Wednesday, July 23, 2014

S'mores Layer Cake (and a five-year-old birthday)


I should admit it: I made a S'mores Layer Cake for Cedar's birthday out of guilt. I was trying to abate the feeling that I have robbed him of the cool things of childhood. The bags of candy. The television. The noodles and the juice. This is the kid who eats kale for breakfast. By choice. This is the kid I insist balance "all that fruit" with a healthy handful of cashews, "so you don't get a sugar overload." And as of a few days ago, he didn't even know what graham crackers were.

But he turned 5 on Friday. In just one month he will be walking into kindergarten. And though mostly I am just deeply thankful the earliest years are over, that we have the kid's science museum and California history and lunch boxes (!) in our immediate future, I'm also way too aware of all I failed at these five years. Too many times when I said "no." Too many times didn't let him try and make a mess. Too little focus on the process.

 

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Farmers Guild Potluck and The Brown Butter Mace Cake

It is Monday night: I slip a version of this Brown Butter Mace Cake onto the passenger seat of my car, and I drive east to my first Farmers Guild potluck. It is a luring evening, uncharacteristically humid and partly cloudy, with a soft, hopeful  haze.

I've been thinking of going to a Guild potluck since I heard of the gathering a few months ago. The gist: farmers need camaraderie and resources, young farmers need insight and experiential wisdom, and first generation young farmers need all the help they can get. And because I've heard some good things about The Farmers Guild, and because a few of my farmer friends were going, I baked a cake, arranged a sitter, and got in the car. This is no small feat.
 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Freedom Party Lemon-Sour Cream Pound Cake

I'm not usually organized enough to post a recipe that coincides with any holiday, but here I am, pound cake in hand, and it is a whole 36 hours before the fireworks are official. This cake was not on my radar at all. It was just one of eleven pound cakes I baked off in preparation for my parents' "Freedom (retirement) Party" last weekend. I was initially more excited about the brown butter cakes I (re)discovered, but everyone else kind of devoured this one. And golly-gee, as I have nibbled over the leftovers these last couple days, bite by bite, this lemon-sour cream pound cake has wriggled its lemony way in to my own home baker's heart, too.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Chocolate Cake with Basil Buttercream and Blackberries

I'm sitting here in my running pants, the vestiges of my mother's birthday party (two weeks ago) still bopping around the lower living room, and instead of cleaning them up or showering or getting on with my day, I am reliving the edible components of my own birthday: a chocolate cake, with basil buttercream, and blackberries. Nothing like a run to get your priorities straight.



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Lemon-Lime Layer Cake with Raspberries

Last Friday night we had this Lemon-Lime Layer Cake, with Raspberries. I made it for my mother, whose birthday was soon, and for my Nana and Papa, whose anniversary was sooner, and for my uncle and his wife and their four beautiful daughters, my cousins, who were all out for a visit from Georgia. I wanted something fit for all of these occasions, something whimsical and fun but still mine to give, and since my mother has been wanting lemon everything these past few years, and since one birthday cake is never enough (her real birthday cake coming soon) this citrus number was the celebration cake du jour.

Lemon-Lime Layer Cake with Raspberries

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Repertoire: Curried Chicken Salad

It was the curried chicken salad recipe I thought of first. Back when we lived in Vancouver and I was catering a bit I did so with my friend and partner, Sarah. She is the one who came up with most of the savory items we served. Glory and revelation! She was amazing at the simple, nourishing bits of life. Think humus and salad and muffins. I was beyond envy. And thankfulness. (We made a great team.)

When it came time for a baby shower tea the last spring we were in Canada, Sarah and I decided on a version of these sandwiches. Now, I had missed the concept of chicken salad altogether until Sarah came along, definitely. Everyone made chicken salad. Why should we? But then tea time came, and Sarah convinced me. Chicken salad in any form is a classic and nothing to be ashamed of, and a curried version is just as worth keeping in your quiver.  

Tea sandwich closeup on plate

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Some good reason: First Annual Good Humus Mother's Day Tea

I approached them, that's how it happened. One early March morning I stood at their market table, leaning over bouquets of red-stemmed chard and little bundles of mint, and I asked. Did they have any events up their sleeves? Did they need any help? Did they need someone like me? I had been thinking about baking and catering and stepping out into the world again, and it just so happened they did have plans. They did need my help. The timing, heavens-to-Betsy, was perfect.