Friday, December 19, 2014

Midday Entree: French Country Apple Tart

The Music:
In Nativitatem Domini Canticum, H 416,
by Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Les Arts Florrissants, William Christie, conductor
Erato 85820
The Recipe:
Here's a sweet one from

"This large rustic tart has hints of anise, cinnamon and clove, spices that are also found in the noted honey cake of Burgundy, pain d'épice. The apples can be roasted one day ahead so that the tart can be baked early in the day on Christmas Eve."

You'll find all the particulars by clicking here, and please save a piece for us.

This week's recipes are underwritten by the Grosse Pointe Fresh Farms Market

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Midday Entree: Brie Cherry Pastry Cups

The Music:
The First Nowell, A Nativity Play by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Joyful Company Singers; City of London Sinfonia,
Richard Hickox, conductor
Chandos 10385
The Recipe:
The best recipes not only taste good, they're a lot easier to make than they look.

Using frozen puff pastry dough and some mini muffin cups to make these seductive appetizers, more than half the battle is won. Now you just fill them with some cherry preserves and brie, bake until the cheese melts and watch your guests make them disappear.

For the rest of the story, just click here.

This week's recipes are underwritten by the Grosse Pointe Fresh Farms Market

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Midday Entree: Italian Stuffed Turkey Breast

The Music:
Missa O Magnum Mysterium by Giovanni Palestrina
The Sixteen; Harry Christophers, director
CORO 16114
The Recipe:
For your holiday entertaining, here's a main course that's easy, elegant and delicious. How can you beat that?

The stuffing is a savory concoction of Italian sausage, prosciutto, chopped chestnuts and green olives. You can get it started by clicking here.

This week's recipes are underwritten by the Grosse Pointe Fresh Farms Market

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Beethoven We Almost Lost

In 1802 Ludwig van Beethoven was a young man who was working on only his second symphony. All his greatest work, all those other symphonies, Fidelio, the Missa Solemnis, the late quartets, were in his future, but only if he could conquer his depression and learn to cope with the onset of his deafness.

That same year he accepted a friend's offer to get some much needed rest at a cottage about an hour's carriage ride from Vienna. It was there he wrote to his brothers a remarkable letter that came to be known as the Heiligenstadt Testament.

For my brothers Carl and __________ Beethoven

O ye men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn or misanthropic, how greatly do ye wrong me, you do not know the secret causes of my seeming, from childhood my heart and mind were disposed to the gentle feelings of good will, I was even ever eager to accomplish great deeds, but reflect now that for six years I have been a hopeless case, aggravated by senseless physicians, cheated year after year in the hope of improvement, finally compelled to face the prospect of a lasting malady (whose cure will take years or, perhaps, be impossible), born with an ardent and lively temperament, even susceptible to the diversions of society, I was compelled early to isolate myself, to live in loneliness, when I at times tried to forget all this, O how harshly was I repulsed by the doubly sad experience of my bad hearing, and yet it was impossible for me to say to men speak louder, shout, for I am deaf.

Ah how could I possibly admit such an infirmity in the one sense which should have been more perfect in me than in others, a sense which I once possessed in highest perfection, a perfection such as few surely in my profession enjoy or have enjoyed - O I cannot do it, therefore forgive me when you see me draw back when I would gladly mingle with you, my misfortune is doubly painful because it must lead to my being misunderstood, for me there can be no recreations in society of my fellows, refined intercourse, mutual exchange of thought, only just as little as the greatest needs command may I mix with society.

I must live like an exile, if I approach near to people a hot terror seizes upon me, a fear that I may be subjected to the danger of letting my condition be observed - thus it has been during the past year which I spent in the country, commanded by my intelligent physician to spare my hearing as much as possible, in this almost meeting my natural disposition, although I sometimes ran counter to it yielding to my inclination for society, but what a humiliation when one stood beside me and heard a flute in the distance and I heard nothing, or someone heard the shepherd singing and again I heard nothing, such incidents brought me to the verge of despair, but little more and I would have put an end to my life - only art it was that withheld me, ah it seemed impossible to leave the world until I had produced all that I felt called upon me to produce, and so I endured this wretched existence - truly wretched, an excitable body which a sudden change can throw from the best into the worst state - Patience - it is said that I must now choose for my guide, I have done so, I hope my determination will remain firm to endure until it please the inexorable parcae to bread the thread, perhaps I shall get better, perhaps not, I am prepared.

Forced already in my 28th year to become a philosopher, O it is not easy, less easy for the artist than for anyone else - Divine One thou lookest into my inmost soul, thou knowest it, thou knowest that love of man and desire to do good live therein. O men, when some day you read these words, reflect that ye did me wrong and let the unfortunate one comfort himself and find one of his kind who despite all obstacles of nature yet did all that was in his power to be accepted among worthy artists and men. You my brothers Carl and [Johann] as soon as I am dead if Dr. Schmid is still alive ask him in my name to describe my malady and attach this document to the history of my illness so that so far as possible at least the world may become reconciled with me after my death.

At the same time I declare you two to be the heirs to my small fortune (if so it can be called), divide it fairly, bear with and help each other, what injury you have done me you know was long ago forgiven. to you brother Carl I give special thanks for the attachment you have displayed towards me of late. It is my wish that your lives be better and freer from care than I have had, recommend virtue to your children, it alone can give happiness, not money, I speak from experience, it was virtue that upheld me in misery, to it next to my art I owe the fact that I did not end my life with suicide.

Farewell and love each other - I thank all my friends, particularly Prince Lichnowsky and Professor Schmid - I desire that the instruments from Prince L. be preserved by one of you but let no quarrel result from this, so soon as they can serve you better purpose sell them, how glad will I be if I can still be helpful to you in my grave - with joy I hasten towards death - if it comes before I shall have had an opportunity to show all my artistic capacities it will still come too early for me despite my hard fate and I shall probably wish it had come later - but even then I am satisfied, will it not free me from my state of endless suffering? Come when thou will I shall meet thee bravely.

Farewell and do not wholly forget me when I am dead, I deserve this of you in having often in life thought of you how to make you happy, be so -

October 6,1802 Ludwig van Beethowen

For my brothers Carl and __________
to be read and executed after my death.

Heiligenstadt, October 10, 1802

Thus do I take my farewell of thee - and indeed sadly - yes that beloved hope - which I brought with me when I came here to be cured at least in a degree - I must wholly abandon, as the leaves of autumn fall and are withered so hope has been blighted, almost as I came - I go away - even the high courage - which often inspired me in the beautiful days of summer - has disappeared - O Providence - grant me at least but on e day of pure joy - it is so long since real joy echoed in my heart - O when - O when, O Divine One - shall I find it again in the temple of nature and of men - Never? no - O that would be too hard.

Happy birthday, Ludwig.

Midday Entree: Mama Beethoven's Meatloaf Surprise

The Music:
Mass in C major, Op. 86 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique,
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor
Archiv 435 391
The Recipe:
OK, so maybe this isn't exactly one of Mama Beethoven's favorite recipes, but it is possible she may have served little Ludwig meatloaf once in a while. And it's a safe bet if she ever sampled this version she sure would have been surprised.

So to honor Herr Beethoven's birthday we offer this entree that is sure to delight any meat and potatoes gourmand.

Oh, and the surprise? Rolled up in the meatloaf are hashbrowned potatoes. How about that?

Astonish your family by clicking here.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Midday Entree: Pumpkin Soup

The Music:
Hodie, A Christmas Cantata, by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Elizabeth Gale, mezzo-soprano; Robert Tear, tenor; Stephen Roberts, baritone; Choristers of St. Paul's Cathedral; London Symphony Orchestra, Richard Hickox, conductor
EMI 135 314
The Recipe:
Pumpkins are not just for Halloween, of course.

Throw in some onion, some garlic and a few other choice ingredients and you'll have an elegant first course to grace your Christmas Feast.

Get the details by clicking here.

This week's recipes are underwritten by the Grosse Pointe Fresh Farms Market

Friday, December 12, 2014

Midday Entree: Holiday Hot Cider Wassail

The Music:
The Art of the Fugue, BWV 1080,
by Johann Sebastian Bach
The Canadian Brass
Sony 89731
The Recipe:
A piping hot cup of wassail this time of year has a very long history indeed, going back to Beowulf and beyond.

This recipe is a good one for entertaining, because it's very easy to make, tastes great, and can simmer for hours on a stovetop or in your slow cooker throughout your holiday party. In fact it actually gets better the longer it cooks.

Get it started by clicking here.

This week's recipes are underwritten by the Grosse Pointe Fresh Farms Market

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Midday Entree: French Onion Soup

The Music:
Harold in Italy, Op. 16, by Hector Berlioz
David Aaron Carpenter, viola; Helsinki Philharmonic
Vladimir Ashkenazy, conductor
Ondine 1188
The Recipe:
Next to French fries, this may be America's favorite dish to be labeled "French."

Trouble is, it can sometimes be overdone to the point where its Gallic subtlety is lost. So we went to to get back in touch with a more refined version than you might get in a mass market chain restaurant.

Here's how they describe it:

"This version of the classic is gorgeously cheesy, not gunky. Slow cooking gives the broth depth of flavor and a silky texture."

Sound good? You can try it yourself by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Midday Entree: Quick and Easy Swiss Steak

The Music:
Symphonie by Frank Martin
London Philharmonic, Matthias Bamert, conductor
Chandos 9312
The Recipe:
Here's a main dish that is as satisfying as it is easy to prepare. contributor Helene tells the story:

"My mother has been making this Swiss steak for years. It is wonderful, and can be made either on the stove top or, when you don't have a lot of time but want a hearty meal ready when you come home, in the crock pot. Serve over a bed of egg noodles or rice with a hunk of thick crusty bread."

Get it going by clicking here.

This week's recipes are underwritten by the Grosse Pointe Fresh Farms Market

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Midday Entree: English Lemon Tart

The Music:
Symphony No. 5 in D major by Ralph Vaughan Williams
London Symphony, Richard Hickox, conductor
Chandos 9666
The Recipe:
Some of our favorite recipes come from the Joy of Baking website. Just look how they describe this dessert:

"...a buttery shortbread crust, a creamy smooth lemon filling made with fresh lemon juice, sugar, and cream cheese, all covered with lovely swirls of whipped cream."

Want to know more? Of course you do. Get all the answers by clicking here.

This week's recipes are underwritten by the Grosse Pointe Fresh Farms Market

Monday, December 8, 2014

Midday Entree: Finnish Carrot Soup

The Music:
Symphony No. 4 in a, Op. 63, by Jean Sibelius
New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein, conductor
Sony 47622
The Recipe:
The Finns know how to take the chill off those nippy autumn evenings. Here's one solution we found on To give this Cream of Carrot Soup recipe a try, just click here.

Hyvää ruokahalua, and thanks for listening!

This week's recipes are underwritten by the Grosse Pointe Fresh Farms Market

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Midday Entree: Baked Apricot French Toast (with Crunchy Corn Flake Streusel)

The Music:
Septet in E-flat, Op. 20 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble
Chandos 9718
The Recipe:
Here's a good one for your holiday brunch get-together. As described on the website,

"An overnight soak in apricot-almond custard creates a meltingly soft, creamy interior for this baked French toast dish, while the corn flake crumb topping offers a crisp contrast. This recipe works equally well with peach preserves and nectar."

Can't wait to try it. Get all the particulars by clicking here.

This week's recipes are underwritten by the Grosse Pointe Fresh Farms Market