Who doesn’t love sweet winter oranges, especially when said oranges are zested and the tequila-sunrise-colored juice is hand-squeezed into a glass measuring cup – a few splashes of orange oil ripple towards the edge like ink dots. Fresh-from-the-farm eggs whipped with sugar become light and airy; flour is added in alternating batches with the juice and batter is ribboned into a loaf pan and baked.
Until a year ago, I had only used persimmons as table decorations but had never actually tasted a persimmon – even though I’ve lived here in Indiana for almost 20 years and persimmons are well-known in these parts. We’d tucked some pulp away in the freezer and The Professor found a recipe he wanted to try – I was more than a little suspicious but he forged ahead and I am now happily eating my words . . . uhm . . . pudding.
How’s your summer so far? While the calendar says that summer has indeed begun, our weather has not quite cooperated – the rain has been relentless with flooding and I swear the kamakaze mosquitos fly in formation with me as their number one target – oof!
I have dreamed, thought, considered, planned – whatever verb you choose – to bake a Buche de Noel for many, many years; always deciding that baking one would be far too much work, far too complicated and far out of my reach in terms of decorating something that fancy. In other words, fear of failure kept me from attempting something I’d really wanted to do for a very long time. So why in the world would I attempt to make a gluten-free Buche de Noel now? Chalk it up to . . . age.
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Musical pairing – “Imagine” by John Lennon
NOTE: I meant to post this last week but in the midst of attending Big Traveling Potluck in Los Angeles, I completely forgot; the cake is still fabulous – I really hope you’ll bake one!
Sometimes one just needs cake or rather one needs to be in the kitchen baking anything – cookies, pie, tarts or in this case, a cake. I know that I’m with the rest of the world when I say last week was an incredibly stressful one.
For more years than I care to admit, I’ve carried yellowing, smudged, brittle and torn recipe pages up and down the West coast, then to the Midwest – always tucked inside a bulging 3-ring recipe binder that is home to hundreds of other recipes I’ve collected over the years. Like old, worn, favorite toys scattered about in a child’s room, these recipes have been ripped from newspapers and magazines, scribbled on scraps and bits of paper, napkins, the backs of envelopes and, during those times I was organized, real recipe cards. Whenever I’m feeling nostalgic, I plop that 3-ring binder on the dining room table and pour over these old recipes until I find one that fits my mood as well as the occasion.
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Musical pairing – Here We Go Again by Ray Charles with Norah Jones
Guys, I’m going to out myself here and say that I am bone-tired. My brain is fried, my body’s ‘get-up-and-go, got-up-and-went;’ I’m staring at a calendar that says next week is Thanksgiving, four weeks later it’s Christmas, then New Year’s . . . and hello 2013. Hold me, I’m having a Linda Blair moment . . .
Musical pairing – Human by Jon McLaughlin
When I asked The Professor for his advice on which angle to write this post . . . his reply was, ‘What about how much of a struggle the recipe was?’ To which I said, ‘Oh, you mean from the point of my failures?’ He then said, ‘I don’t like using the word ‘failure’ . . . I prefer the word . . . ‘challenging” . . . well alrighty then . . . let’s just say that the recipe was ‘challenging’ and at the end of it all, I had one ‘failure’ . . . of epic proportions . . .
Musical pairing – Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves by Aretha Franklin (with The Eurythmics)
‘An Adventure to the Classics‘ – As kids, my sister and I fell into two camps. I was the adventurous eater, my sister the picky one. I would pile on the spicy Indian sauces whereas my sister wouldn’t eat jelly on her peanut butter sandwiches. I’m sure I made a nuisance of myself as a preachy big sister, always insisting that the broccoli really was good, or that only fraidy-cats wouldn’t try gyros.
Musical pairing – Blueberry Hill by Fats Domino
August. It’s now August. And at the end of this week, I’ll be boarding a plane that will fly me to Pennsylvania to meet a group of people I’ve only ‘met’ on Twitter to attend a one-day blogging workshop. And I’ll be flying without The Professor – the first time I’ve done that since 9-11. And to add insult to injury, I will be renting a car, then driving about 23 miles in a State that I’ve never been in, to a house I’ve never seen, meeting people I’ve only met on Twitter – did I mention that? I’m sure they’re nice in person because they’re nice on Twitter, but still . . . never. actually. met. them. And I’m directionally-challenged. Because everyone who knows me, knows that any way I happen to be facing is North. You can begin praying now but especially on Friday and then really pray in earnest on Saturday. And if you don’t hear from me by Tuesday of next week, can someone please call The Professor and let him know I’ve gone missing? Thank you.
Musical pairing – If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d Have Baked A Cake by Eileen Barton
This post is a labor of love, and by that I mean that I count myself very fortunate to have married into one of the best families ever – and that includes my cousins on the Green side: Liz, Brenda, David and Andrea. We don’t see each other very often even though we live relatively close, but Facebook has kept us connected – which is how I ended up with this recipe and the memories that come with it.