Ginger cookies with white chocolate-cassis glaze

Ginger cookies with white chocolate glaze

It has come to our attention, Here at The Ordinary, that there are, literally, a gazillion food blogs in the world. This is a precise number, tabulated in our statistics division. A gazillion. When the field is saturated to such a degree, questions of sustainability arise. In order to “stand out from the crowd,” we have decided to rebrand ourselves. A careful review of the trending of recent posts out of The Ordinary, suggests that “the time is now” for a blog devoted entirely to the analysis of bird gestures. Henceforth, we will conduct a definitive exploration of birdy gestures, from both the scientifical and the poetical angles. If any bird in the tri-state area (any tri-state area!) should snap a beak, pump a tail, flap a wing or move so much as a feather…we will be there. We will head out into the field to become leaders of the field. We will provide in-depth-studies, detailed technical drawings, DIY guides, celebrity interviews, step-by-step instructions, virtual 3-D models, and printable paper cutouts.

I’m joking, of course! Rest assured we will still be firing a recipe at you (almost) each and every day! In the meantime, though, I have been thinking about birds a lot lately. Some time ago, I compiled a list in my head of my favorite bird related movies, birds and movies seem so perfect together – a movie is about capturing light and shadow and movement, and a bird’s whole life seems to be beautifully made of those things! I’d like to share my top four with you now. So, here we go, yo…

Le Poulet, Claude Berri’s ridiculously beautiful short film about a boy and his rooster. It’s joyful and simple, but it’s also incredibly thoughtful – it makes you think! It makes you think, specifically, about how it is harder to be cruel to somebody that you know, that has a name, than to a generic, unknown being. Once somebody (be they chicken or otherwise) goes from being a random, unnamed individual to being a friend – you have to treat them differently.

In Le Samourai, Alain Delon’s pet bird is, oddly, the most endearing character in the film. The title character is so cold and mechanical, he’d be a lesser man without this bird, who seems to represent his soul. I honestly felt more anxious about the bird than any of the other characters.

Ghost Dog. Inspired by Le Samurai. I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll mention it again. Ghost Dog’s pigeons…his home is in their coup, he’s closer to them than any human, and they’re his only contact with people. Beautiful, fragile, and accompanied by some of the best movie music ever.

Kes is surely one of the most beautiful saddest movies ever. The bird is his refuge and his friend. I can’t even watch the trailer without getting weepy!

What are some of your favorite bird-related film scenes?

And your recipe for the day is ginger cookies with a white chocolate cassis glaze. I had a small amount of white chocolate chips left in the cupboard, and I wanted to bake something with them. I thought to myself…white chocolate is very sweet, let’s combine it with something with some bite – ginger! These aren’t like ginger snaps, though…they’re pale and simple, and quite elegant. I decided to mix a bit of cassis in with the white chocolate, because I thought its tartness would be pleasant with the spiciness and the sweetness. You could leave it out, or add the liquor of your choice. Rum goes nicely with ginger! So does orange! The flavors are very nice together. Strangely lemony, despite the fact that there’s no lemon!

Here’s Patti Smith’s remarkably ecstatic birdland
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Coconut cake with blackberry mousse

Coconut cake with blackberry mousse

I work in a restaurant that has a candy dispenser. If I have two quarters left over at the end of the day, I’ll sometimes bring home small cups of candy to my boys. Twenty-five cents worth a piece. I always bring M&Ms to my little one, and skittles to my older son. It seems funny that their love for fruity or chocolate-y candy has become a defining characteristic for them. One small way to be their own boy. And an easy way to divide the spoils come Halloween or Easter! I made a cake for my brother and father the other day (they both have February birthdays). I know they like chocolate (who doesn’t?) but I always think of them as falling towards the fruity end of the sweet spectrum. So…flush from my success with the chocolate drambuie mousse, I decided to make them a coconut cake with blackberry mousse in between the layers. This being February, when raspberries and blackberries seem to cost about $10 a piece, I used blackberry jam instead of fresh fruit. (Honestly, if you have fresh raspberries, don’t you just eat them? Exactly as they are?) The mousse is actually a white chocolate blackberry mousse, because I didn’t want to use gelatin, and I thought the chocolate would help to make the mousse more substantial, once it un-melted. It isn’t a difficult cake to make, but the assembly process does have a few messy-fun steps.

Here’s Doc Watson’s Blackberry Rag.
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Cardamom coconut brownies with white chocolate.

cardamom coconut blondies

A few weeks ago I was reading about Indian sweetmeats, as one does, and I thought, “These would make great cakes!” Not that they weren’t perfect in their original forms, I’m sure, just that some of the flavor combinations, and some of the interesting techniques seemed so inspiring to me, so full of possibilities. One in particular, a kind of fudge, with cardamom and coconut, became stuck in my craw as a perfect combination. Time passed, and the combination of cardamom and coconut haunted me…but I really felt that I wanted to make something with a different texture – not light and crumbly like a cake, but dense and tender, like the fudge that had inspired me. And then the whole thing with the brownies happened (I made 2 trays in 2 days…) And then it hit me!! These should be brownies!! But really blondies, because they wouldn’t have any cocoa in them! And they should have white chocolate chips, because brownies are required to have chocolate chips, but I liked the idea of all the wintery white colors in these. Before the last brownie was eaten, I got to work. And, let me tell you, these are the most ridiculously tasty, tender inside, crispy outside blondies I have ever eaten!!

Here’s Jole Blon by Harry Choates
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