Les Diners de Gala: Dali’s Cookbook of Food, Art and Surrealism

“One can chose not to eat, one cannot accept to eat poorly” – Salvador Dalí

Inspiration for a Thanksgiving Feast?

With the holidays coming up (ahem *cough cough*) I thought it was a good time to bring attention to one of my all-time coveted items: a cookbook celebrating gastronomy and passionate, decadent consumption of food and art featuring elaborate food still lifes, original drawings and paintings by Salvador Dalí.

In 1973 Les Diners de Gala (Gala’s Dinners) was published as a collaboration between Dalí  and a “secret” chef in collaboration with some of the top French restaurants of the time. In true Dali fashion, Les Diners de Dali moves between ‘sado-masochistic pleasure’, ‘acute sybaritism’, Rabelaisian scatology, religious ecstasy, and anaesthetic asceticism.”

Nocturnal Cravings

“Nocturnal Cravings”—Chapter 11: sweets and desserts.

The book also contains nuggets of information such as the following: “I attribute capital esthetic and moral values to food in general, and to spinach in particular.  The opposite of shapeless spinach, is armor.  I love eating suits of arms, in fact I love all shell fish…food that only a battle to peel makes it vulnerable to the conquest of our palate.”

Sodomized entrees

“Sodomized Entrees”—Chapter 4: meats.

In conjunction with the release of the book Dalí also produced a suite called Les Diners De Gala (Released in 1977). The 12 lithograph suite is a surrealist twist on some of Dalí’s favorite meals. These works are a result of Dalí experimenting with mixed media and they are often regarded as some of Dalí’s most unique prints.

“Les Cannibalismes de L’Automne”

With 136 recipes in 12 categories, the collection of strange recipes includes an entire chapter on aphrodisiacs, correct use of atteletes (meat jewellery) and sketches of limbless dwarves eating eggs, among other things.

“Soft Watches Half Asleep”—Chapter 11: sweets and desserts.


“The I Eat Gala’s”—Chapter 10: aphrodisiacs.

Here is a newsreel from 1941, in which Salvador Dali designs and hosts a party held in the Bali Room of the Hotel Del Monte, Monterey, California. The event was titled Night in a Surrealist Forest and it was a fund raiser to help European artists displaced by the war.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here is a recipe from Les Diners de Gala for Young Turkey with Roquefort (after the jump):

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Simple, Cheap and Healthy Homemade Bread: A Tutorial

Growing up in my family, bread wasn’t just an everyday occurrence, it was an event. When it came straight out of the oven, we stood around as my mother tipped the loaf on its side and deftly sliced off the end, releasing a puff of steam into the air. No matter what time of day it happened to be, at least half of the first loaf never made it to the cooling rack. Bread, butter, cold glass of milk; this was my childhood.

You may think that I grew up knowing how to whip up a batch of my own, but that’s not the case. My mother never actually taught me or my sisters how to make bread, and it was always such a part of our lives that we never thought to ask. It was always just there. It sustained us.

This past year, I finally asked for a bread-baking lesson. And this is what I got.

Mama Jesse’s Homemade Bread

Rise in pans 10-15 min
Bake 25 min. at 350 degrees


1 T. yeast

1/4 c. sugar

1/4 c. oil

palmful of salt

5 cups white flour

5 cups whole wheat flour

(I added 2 eggs..optional! Mama Jess says you don’t need it.)

That’s it! Could it be easier? While this bread takes a few hours to make, most of that time is spent rising. Once you get the basic recipe down, you can have it going on in the background of whatever else you’re doing at home.

Step 1:

Dissolve 1 T. yeast in about 1/4 c. warm water with 1 tsp. or so of sugar in it. Don’t, I repeat DO NOT make the water too hot. It should be lukewarm. If it’s too hot it will kill the yeast and the bread won’t rise at all. Yeast is alive!

Set aside to foam.

look, foamy!

Step 2:

In a large bowl combine 1 qt. warm water, 1/4 c. sugar, 1/4 c. oil, palmful salt.

Add 5 c. white flour
Add yeast
Beat 100 strokes
Add (gradually) 5 c. whole wheat flour
Let sit 10-15 min.

Step 3:

Next, turn it out onto a floured surface. It should look like this:

Knead on floured board 5 min. or more (5-10)
If needs more flour, add white to board.

Knead? What is “knead,” you might ask?

Well, kneading the dough just means pushing and pressing the dough in a rhythmic way to work out all the kinks and get a nice consistency. It’s fun! My mom even says it’s meditative, but I’ll let her work on “Zen and the Art of Dough” by herself.

These are the steps to a good knead:

Push, Flip, Press, Rotate!




Step 4:

Flour bottom of big bowl, add dough, oil top, put in warm spot to rise till double. This takes a while…like at least half an hour-45 minutes. Forget about it and go do something else!



Step 5:

Now for the fun part…you get to punch something! This next step involves a quick second kneading.

First, punch down the dough. Give it a good wallop.

“how dare you!”

When you’re finished, it should look something like this:

Next, turn the dough onto your floured surface and knead it for a few minutes until it looks something like this. You old kneading pro, you!

Step 6:

Next, cut the dough into four equal parts and knead each part separately. Just knead it enough to form four little balls of dough instead of four triangles.

Next, shape your little dough balls into longer, skinnier, bread-shaped formations.

…put them into pans

Let them rise in the pans for 10-15 minutes, then bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

…and that’s it! You now have four loaves of warm, delicious and healthy bread. Now take that $5.00(x4) that you didn’t spend on bakery bread and buy something cool!

If this is more bread than you need, you can freeze some for later. Just make sure you double-wrap it and check the bag for air-holes or my mom will yell at you.

Easy Homemade Pickles

{pickles by Liisa VonEnde}

Did you know that it actually ridiculously easy to make your own pickles? I can’t believe that I’ve been buying sub-par, chemically brewed pickles from the grocery store all this time when this quick, easy method was right under my nose! There are a ton of ways to go about this, but for simple, quick pickles try this recipe. These are not the sweet variety, but rather the dill/sour kind (my favorite!)


Wash jars: Run jars through the dishwasher or wash thoroughly.

Prepare your brine:  “Brine”…now doesn’t that sound like the element of a serious project?Nope, it’s just water, vinegar, and salt! To each quart of water that has been boiled and brought to room temperature, add ¾ cup of distilled white vinegar and 4 Tablespoons Kosher salt. Estimate how many quarts to make depending on how many jars you will pack with pickles. Note: Do not use reactive pots (like aluminum) for making brine. Stick with stainless or glass bowls/pots for pickling tasks.

Wash and pack small cucumbers  into clean glass jars, into which fresh dill has been layered on the bottom first.

Add 1 Tablespoon of pickling spice and lots of chopped garlic. (Up to you how much. Leave it whole or chop it up!)

Add a dash of crushed red pepper flakes, or 1-2 small hot red peppers cut open lengthwise, plus more fresh dill.

Cover with plastic wrap and let stand out until soured, perhaps a couple of days, then refrigerate with lids on.

The pickles should last for a few months only (hah, not a chance if you’re a self-confessed pickle fanatic like me). If you do want to store pickles all year, use a recipe that calls for water-bath processing (meaning vacuum-sealed lids). It’s not that refrigerator pickles go bad, necessarily, but they lose that oh-so-important crunch.

Added Notes

{Thanks to lovely Liisa for both the recipe and delicious pickles on a hot summer day!}

Five Minute Ice Cream

…right out of the blender!

This recipe is a dessert party trick that impresses both kids and adults with your magical ability to seemingly create luscious berry ice cream out of thin air. Just say the words “ice cream” and five minutes later (about the time it takes to decide who’s going to run to the store and get some) you’ve got a dish of creamy berry deliciousness.

No ice cream-maker needed.

I’m also a big fan of recipes that are pure (3 ingredients) and simple.

Here’s how:


  • one 10-oz. package of frozen berries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

1. Get some berries.

                                                                                                                                                        2.  Dump the berries into a food processor or blender with sugar. You can decide how chunky you want the berries. I liked them kind of roughly chopped, but just blend longer for a smoother consistency. The original recipe called for more sugar, but I cut it by about 1/3 and still felt like it was a bit too sweet for me. However, I personally prefer tart berries, so you be the judge!

4. While the blender/food processor is still running, pour in the cream. Try to stop as soon as it’s mixed, since the longer you blend it, the less thick it will be.

…after freezing for half an hour

If you overdo it, just stick it in the freezer for a few minutes. I put mine in for 30 minutes and it had the consistency of “real” ice cream!
You can definitely eat it right out of the bowl, though. I gave my dad a taste and he ran away with the whole dish and wouldn’t give it back. True story.
Taste-test approved.
xo Serenity
 * note: I also tried a batch with 2% milk. It came out good, but (obviously) less creamy. It was more like sorbet. Still delicious, though! I think you could also use vanilla soy or almond milk (If you’re looking for another non-dairy treat, try these fudge popsicles.)  And of course, I’d like to try it with stevia for a sugar-free version. 

Vegan Fudge Popsicles

Ready to freeze in five minutes!

What is it about the middle of summer that makes me perfectly happy do nothing but sit outside, reading the same paragraph of a novel five times in a row as I wait for the next delicious breeze to come along?

Living in the northeast, summer is a long-deserved treat in itself. Being a true New Englander though, by August I’m thinking longingly of cool days when my forehead isn’t permanently damp, and I can come back home looking the same way I left (ie not a melted, frizzy puddle of a human being).

When I am feeling that way, however, I crave the coldest thing I can find. I actually don’t even like real ice cream that much. I prefer lighter textures that don’t make me feel like I just ate a frozen stick of butter, but I find that a lot of dairy-free desserts don’t have very rich or complex flavors. The triple-threat of chocolate, coconut, and coffee in this recipe does the trick without adding a lot of fat and calories.

While not vegan, I am health-conscious so I was excited to try and find a delicious summer treat that was both satisfying and guilt-free.

This recipe is adapted from On a Stick!, Smitten Kitchen, and The Wayfaring Teacher.

Vegan Fudge Popsicles

Makes 4 standard-sized popsicles.

Make these sugar-free as well by using stevia, an all-natural plant-derived sweetener.

*optional slightly less healthy addition* {2 tablespoons (21 grams or 3/4 ounce) semisweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate}
1 tsp. Stevia OR agave nectar OR 1/3 cup (67 grams or 2 1/3 ounce) sugar
1 tablespoon (7 grams or 1/4 ounce) cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1 1/2 tablespoons (8 grams or 1/4 ounce) unsweetened cocoa powder

½ cup of strong coffee

1/2 c. coconut milk (I used light) and 1/2 c. vanilla almond milk
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon (3 ml) vanilla extract

In saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. If not using chocolate chips, mix the cocoa powder (use a little extra) with some water first to make a thick paste. Stir in sweetener, cornstarch, cocoa powder, milk, coffee and salt and raise heat to medium. Cook mixture, stirring frequently until it thickens, for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add vanilla and and stir.

Set aside to cool slightly then pour into popsicle molds. Freeze 30 minutes, then insert popsicle sticks. Freeze the rest of the way before serving.

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Tortilla For One + Veggie Burger (Chickpea and Kale)

I cut the burger in half before actually rolling it up in the tortilla.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m living a pretty spartan existence this month (er, this year…) but that doesn’t mean that I have to live on prepackaged food, and neither do you. Having zero counters, one plate  and one bowl to mix things in just takes it down to the elemental. Come on, you probably have a real table, or at least a counter that’s not just your stove with a cutting board over it. So what’s your excuse not to cook?

You can make the tortilla dough ahead of time and roll them out one at a time, or you can make them individually, which is what I usually do because it really does only take 5 minutes (if that). I don’t use oil in the dough- I just find that it’s not necessary.

Yeah, I know. This does not look or sound good (a green burger?) but I swear, it was delicious!

This is a simple recipe for a veggie burger that uses chick peas, eggs, and bread crumbs as a base. I adapted the recipe quite  a bit, substituting kale for sprouts (only because I didn’t have any sprouts) and adding extra bread crumbs because the burger “batter” was pretty liquidy. I also added lemon juice because I thought they were a bit bland. The kale worked really well and the extra lemon juice really helped bring out the flavor.

I’m not exactly sure how this is different from falafel, but it doesn’t really matter, does it? It was delicious, especially when both are fresh and still warm from the pan.

Maybe you’re on a bit of a budget, you’ve got a bunch of  kids that you want to secretly feed kale to, or are  just trying to save up for a really expensive pair of shoes or an awesome trip somewhere (can I come?)

In any case, both of these recipes should delight your thrifty heart.

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Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes”

(secretly) healthy comfort food

Dear readers, I have an embarrassing confession to make. I’m not sure I even want to admit this to myself, but last night I did something truly, awfully depraved. I cooked ( I use that term loosely here) and ate instant mashed potatoes. I’m not proud. I’m still trying to understand and come to terms with this strange behavior.

Well, after some deep analysis, I came to the conclusion that due to my love of real mashed potatoes I, in a fit of empty-cupboard syndrome, pulled the box of “Shur-Fine” instant mashed potatoes from the deepest, darkest corner of the cabinet where it had been sitting alone, spurned by the other food ever since I had bought it for a bread recipe (secret ingredient). I was even embarrassed to be seen buying them in the grocery store, and considered explaining myself to the cashier but managed to restrain myself with my usual admonition, “thing like crazy person no do!”

So what does this have to do with cauliflower, you might ask? Well, everything.

Due to their almost total lack of nutrition plus aggregate value of butter + carb bomb, I only eat mashed potatoes approximately 4 times a year. I don’t even have a potato in the house! But what if you could have them any night of the week? What if…they could even be…healthy?

I give you…Caulifower Mashed Potatoes!  Do I even need to explain the advantages? Hmm, we could make a chart here, but I think it’s pretty obvious. You can eat the whole bowl. Enough said. Oh also, um, vitamins. 

(recipe after the jump)

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Strawberry Chiffon Shortcake

Please excuse the green plastic lid that I have chosen to use as a plate here. Not very pretty…but I am living as an extreme minimalist this month as explained in previous posts and thus only posses one large bowl (with green lid) and 2 dinner plates that proved to be too concave for cake-holding purposes.
Happy Birthday Mama Jess!

I didn’t even realize it, but I’ve been waiting to make this cake since I was about seven. My mom had this calendar of cakes, and there was one luscious, towering pile of cake, whipped cream and strawberries that looked like the most unreal, delicious thing that I had ever laid eyes on. I used to ask all the time if I could have it for my birthday and …well, my mom has made many a fine cake in her day, but she never seemed to get around to it.

I had totally forgotten about this, but when I presented my mom with this cake today for her birthday (Happy Birthday Mrs. Bolt!) she immediately recognized it as the relic from my childhood imagination that it is, exclaiming “That’s the cake! The cake from the calendar!” Of course, she was right….and it was every bit as delicious and wonderful as I had always imagined.


You could *probably* make this cake a lot healthier. Maybe something involving stevia, chia seeds instead of all the eggs and oil, and yogurt as a topping? I think I’ll try that as a project sometime. In the meantime, here’s the all-out, birthday-approved version.

Recipe after the jump:

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Five-Minute Summer Barbeque

See? Nice and sticky.

It’s definitely summer here in Vermont and you probably want food that’s quick, light, and goes well with lemonade or, more specifically, {Stevia} Strawberry Lemonade. So, tonight I bring you two 5-minute items: magical, good-on-everything barbeque sauce and delicious sugar-free chocolate popsicles. Well, those are still in the freezer so you’ll have to wait…

Barbeque sauce awaits after the jump:

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{Stevia} Strawberry Lemonade

Strawberry lemonade

See how the strawberries float to the top? That’s the best part….

Mmmmm….the picture says it all. Frosty, icy, delicious.

What more could you want on a hot day? Oh, right, it’s sugar* and (mostly) calorie-free.

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