May 31, 2008

From Fellini's Lost Photo Album

I call them found photographs, as in "found objects."

I went to check out the Vintage Paper Fair in Glendale. Most of the fare, especially the postcards, were pricey compared to what they usually are in antique stores. However I found one stall where there were boxes and boxes of photographs, almost all snapshots, for $ 1.- each. Perhaps not the cheapest, but fair. I must have spent at least an hour looking through them, and only saw a fragment.

The above photo was my best find. The woman in the busy floral blouse leaning in from the side, eagerly looking into the camera and trying to nudge her child do the same, but he is looking out of the frame, while two people in the background are apparently discussing shrubbery. It is an absolute masterpiece. Something about this photo reminds me of the films of Fellini, or even more, Woody Allen's homage to Fellini, Stardust Memories.

May 18, 2008

Perfect Cheesecake

The problem with most cheesecakes is that they are heavy and dense. Not this one. This is a Tyler Florence recipe that I found on the Food Network website, which despite its recent Rachel Ray infestation is still a good source of recipes. I made slight changes only, my approach is a bit more hands on. In my opinion you shouldn't be afraid to get your hands dirty in the kitchen.

  • 2 cups finely ground graham crackers
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 poound cream cheese, 2 (8 oz) blocks, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 16 oz sourcream
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Crust first. Preheat oven to 325˚ F. Combine crust ingredients till evenly moist. Easiest to do by hand. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of an 8" springform pan (or pie pan - see bellow) nonstick cooking spray or butter. Pour the crumbs into the pan and by hand press them on the bottom and 1" up the sides. Refrigerate for 5 minutes.

Make the filling next. In a large bowl with a wooden spatula mix the cream cheese till it's smooth and creamy, for about a minute. Add the eggs one a time, switch to an electric mixer and beat slowly till combined. Gradually add sugar and beat again till smooth. Add sour cream, lemon zest, vanilla. Mix it well, but make sure it's not over-beaten. Do not forget to periodically scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Pour the filling into crust.

Set the pan on a large piece of aluminum foil and fold up the sides around it. The foil must be the extra large variety, regular size will lead to disaster. Place the pan in a large roasting pan and pour boiling water into the roasting pan untill the water is about half way up the sides of the cake pan, but bellow the foil edge. The foil must keep the water out. Alternately you can be lazy like me and skip all this trouble and use a regular pie pan. Bake for 45 minutes. When taking it out of the oven it will be still very jiggly. Resist the urge to cook it longer, it will solidify as it cools. Cool in the pan at room temperature for 30 minutes, then chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

May 10, 2008

Random Old Photo # 2

It's rare to find old photos of working class people in their work attire. Somebody hated the guy on the right enough to scratch his eyes out.

May 1, 2008

Happy Mayday!

If I remember correctly, I picked up this postcard in used bookstore in Budapest.