Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A man I am proud to call my friend

Corey Johnson, featured here on 360 with Anderson Cooper, is a man that I am proud to call a friend. He is also a fierce force in the gay community and has really come into his own over the past few weeks.


Today Corey will be at the White House to cover Obama's signing of hate-crimes legislation for Towleroad.com .

Way to go Corey. You make us all proud!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hook. Line. And Simmer

So for those of you privileged enough to watch my latest videos, you know that in the first part I give a mea culpa of sorts to food stylist, Victoria Granof. The apology came as a result of her contacting me over a year after I made a video that referenced a Bon Appetit magazine cover that she styled.

In the video I said something to effect that the styling and the cover looked as though it belonged on the menu board (not bar, but I suppose I should enunciate on my, uh, video cooking show) at Sparro's.

Anyway, Victoria and I exchanged emails, I told her I enjoyed many of her covers and that I would issue an apology. She was more than gracious and said that she would post both videos on her blog, that any publicity was good publicity and we left it at that.

Well shortly after I released my video(s) I sent Victoria an email stating that my "mea culpa" was up and thought nothing of it...

That was until I went to her blog, www.ALongHotSimmer.com, and noticed I had been duped by the food stylist extraordinaire (after all, she did style the cover that won this year's "Most Delicious Magazine Cover" by the American Society of Magazine Editors)

Not only did she not put up my apology video, she put up my original video and wrote that I said "nasty things about [her] on [my]...uh...video cooking show".

Additionally, one of Victoria's readers, Martha, goes even further by writing
I think I need to say nasty things to you for making me watch that video. Euw! I was expecting it to turn to porn any minute.
So what's the lesson to be learned in all of this, boys and girls? Well, either don't say "nasty" things about a food stylist or if you do and that food stylist contacts you, proceed with caution lest the food stylist traps you like a big hot sticky mess of lasagna on a paper plate at Sbarro's.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

On the Christ and Radical Rebellion

I do not proclaim my faith with a boastful tongue or heavy pen. It has never been my intention, as the spiritual path before me begins to wend its way through expanses unknown, to presume a tone of judgment or to cast dispersion upon those of different faiths or no faith at all. In fact, in all that I write, my prayer is that it will be received in the spirit that it is written – that being an essay by me, for me that I share with you not to influence or decry, but instead simply to be, in the spirit of simply being.

The idea that I feel led to put a disclaimer on my writing when the topic happens to be faith is a bit unsettling to me, if only because it implies that perhaps what follows could possibly offend. Therefore if what I write offends you, then my faith offends you and it is not my intention to, in any way, offend. With that let me get to my purpose in writing today.

Often I feel as though we, as the human race, would do well to suffer from a severe bout of amnesia as far as Christianity is concerned. What I mean is that both those that profess a faith in Christ and those that do not would forcibly have all knowledge of Christianity blotted from their collective conscience and begin anew without the prejudices and preferences that each of us brings to the topic from years influence by both supporters and detractors alike.

If we were to have no working knowledge of Christianity and, more specifically, Jesus the Christ, we would, upon first encounter with his story, be stunned at how radically rebellious he was, how profound his words, how compassionate when faced with intolerance, how gracious in the face of hostility. Even if we were to simply assume Jesus to be a great teacher – as many do – if his story had never been told until this very day, how utterly amazing it would be to read "Go and sin no more", "lest ye who has not sinned", ""If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor…" , "Father, forgive them…", "For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind".

If we knew nothing of televangelists or the religious right or religious left, if we knew nothing of the Pope or denominations or leaders reviled and revered, what would our opinion be of the matter at hand? Who would Jesus be to us? What wisdom would we glean from his story and his life? What salvation would we find, what hope, what refuge, what nonsense?

If tonight, on the local news, they treated the story of Jesus as breaking news, what would our opinion be of him then?

I dare to say that some of his most ardent defenders today would be his most vocal detractors and some of his harshest critics would be at his side.

The entire landscape of faith would be altered and humanity would never be the same.

But that is precisely what did happen. Blotted from our collective conscience or not, some 2000 plus years ago the landscape of the entire world changed – radically and unequivocally – forever. And whether you believe him to be a great teacher or a crazed lunatic or a saviour, his life – in the finite span of three years – radically shook the foundations of earth.

And I have chosen, at the very age of his death, to live a life so radically bound to his call, so inextricably linked to his spirit, so inexplicably in love with his grace that I might very well lose myself in the journey.

In fact, I'm sure of it!

Five 4 Ten

I have gone from my fundraising lead for the Race to Deliver to fourth place within the past three weeks. In fact I am around $2000.00 behind the lead. Though that sounds substantial, think about this.

If each person reading this asked 5 friends to go to my Race page and donate $10.00, we would easily raise the $2000.00 and more to put me back on top. 5 friends, 10 dollars.
Please ask as many people as you can, whether they know me or not, and see if they will help out. It would mean the world to me. And don’t forget to send them to my race page to donate.

Thanks oh-so much,
Jon-Marc

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Jon-Marc's Deep Dark Chocolate Cheesecake PART1 and PART 2

The Naked Baker, Jon-Marc McDonald, makes his most famous dessert to date, a Deep Dark Chocolate Cheesecake from the October / 2006 issue of Bon Appetit magazine. He also gets naked and highlighted in part 2 of the video.

Part 2 and the full recipe after the jump


Deep Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Bon App├ętit | October 2006

by Jeanne Thiel Kelley

In the '80s and early '90s, chocolate cheesecake was at the top of our list. The simple ingredients in this rich, dense version let a good boutique chocolate shine.

Yield: Makes 12 servings
ingredients
Crust
24 chocolate wafer cookies (from one 9-ounce package)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted

Filling
1 9.7-ounce bar Scharffen Berger 70% Cocoa Bittersweet Chocolate,* chopped
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Scharffen Berger)
4 large eggs

Topping
3/4 cup whipping cream
6 ounces Scharffen Berger 70% Cocoa Bittersweet Chocolate,* chopped
1 tablespoon sugar

Bittersweet chocolate curls

*Use Ghirardelli 60%. Trust me!
preparation
For crust:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 3-inch-high sides. Blend cookies in processor until finely ground; blend in sugar. Add melted butter and process until well blended. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom (not sides) of prepared pan. Bake just until set, about 5 minutes. Cool while preparing filling. Maintain oven temperature.


For filling:

Stir chopped chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water; cool chocolate until lukewarm but still pourable. Blend cream cheese, sugar, and cocoa powder in processor until smooth. Blend in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in lukewarm chocolate. Pour filling over crust; smooth top. Bake until center is just set and just appears dry, about 1 hour. Cool 5 minutes. Run knife around sides of cake to loosen. Chill overnight.


For topping:

Stir cream, 6 ounces chocolate, and sugar in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until smooth. Cool slightly. Pour over center of cheesecake, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edge and filling any cracks. Chill until topping is set, about 1 hour. Do ahead: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover with foil and keep refrigerated.

Release pan sides. Transfer cheesecake to platter. Top with chocolate curls. Let stand 2 hours at room temperature before serving.

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