Matzo Madeleine

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She sent for one of those squat, plump little cakes called "petites madeleines," which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell. And soon, mechanically, dispirited after a dreary day with the prospect of a depressing morrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory - this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me it was me. I had ceased now to feel mediocre, contingent, mortal . . .

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Agenda: 4/7 to 4/13

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1. Men, Women, and Food, an evening of food-themed music including Paul Bowles' Picnic Cantata, Thursday, April 8, 8:00 p.m., at Merkin Concert Hall, 129 West 67th Street (212.501.3330).
2. Morrell Spring Portfolio Tasting, a sampling of more than 50 wines featured in Morrell's Spring 2004 catalogue, Thursday, April 8, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., at the Morrell Tasting Room, 665 11th Avenue (at 48th Street). $25/person (212.688.9370).
3. Laura Shapiro in Conversation with Molly O'Neill, a discussion with Laura Shapiro, author of Something from the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America, and food writer Molly O'Neill, Tuesday, April 13, 6:30 p.m., at the Celeste Bartos Forum at New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. $10/non-members, $7/members (212.930.0571).

Ongoing Events:
1. A Distant View, an exhibition of photographs by Martha Carroll of the Parisian market Les Halles, March 29 through May 14 at La Maison Francaise, New York University, 16 Washington Mews (212.998.8750).
2. Chocolate, Coffee, Tea, a special exhibition of the utensils developed to serve these products when they were introduced through trade in the 17th century, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street. The exhibition closes July 11, 2004 (212.535.7710).
3. Cookin': A Sizzling Entertainment, "a fast-paced kitchen percussion show combining comedy, rhythm and non-verbal performance," at the Minetta Lane Theatre, 18 Minetta Lane (212.420.8000).

 


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Shopping List: Genmai Cha

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Genmai Cha, a combination of green tea leaves and hulled, toasted brown rice, is said to have originated in poverty, when Japanese peasants added rice as a filler to stretch the tea supply.

As a savory tea, Genmai Cha makes an excellent accompaniment to food. As the blend steeps with hot water, the roasted rice imparts a toasty and slightly nutty flavor and aroma to the subtle green tea.

The sampling of tea pictured above comes from the Bodum store, which sells a surprisingly large selection of loose teas. In addition to green tea and roasted rice, the blend also contains small, fluffy pieces of popcorn. You don't always see the addition of popcorn, but I look for it because it adds to the toasty flavor and aroma of the tea.

Can't find Genmai Cha? Here's a recipe for making it at home, and Ito En's line of "Tea's Teas" includes a bottled iced tea version. The tea can also be found packaged as tea bags.

Genmai Cha is $5.95 for a 3.5 oz. bag at the Bodum Café and Home Store, 413-415 West 14th Street (212.367.9125), and widely available at tea shops.