revolution Food that I started shifting my old blog towards food, and eventually made the switch to the current incarnation of this here blog.

This recipe calls for 3 ingredients: 2 store-bought pie crusts, a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, and granulated sugar. Unless you plan on putting a LOT of chocolate in this, you probably could get by with just 1/2 a cup of chocolate chips. All you do is sprinkle the sugar on a cutting board, then unroll one of the crusts over top. Sprinkle that with sugar, then cut into a square, then 8 pieces, like so:

Add a teaspoon of chocolate chips at a short end of one of the rectangles, then roll up & place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Repeat with the 2nd crust, then bake for 14 minutes at 400°F. Let cool for 10 minutes, then eat.

Or have some Jedis come over to inspect. And yes, I know Chewbacca is not a Jedi. He just happened to be hanging out with Mace Windu, and wanted a peek at the baked goods.

I have to confess, I was a little disappointed in this recipe, not because of the recipe itself, but because of the pie crust. I’d debating on just making my own, because I’ve always had bad luck with store-bought pie crusts, and homemade ones are almost always SO much flakier and tastier. But I erred this time on the side of convenience, which I don’t think I’ll be doing again. I don’t know what it was about the crust, but it just tasted…Almost like stale glue or something. I can’t really pinpoint what it was I didn’t like about it, but I was already thinking that if I decide to make this again, I’m either making my own crust, or I’m buying some puff pastry and using it.

In the mean time, I’m making a simple convenience lunch of the remaining chicken patties I bought for the bambino the other night, and some chips or something for the side. And listening to the buzzing of chainsaws out my back window:

My guess is that Dutch Elm disease struck the tree there. The City of Brookings is rabid about controlling Dutch Elm disease, which makes me paranoid as heck because we have one lone tree in our front yard, and I don’t really want to have to pay to get it removed. If it’s going to strike any of our trees, I’d prefer it to hit the tree on our boulevard, which makes it the city’s responsibility. Of course, I could be completely mistaken, and maybe the property owner just felt like taking that tree down or really needs a bunch of wood chips.

And with that, my chicken patty is calling me. Au revoir!