It happened in a tiny park centrally located in Boston’s South End.
It happened in their park.
Their secret reference to the first memories of a date gone well.
Maybe eight benches. A small statue. Flowers. Eleven friends…
… and a soon-to-be fiancé waving around a loving excited heart.
Love must be in the air.
Nothing wrong when a summer starts on such a beautiful note.
First, friends got married. Now, friends get engaged.
And all eleven of us were privy to witness our friend “M.” propose to our friend “K.”
A secret proposal – in their park.
The master plan was hatched. The wheels in motion.
It needed to be a surprise for “K.”
I was in charge of hiding and bringing the suit.
And invaded with excitement I was. Coveting the endearing proposal that was about to take form in front of our very eyes.
Like a white canvas. An invisible painter coloring the scene as the surprise unfolded.
But a bit nervous too.
Nervous feelings seasoned with a certain undefinable voyeuristic ingredient – an ingredient paired with swirling spikes of the mind of having the impression to invade someone’s privacy.
How often do you get to see someone propose and open their most intimate hidden world to others around?
And while we were watching them, those feelings dispelled immediately.
The ominous skies and promise of rain showers gave way to a clear late afternoon amorous sky.
The park was ours. The few people who happened to be around at first were long gone.
And as the answer to the proposal resonated through our group – a charming of course!, the Champagne corks popped in unison and the congratulatory cheers spread through the wind.
The happy couple kissed and hugged. And they shone a happy light on all of us.
I felt lucky. Lucky to be there.
But also lucky to live in Massachusetts where two of my friends, who just happened to be two men, can decide to get engaged in a park – their park – surrounded by friends and no one to tell them otherwise.
And as we all reflected and realized what we had just witnessed – a first for all of us – we probably may not know right away how this seemingly significant day for “K. and M.” will have a far from insignificant effect on some of us in the future.
So we drank in the park.
We drank a lot of Champagne. We celebrated before going to dinner.
A celebration of love – our friends’ love for each other.
A celebration of friendship and what it means to be there for someone when he needs it the most and asks to be surrounded for the most important day of his life.
And while this engagement should truly be regarded as any other engagements occurring daily in our world, it still pains me to say that it was also a celebration for gay marriage and the promise of a tomorrow when same-sex couples won’t need to celebrate the fact that they finally have the same rights as anyone else.
A new road is only rolling out ahead of them.
Bon voyage à tous les deux !
This financier recipe is for them.
I toyed with it for several months now. Never happy with the results.
Too moist. Too cakey.
Too spicy. Not enough.
I was thinking of posting it for Father’s Day. Financiers are my dad’s favorites.
Or maybe for my birthday post. But the recipe just wasn’t ready.
Now it is. And it fits right in with a marriage proposal.
Chocolate as the unequivocal symbol of love and care.
Spicy! – how relationships should be.
And since the word financiers remains a tough word to pronounce for some of my American entourage becoming a distorted fiancés, all the more reasons to eat orange-flavored spicy chocolate fiancés when celebrating an engagement!
Orange-Flavored Spicy Chocolate Financiers
makes 14 financiers
5 Tbsp (70 g) of butter – melted
5 Tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbsp of sweet white rice flour
1/2 cup (100 g) of blonde cane sugar
1 teaspoon of ground ancho chile
1/4 teaspoon of Cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
3/4 cup (93 g) of whole walnuts – ground
a pinch of sea salt
1 organic orange – finely zested
4 egg whites
1-2 drops of orange extract/flavor
optional: powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 375 °F (190 °C).
Prepare a mini-muffin pan with cooking spray.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, sift and mix the cocoa powder, the flour, the sugar and the spices. Combine.
In a food processor, finely ground the walnuts. Fold with the flour mixture.
Add a pinch of sea salt and the orange zest. Mix delicately and make sure the orange zest does not clump.
Beat the egg whites with 1 or 2 drops of orange extract with a fork until combined and lightly foamy.
Pour the egg whites over the flour mixture and stir.
Pour the melted butter and stir delicately until it is all absorbed.
Divide the batter in the mini-muffin pan and bake in the oven for 16-17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry.
If you prefer to make bigger financiers in a regular muffin size pan, bake them for 20 minutes.
Remove the financiers from the pan right away and let them cool on a rack or a cutting board.
Dust with powdered sugar – optional.