Birthday Month

January 30, 2015 § Leave a comment

I haven’t baked or cooked anything in 2 long weeks. Work deadlines have come a’callin’ and it’s all hands on deck. (Just for the record, 11-hour workdays shouldn’t be a thing. My heart hurts for people for whom it’s a regular shift!)
It hasn’t been this hectic for awhile and I’m thankful for that, and trying to remind myself of more leisurely days past. Though I wish it could be a bit more manageably spread out! The memory of these cupcakes my mom lovingly made for my birthday this month are keeping me going. Yellow cake, studs of whipped chocolate frosting, a puddle of caramel, and sprinkle of sea salt made for a snazzier version of my favorite birthday cake.

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Apple Slump

January 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

I won’t call it a resolution, because I already endeavor to try new recipes on a regular basis. As my folder of clippings and copies grows and my website bookmarks increase in number, I felt it was time to commit to actually attempting a new recipe once a week. Once a week doesn’t sound too daunting, just 1 day out of 7. Since I already like trying new things in the kitchen, it’s a win-win. A good reason to try a new dessert occurred yesterday when I was planning to gather with friends to watch Little Women. We had the idea, but not the time, before Christmas. But, the movie itself is so perfect in all its images and emotions, I’ll watch it any time of year. Who doesn’t want to extend the coziness and goodwill of the holidays that the 1994 version so exquisitely captures?

You may laugh, but I set out to find a dessert that would fit the theme, and I didn’t have to look far. An Apple Slump was evidently a much-enjoyed dessert of the Alcott family. The name tickled my curiosity as well, as I’ve heard of desserts with these descriptive onomatopoeic names like grunt and buckle before. It came together so simply and made cinnamon and nutmeg aromas waft through my whole apartment, like I lived temporarily inside an apple pie. It was a hit. It’s basically stewed apples on the bottom and a pillowy, crumbly crust topping like a cross between a biscuit and cornbread, oddly enough. (There’s no cornmeal.). You could make this with any fruit, I’m guessing, but this apple slump paired with our movie and some of my friend Sharon’s homemade cider were the ideal combination for a wintry January night.

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Happy Food Year

January 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

The last bit of the poem “Love at First Sight” by Wislawa Szymborska has always resonated with me, and it was in my mind this morning when I woke up.

“Every beginning
is only a sequel, after all,
and the book of events
is always open halfway through.”

Ends prompt reflections. Year-ends lend themselves the most to retrospectives, in memoriam reels, highlights, best-and-worst lists. Some years of my life have involved much visible change and others contained shifts that are more subtle. I think 2014 has been one of the latter. Much of life is similar to last year: job, apartment, church, dear friends and family, my chocolate consumption levels. There are the positive, welcome changes and also the ones I see, right now, as mostly negative or disappointing.

But, it’s been a great year in food. And rich in people to share in the bounty with. Thanks to my (everyone’s) penchant for photographing mouth-watering plates, I can look back over meals I’ve made and been served.

Early in 2014, there was Hattie B’s hot chicken in Nashville with Alison. Several times, chocolate chip cookies found their way into my oven. I inhaled sweet tea fried chicken from Saw’s BBQ on more than one occasion. Callie came over for breakfast yogurt parfaits.┬áThere was peach-a-day summer to celebrate. I made cinnamon roll/pull-apart bread/cake, pastichio, a whole roast chicken, cathead biscuits, flaky roasted strawberry phyllo turnovers and bruschetta for Joy’s wedding shower, blackberry graham cracker pie, pumpkin pie with caramel pecan praline, and breads like challah and Irish brown. Many meals were shared around the fire pit at Rachael and Jeff’s place. Smitten Kitchen’s apple cider caramel recipe won me over, and just about everyone I shared the chewy, salty deliciousness with. I love when people clamor for more. I introduced my family to cream cheese ice cream, and now my Dad requests it. I finally experienced the tomato salad at Hot and Hot Fish Club. This list barely scratches the surface, as it was often too dark or I was too hungry to capture photographic evidence of the rest. And, of course, there were the dishes that didn’t quite realize their full potential, but let’s not rain on the how-well-I-ate parade.

At this point, 2015 is an untapped well, but I know of a few constants: the love of God, my desire to know him and serve him more fully, and the call of the kitchen.

“The pleasures of the table are for every man, of every land, and no matter of what place in history or society; they can be part of all his other pleasures, and they last the longest to console him when he has outlived the rest.” Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

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