Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cinnamon Nut Roll Coffee Cake Redux


After a harrowing kitchen experience – thrice unlucky - followed by a resounding success, I shared my Cinnamon Nut Roll Coffee Cake with the Bread Baking Babes and, as is the tradition, invited others to bake along with us and earn their Buddy Badge. Not to mention allowing others to have such a fabulous yeasted coffee cake in the kitchen. And from what I have heard, there wasn’t coffee cake in the kitchen for long! This is the kind of treat that disappears in no time at all, it is that good!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Simple Chocolate Buttermilk Cake


True nostalgia is an ephemeral composition of disjointed memories. 
Florence King 

It’s been a week of nostalgia as I go through old photos and share them on Facebook. Odd and wonderful week as I am contacted by someone on Twitter who asked « Was your father on the USS Suwannee ? » I had mentioned the battleship in the Pacific on which my father lived and worked for close to two years during WWII and she had found me. Her father was on the same ship and, as I discovered when I came across a short partial list of shipmates, in the same group as my own dad. And the world gets smaller and smaller as I discover that two friends, women who I had come to know through our food blogs, had fathers who also worked at NASA during the old Gemini, Mercury and Apollo years, the same period of time as my own dad.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ettore’s Dishwasher – Part II

(You can read Ettore's Dishwasher - Part I here)

If you've heard this story before, 
don't stop me, 
because I'd like to hear it again. 
- Groucho Marx

Two little boys out in the fields.

Barreling down that two lane road at high speed at 7:30 a.m. in the thick of a morning fog– why adjust your speed when driving in fog as impenetrable as vanilla gelato? – she had the reflex to jerk her steering wheel sharply to her left. This, I later realized, is what saved my life. Without that spontaneous response to my car standing in her path, she would have slammed into the driver’s door of my little red Fiat, would have gone straight into me and no doubt pushed me out the other side of the car. Instead of crushing me, her car tore off the front of mine.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Cinnamon Nut Roll Coffee Cake


A Babe in the house is a well-spring of pleasure, 
A messenger of peace and love, 
A resting place for innocence on earth, 
A link between angels and men. 
- Martin Farquhar Tupper 

The life of a Babe is not an easy one. Oh, it may look glamorous on the outside, all conviviality and dazzling bonhomie in a sisterly way. It may look all elegant ease to others, but that is all smoke and mirrors. Behind the scenes, I tell a different story. It is a tragic tale of cursed recipes, frustration, kicking, screaming and cursing like a sailor. While my fellow Bread Baking Babes, those who bake yeasty things practically for a living, seemingly with their eyes closed and one hand strapped behind their back, no doubt like my own ancestors, those great, strong women of my past; while my fellow Babes scuddle around me tossing dough with ease, adapting recipes and serving up homebaked things in kitchens redolent of the cinnamony, spicy scent of heaven, I, well, I often live quite another experience. And I live to tell about one.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sour Cherry Crumble Coffee Cake


When I sound the fairy call, gather here in silent meeting, 
Chin to knee on the orchard wall, cooled with dew and cherries eating. 
Merry, merry, take a cherry, mine are sounder, mine are rounder, 
Mine are sweeter for the eater, when the dews fall, and you’ll be fairies all. 
- Emily Dickenson

Son returned from Vietnam and immediately dashed off to the coast with his friends, spending his days on the beach, no doubt playing guitar and barbecuing, living the high life. Living much the life he lived in Vietnam for a month, hanging out on an island beach, strumming guitar and eating and drinking with friends. Oh to be young and carefree. Husband headed south, off to spend ten days with his sister and mother. I spent the week at the old homestead with second son and dog, hanging out in the warm, breezy apartment, streaming American television shows, eating salads and working. I write every day, Ilva peeping over my shoulder, prodding me on, giving the occasional suggestion as she vacations in Sweden and escapes her own work for a few weeks.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ettore’s Dishwasher – Part I

It all started with a car accident.

Oh, no, it didn’t quite begin with the car accident. It started with the tree growing in the toilet.

After four glorious years of living in a beautiful apartment in the center of Milan, Italy with a 50 square meter terrace draped with grape vines, heady with the fragrance of plump gardenias and fresh herbs, JP decided that it was time to leave the city and move out to the countryside. After a long, hard day at work surrounded by people and noise, cars and city smells, he simply wanted to find himself in an Eden, a place calm, quiet and surrounded by greenery. He needed to escape the stress and the dirt and the bustle and end each day, each week in a haven in the middle of nowhere. The boys and the dog could run free, he could listen to the birds and garden to his heart’s content and I, well I would no longer have the city at my doorstep, but don’t think of me. No, please.


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