12 . 15 . 12
My favorite view in Colorado can be seen through our North-facing upstairs bathroom window. In the morning, when it has snowed overnight, I sit on the counter and press my left cheek against the cold pane to watch the colors change to the East as the sun rises over white roofs and lawns. Snow, I have discovered recently, has the same sort of reverent, sweeping effect on my spirit that the ocean once had. It is snowing now as I write this from the bathroom and if I’m lucky it will stick through the morning. Shaun is on a work trip for a few days and seeing that I have the day off tomorrow, and to myself, I will make a pilgrammage to the park and make snow angels again along the running path for the walkers and runners and lovers. They are strangers whose lives I will never know yet somehow always know. For the beautiful, radiant young souls who were taken from this earthplane too soon, I will lay my head back in the snow, next to my angels, your sweet too young angels, and look to the sky to say thank-you a million times for my full and undeserving life. I will blow out my candles for each of you next week with tears in my eyes for every painful, awkward, surprising, perfect moment I have been given and you have been robbed.
“I closed the box and put it in a closet.
There is no real way to deal with everything we lose.”
― Joan Didion, Where I Was From
Persimmon Oatmeal Cookies
From Margie, the mother of my childhood friend, Kelly, who grew persimmons and made the most marvelous and memorable cookies. Thank you, Margie, for graciously sharing this recipe with me and the world. Adapted from “Use and Enjoy the California Persimmon” University of California Cooperative Extension, El Dorado County.
1 ½ cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup Brown Sugar
½ Teaspoon Baking soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
¼ Teaspoon Nutmeg
¾ Teaspoon Cinnamon
½ Teaspoon Cloves
¾ cup butter
1 Cup Hachiya Persimmon chunks
1 ¾ cup Rolled Oats
½ cup chopped pecans
Sift together flour, sugar, soda, salt, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon into mixing bowl. Cut in butter. Add egg, persimmon pulp, rolled oats, and nuts. Beat until thoroughly blended.Drop by teaspoonfuls, about 1 ½ inches apart on ungreased cookie pans. Bake in a moderately hot oven (350F) about 15 minutes.
09 . 10 . 12
We’re scraping together some semblances of rhythm and routine around these parts. Week to week, there is almost nothing that resembles our old life in San Diego let alone the day we cut a check for the new lease. I just rolled the dice in June and haven’t stopped throwing them up to the sky since. There have been a few Sunday mornings reading the Times, cutting out articles that inspire over a hearty breakfast and a few cups of coffee, but haven’t exactly found that same sort of grounding consistency of days past that puts our souls at ease. No complaints, none at all. Just an observation. All summer long we’ve bounced around the country and this new place rounding up jobs and memories. Not busy, just full. I might be maxing out on stimulation here, the months of activity and new-ness since our move is starting to catch up with me I think. I feel it in my knees. I see it under my eyes. I anticipate (I hope) that when Autumn arrives at the end of the month we will have found or created some balance for our weeks.
There was time for a bit of cake this weekend. Oh, and a glacier. That was nice.
And so were your comments from the last post. Boy, just floating on all that love and good energy. Thanks guys.
- 2 cups Gluten Free or AP Flour
- 1 cup Almond Meal
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 6 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sucunat sugar
- 1 cup melted, lukewarm coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 cup canned light coconut milk
- 2 baskets green figs
- 2 cups cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- juice of 2-3 lemons
dairy free option
- 2 cups soaked cashews
- 1/2 + cup coconut milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 drop almond extract
- 1/2 cup brown rice syrup or Grade B maple syrup
- juice of one lemon
Preheat oven to 350′ F. In a medium bowl combine flour, almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon, a salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, lightly beat 6 eggs until just broken up. Add sugar, coconut oil, vanilla, almond extract, and coconut milk one item at a time, mixing lightly between each addition, until combined. Fold in flour mixture to liquid one cup at a time, stirring lightly until just blended. Grease bundt pan with coconut oil or butter, dusting with flour to coat and prevent sticking. Pour in batter slowly and distribute evenly. Bake for 45-55 minutes until it passes the toothpick test. Let the cake cool for 30 minutes before trying to remove. TRUST.
Cut fresh figs in quarters or halves, toss with sugar. Set aside.
For the cream cheese frosting, beat blocks of cream cheese in a stand mixer for 2-3 minutes. As it begins to smooth out, add powdered sugar (I make my own in my blender using turbinado sugar), vanilla, and lemon juice. Beat together. Taste. Does it need more lemon? More sugar? Adjust to taste. If you’d like to achieve the drippy look on the bundt cake, add a bit of coconut milk or water to thin.
Cashew frosting: use this technique, but add vanilla, almond extract, maple syrup while blending or after straining.
Pour frosting into a piping bag, or, as I did, into a large ziploc bag with a hole cut in the corner. Drizzle generously over the bundt. Top with sugared figs.
04 . 15 . 12
Strawberry Basil Scones
The rope that tethers me to this place, this time, is growing thinner with each day approaching the big move (42, who’s counting). Things feel different, everywhere. My running route, the struggle to find parking on campus, our favorite restaurants, the farmers market, even the beach. It’s as if my mind has begun the emotional preparations for a new normal by disassociating from the old. More frequently now I find myself caught in the ordinary moments with a feeling of being there, but not really there in the ways I once was.
I drive through parts of town and see the places I lost myself, the places I really found myself. I see Shaun and I, younger, and the memories made in our relentless itch for growth and exploration. Everywhere there is a cacophony of light and dark, joy and pain, laughter and tears. It feels sorta supernatural. Hard to describe.
Standing at the edge of the shore this morning, I looked up to the clouds barreling across the sky after the good storm we had the past few days and felt an extraordinary sense of gratitude for the time, for the place — for all that it gave, for all that it took away. Four years have come and gone. I’m a different person now. I hope a better one. And it’s time. Time to let new faces and new seasons to teach me more about myself, more about the world.
The strawberries will be missed, California. But I’m so ready for new adventures.
- 2 ½ cups flour (I used a GF blend)
- 2 tbsp turbinado sugar
tbsp baking powder
- ½ cup cold coconut oil or butter, cut into chunks
- 1 + cup chopped fresh strawberries
tbsp minced basil
- ½ cup full fat coconut milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl stir together the dry ingredients. Scoop out or cut in butter or coconut oil. Stir in minced basil and hulled, and quartered strawberries. In a medium bowl stir together eggs and the milk. (Cream, half and half, or regular milk would work here too.) Add egg mixture to flour mixture in one pour. Stir together until completely moistened, using your hands when necessary.
Turn out onto a parchment covered baking sheet. Press into a 1” thick circle. Cut into 8 wedges. Brush with extra milk and sprinkle with sugar. If you use butter instead of coconut oil, place baking sheet with cut wedges in the freezer for up to 20 minutes before baking. It will make them magically fluffier and more scone-y. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending. Finish with a good dollop of local honey or clotted cream.
03 . 11 . 12
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”
Jack Kerouac, On The Road
These ginger cookies are for you, you with the fire in your belly. For you who has a burning thing inside your being that says “you must create, you must go, you must love, you must dive head first, you must stand up, you must be brave, you must not be afraid to fail.”
Feed and surround yourself with the fuel that lights up your soul. People. Places. Things. Thoughts. Torch it all. It’s the one true thing you really have to offer this world. Don’t let others put it out. But more importantly, don’t get in your own way by worrying what others will think of that brain you were given, that heart that beats loudly in your chest, that burning thing you’ve cultivated and believed in. Throw it out and set it all aflame. Watch it glow. Watch it spread. Watch it change this world.
Ginger Oat Cookies
slightly adapted from Jude Blereau
- 1/2 cup dried dates, chopped
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 3/4 cup cooked oatmeal
- 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup glacé (crystalized) ginger, chopped
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs
Preheat the oven for 350.’ Cook the oatmeal on a stovetop first 1/2 cup of oats to 1 cup water. Set aside, let cool. Soak the dates in 1/4 of extra hot water, and mash with a fork. Add the vanilla to the date paste when room temp.
In a large bowl, combine oats, oatmeal, nuts, and ginger. Add mashed up dates/vanilla as well as the coconut oil, brown rice syrup, and eggs. Mix together with your hands until well combined and coated. Mixture will feel wet and not overly sticky. Shape into balls and place onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned on the edges and top.
More on the cake-y side than in cookie camp. I think these would make excellent morning-0n-the-run bars if pressed into a 8×8 pan and cut into squares.
02 . 06 . 12
Even after all this time,
the Sun never says to the Earth,
“you owe me.”
Look what happens with a love like that.
It lights the whole sky.
The words can’t quite come together for this one. Better not to force it. Alas, there is cake. Beet Cake. A bit more on the earthy side then carrots are to carrot cake, the beet variety with the added texture of the seeds and sweetened with brown rice syrup makes a more lasting impression than the former. Add a drizzle of the orange-poppy glaze to make it dessert, or enjoy plain with coffee in the morning. Red beets immediately stain the batter, but once baked you’ll cut into a fabulous rainbow assortment of color and texture.
Beet, Seed, and Blood Orange Cake
Adapted from Tender by Nigel Slater
- 1 3/4 cups gluten free flour blend
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- scant tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 cup walnut oil
- 1 cup brown rice syrup
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups raw red beets, shredded
- juice of 1 blood orange
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup mixed seeds (flax, sunflower, pumpkin)
Blood Orange, Poppy Seed Glaze
- 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
- juice of 1 blood orange
- poppy seeds
Preheat the oven to 350′ and prepare a loaf pan with oil and line with parchment. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat together the oil and brown rice syrup. Mix in the eggs one at a time. Grate the beets and fold into the mixture, adding the blood orange juice, seeds, and raisins accordingly. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Slowly fold into the wet ingredients. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes. Test with a toothpick around 50 min to test for doneness. Let cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.
For the glaze, simply mix together brown rice syrup, juice and a bit of zest of a blood orange, and a few shakes of poppy seeds in a small jar. Set in the fridge while the cake bakes to serve chilled and thickened later.