Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pumpkin Love

Blessed cool has arrived in Georgia, at least in the evenings. There is so much inspiration in a change of weather. Feelings of revitalizaton, renewal and energy. Going along with these happy emotions are creative desires to get back into the kitchen and bake. I made some pumpkin scones the other day which met with a happy reception and the spice in the glaze lingered on your tongue for a long while afterwards. Essential autumn in a bite.

Pumpkin Scones

1 cup white all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t each cinnamon, nutmet, cloves and ginger
1 stick of cold butter, cut into pats
a few teaspoons of half and half
1 egg

Mix everything together with mixer until it forms a mass. Pat into a flat circle with your hands, and place on cookie sheet which has been covered with parchment paper. Use a pizza wheel to put the circle into wedge shapes. Bake in 425 oven for 15 or so minutes, watching - do not let it get brown.

First glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1 T milk

Mix and spread by waving spoon back and forth across scones

Second glaze

1 cup powered sugar
2 T mil
1/4 t. each cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger

Mix and wave spoon the opposite direction over scones.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Food for a Funeral

There is a common human need to comfort with food when someone has died. The thinking goes that the bereaved have to eat and will not feel like cooking, and that nuturing is a quality I can fully understand, but what is appropriate to make? What would be palatable? I don't want to make something like fruit salad that would get watery in a day, or tossed salad that would wilt. Dessert seems cavalier - something sweet in such a bitter sad time. It is too hot for casseroles and it would be too heavy anyway. I am trying too think of the perfect dish that would be interesting enough to cause the family to consume it, for a second or two taking their minds away from their grief. I am putting too much into this process. I know I cannot do away with their mourning by feeding them, I cannot bring solace with food. All I can do is try. That is all we can do.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


While Carly Simon's song "Anticipation" was commercialized, I could relate to equating the song with food. Now when I hear it, I think more of longing for ketchup than love. Almost certainly that is a sign of aging.

The anticipation of a thing is really almost better than the thing itself; the longing for, the building up. My favorite time of the weekend is Friday night, or Saturday morning early before it all starts up and hurriedly rushes by, the happy freedom, the quiet joy of being at home with my sweet husband, life at my own pace. I have always been appreciative of domesticity and the joy in the simple life and that has not waned as I have gotten older.

I am anticipating a drippy Southern-style tomato sandwich on white bread for lunch that I will have to lean over the sink to eat. Although I am a born and bred Yankee, I have lived much more than half of my life in the South and truly enjoy more than a few Southern things - the aforementioned sandwich in particular. It must have mayo, and the bread has to be white (and I am a whole-grain girl through and through.) It is quintessential summer in the south.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cuke Explosion

We have been blessed with gifts of cucumbers from several friend's gardens, and just in time for the holiday weekend. Cucumber and yogurt is a natural and most refreshing combination - I am reminded of a cold soup that Crescent Dragonwagon describes in one of her cookbooks - they cuke and the yogurt pureed with onion and a touch of salt and pepper as an antidote to 95 degress and 100 percent humidity. I think I will also make my mom's summer salad of tomates and cukes cut into chunks with red onion and sour cream, or alternately oil and fig vinnegar.


Murphy, our golden retriever, and I go for an early morning walk every weekday, usually around 5:30. Pre-dawn is a peaceful time in our neighborhood, which is lit by streetlights and our neighbor's house lights. We take a slightly different route each morning because I tend to get bored, and for Murphy to get his share of assorted sniffs. We see rabbits almost every morning, and once we came upon two tiny bunnies in the center of a lawn, and they manically hopped in different directions when we went by. The birds are stirring and sleepily beginning their morning chorus, and the insect noises have settled down.

Just now we were coming towards home at the end of our walk, two houses away. Something - there! streaked across the street. I thought it was a small dog, but it was so stelthy and swift I was not sure. Then, in the yard next to me 15 feet away were two light animal figures. I had to squint to see, thinking that the silent creatures were small deer, but no! They were coyote, two of them calmly and silently exploring the yard just feet from me. They were not oblivious of our presence but were wholly unconcerned and continued their quiet quest for food. Then, ghost-like, they were gone.

We had heard that there were coyote in our area, which is an older, established neighborhood surrounded by some remaining farmland. Cats and small dogs have disappeared, and we get notices by email that we should be watchful, but to be see these beings was shocking. The sudden confrontation with the primal world out my doorstep on it's hunt.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Most Important Thing

There are so many elements that contribute to making a great dish and to being a thoughtful cook. Time is one element, but really it is not so important because I believe you can make the most exquisite grilled cheese sandwich. Quality, locally grown ingredients are paramount and nowadays most of us have access to farmer's markets with locally grown produce and interesting tidbits to pick up and experiment with - the jar of homemade jam, a great salsa, an odd melon you had never seen before. The local bookstore carries a super abundance and variety of cookbooks and cooking magazines sure to inspire you to creativity.

The real thing, the most important thing is care and love. Like any hobby or activity, one can just do it - we all need to eat for sustenance and you can mindless place food in mouth and chew. Ever since I became aware of good cooking and the creative process of planning, preparing and serving a great dinner or loaf of bread to my family, I have felt that there is nothing more satisfing I could do with myself. There is nothing so gratifying and whole-making as this endeveour. I love the act of it, the science of it, the healing nature and calming effect it has, and the sweet wholesomeness of being in my kitchen DOING. Life is very good.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Sanctity of Watermelon

I would like to sing an ode to the watermelon. On Saturday, K and I bought a watermelon at the farmer's market in town and bought it home with the other various vegetables and fruits we found. Last night after dinner, K cut it. From the moment he sliced it, from the sound it and the sweet fragrance, we knew this was it. Like the Polar Express cry "The First Present of Christmas!", everything about this watermelon sang "The Best Melon of Summer!" It was perfectly sweet and red, none of that tang and white-pinkness associated with a non-ripe melon, and the crunch was firm and refreshing. It was remarkable also in that it was seedless because usually seedless watermelons are less sweet. It will be breakfast and lunch because we could not let this perfection sit in the refridgerator and turn to watery slush. Summer distilled into the essence of a square bite of melon.