Matcha Chocolate Financiers, Dolly, Scowling Ballerinas, Mrs. America, Safaian, & Beethoven
Updated: Nov 7, 2020
Matcha Chocolate Financiers. Perfectly imperfect, like us!
Here's a Matcha Chocolate Financier video. Check out the "Eurovision" track. :)
I originally was going to write about Hollywood’s funny stereotypes of musicians- passionate, ill-tempered, bipolar, unable to control themselves, moody, alcoholic, completely neurotic, and depressing. (Bwahaha!) I then, googled, “Why are musicians” and it filled in… “so weird.” Great. Here are the rest of the relevant searches. Apparently, this is what the world thinks of us. Enjoy!
So, it got me thinking. Why are musician stereotypes so hilarious?
When I was a kid, I LOVED Dolly. Growing up in the Midwest and later the South, you couldn’t help but be inundated with her glossy stylings, infectious smile, and catchy tunes. Her brand of female empowerment hit closely to what I was used to. My mother by day, was a pediatric oncologist but at night, was very much a “traditional” wife. My aunts and my parent’s close friends all embodied the same ideals- so this female brand, feels like home. I like to cook, clean, sew, knit, play with hair and makeup, wear dresses (I almost only wear pants when I have to work), play with my daughter and have a frilly apron collection I LOVE. Just because I adore these “traditional” ladylike subjects doesn’t mean that I equally don’t enjoy to have provocative discussions about politics, economics, possible geopolitical warfare, or (my husband’s favorite topic) GEAR. (I know. Sometimes, our dinner conversations are riveting.) I truly do not think I’d be happy if that later option was taken away from me, without a choice.
Dolly, with the big hair, hilariously provocative outfits, and sweet smile belied a smart businesswoman, who not only navigated but thrived in the cut throat music industry and later, in the film and theme park industries. Most artists reflect societal issues in their work and Dolly was no different. Addressing such topics as the working woman, teen pregnancy, and poverty, wrapped in her lovable package is a voice and persona addressing human needs. Pop stars still address societal issues in their music today. Isn’t it easier to remember a catchy hook than it is the dry droll of a professor espousing social ills?
Check this out:
Remember when Dolly Parton fully subverted the “dumb blonde” cliche with her ’80’s excess styling?
With the overwhelming workload many women are facing now, hard choices that have always been at the forefront of motherhood, are rearing its ugly head and unfortunately, are having an impact on our global economy (amongst other things). Although my outside persona may look extremely liberal, as I mentioned before, I am extremely conservative with traditional gender roles in our family. (Stereotypes don’t really work here.) Isn’t that the embodied beauty and frustration of humanity? The dichotomy of what is subversive and what is truly your truth?
Here's the amazing Dolly Parton.
Dolly Parton - 9 to 5 (Official Video)
Based on that dual complexity, check out this great article on scowling ballerinas and rethinking the tradition of Beethoven.
"This is Not Beethoven", by Iranian composer Arash Safaian, performed by Norwegian violinist, Eldbjørg Hemsing, German pianist, Sebastian Knauer and the Zurich Chamber Orchestra.
And on the Dolly note of female empowerment, check out this article on the symbolism to the opening sequence of “Mrs. America.” Regardless of what camp you are in, (as I said, I understand both camps because I have friends and family in both), both parties used glitz to enliven and democratize voter participation.
Finally, I love this interpretation of Beethoven’s 5th. It has great dynamic range, the orchestra is lithe, and nuances like phrasing and vibrancy really shine. (It’s how I like my companies- small and agile, like a startup).
Concertgebouworkest - Beethoven - Symphony No. 5 - Complete performance
And finally, for the disco version, performed, “live”.
Walter Murphy - A Fifth of Beethoven (1976)
This playlist is longer than usual (but I know you'd be into it). Please try to put it on in the background and let your mind wander. It starts with Dolly, then goes to Safaian's reimagined Beethoven (for you music geeks, please look out for the quotes), the real Beethoven Symphony No. 5 and all four movements, finally ending with Walter Murphy. Please enjoy! Thanks for reading (and listening)! Xo, Melissa
Matcha Chocolate Financiers
from Baking Chez Moi, by (the brilliant) Dorie Greenspan
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons matcha green tea
Pinch of fine sea salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup almond or hazelnut flour
6 large egg whites, at room temperature, lightly beaten
5 oz. finely chopped dark chocolate
1. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until it starts to boil, then boil for 1 minute; it may color ever so slightly, but you don't want it to brown. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside (you want the butter to be warm when you add it.)
2. Whisk the all-purpose flour, matcha and salt together in a small bowl.
3. Using a flexible spatula, stir the sugar and nut flour together in a large bowl. Gradually add the egg whites, stirring to moisten the dry ingredients. When all the whites are in, give the mix a few vigorous stirs.
4. Stir in the all purpose flour mixture, mixing only until it's evenly blended, then start adding the melted butter, a little at a time, folding and stirring the batter until all the butter is in, a feat that will seem miraculous. Stir in the dark chocolate. You'll have a pea-green batter with a sheen to it.
5. Press a piece of plastic film against the surface of the batter and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The batter can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. )
When You're Ready to Bake
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter the cups of a mini-muffin tin (or tins; you can make as many or as few financiers as you want- there's enough batter for 30), dust with flour and tap out the excess (or use baker's spray, a mix of vegetable oil and flour.)
2. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling them almost to the top.
3. Bake the financiers for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they have crowned and feel springy to the touch; their tops may have cracked, and that's fine. They'll be browned around the edges (and on the bottom) and a beautiful green in the center.
4. Remove the tin(s) from the oven, wait 1 minutes, then tap them against the counter to encourage the financiers to tumble out. Pry any stragglers from their molds with a table knife. Transfer the financiers to a rack and let cool until they are just warm or at room temperature.
Thanks for reading! xo Melissa