Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Nobska Point Lighthouse, Woods Hole

I think my Nana would have been impressed with this photo. I took it during Spring Break last week. Friends invited us to meet them at a park near here and I grabbed the image while driving by in the car. (I stopped in the road for a quick minute.)
Nana passed away about thirteen years ago now-I remember it by counting my son's birthday. She died as he was being born. She died just as cell phones and constant Internet connections exploded. I can picture the conversation. "Nana. take a look at this picture-I took it with my cell phone". Her reply, "Really?"

Monday, April 28, 2008


‘If you can neither accept it or change it, try to laugh at it.’
Ashleigh Brilliant

I know I've heard it said about Cape weather that if you don't like what's happening outside just wait-it's about to change. Our long and steady streak of pretty days gave way to a rainy and cold Monday. Naturally my youngest daughter and I were out at the library only wearing our flip flops and a t-shirt when the clouds began to darken and the drops began to fall.
Like most things that seem hard at the time-it wasn't easy for us to laugh at it this morning while we were being drenched and feeling cold- but later in the day as we snuggled on the couch together reading our borrowed books could we give the whole thing a smile.
Aren't their so many things in life that seem so terrible or at least a burden at the time when only later do we go back and laugh at it all?
My oven has recovered from it's case of 'spring fever'. Just in time, I have all kinds of sweet treats ready to bake this week.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cape Cod in the Spring

It's spring fever. That is what the name of it
is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is
you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!

~Mark Twain

The weather has been so gorgeous here lately. We have been spending as much time as possible outdoors. This picture is from a beach we went to today in Dennis. I don't know what I am more impressed with: the quality of the picture from my simple cell or the way the water looks so inviting with the thin line of clouds above the horizon.
I gave my oven the day off today! I think it has a case of 'spring fever'.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

What is going in my oven later today? In a moment, but first..

Trying to convince my kids that a trip to the MFA will be fun is a little like trying to tell them that their pancakes will be just as good without the syrup. I am a brave soul and I wanted to expose them to something different. Besides with a week off -a foray into Boston from the Cape is a must.

I learned three things yesterday. In the music gallery I learned that Ben Franklin invented an instrument. It was glass housed in a wooden box. I learned that Antonio Lopez Garcia, an artist from Madrid, will put a painting away for up to a year if the lighting from the current season has altered dramatically. I also learned that you can get kids to do just about anything if you promise a trip to the museum cafe for desert.

I was impressed that Garcia would choose to do that with his paintings. I would worry that when I finally came back to the painting a year later I would no longer have the same passion I had for it the year before or I would look at it again and want to change it so much that their would be no point in continuing on that particular painting. I admire his commitment to the creative process. He seems to have an unusual trust in his work.

As for pancakes without syrup-I actually like them better that way. As for what is going into my oven today- lemon cakes and banana bread.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

View from South Cape Beach & Friends

My daughter and I took a quick trip to South Cape Beach yesterday. We walked for awhile. I found three of the most amazing shells. She had fun running along the shore. It's still a bit chilly down there but we bundled up in our sweatshirts and walked in the sand. Luckily she likes the beach as much as I do.

I had lunch with two girlfriends today. It was a nice break from my busy routine. Over the years, friends have always meant a lot to me. It's easy to get busy and overlook people that matter to us.

I am making soft lemonade cookies later today. We have company coming for dinner tomorrow night and I know they will like the refreshing treat. It's a super simple recipe with frozen lemonade concentrate as the suprise ingredient.
Sometimes all it takes is a quick dose of the little things: walk on the beach, time with friends and good cookies.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Garlic Potato Biscuits & Dipping Cookies in Chocolate

I made Garlic Potato Biscuits yesterday. Yum!

You have to like a denser biscuit-these are not light and fluffy but they taste delicious especially if you eat them warm from the oven. I served them with a Chicken Alfredo Casserole.

And, I had a batch of cookies left over from the weekend and some leftover melted chocolate from a chocolate cake I'd baked early Monday morning. I decided to dip my cookies into the chocolate. I had white and milk chocolate available for dipping. I placed half of the cookie into the chocolate and let harden. Talk about a match made in heaven.

Recipe for Garlic Potato Biscuits

large potato (peeled, diced)
4 garlic cloves
1/3 c butter softened
tsp salt
tsp pepper
2 c flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/3 c milk

Boil the potato and the garlic in a saucepan until tender then drain. Add the butter and mash. In a medium bowl stir the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Add the potato mixture until mixture is crumbly. Add milk, stir well. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a 1/2 in. cutter (Or simply use the top of a 2 glass or cup to make shape). Bake on ungreased baking sheet for 12 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Van Gogh, cookies, cookies & more cookies

"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together."~ Van Gogh

My husband and I went to see a performance last night called "Inventing Van Gogh." It was good-the play was complex but it was done so well that you could easily follow the shifts and turns of the drama.

They're so many sad details about the life of Van Gogh and yet he was incredibly talented and prolific in his painting output-over 400 paintings in ten years. I'd say that's an example of 'great things being done by a series of small things'.

I have been baking cookies each day this week. I am trying new samples to ready myself for summer baking and pulling together samples for a potential client's wedding. Each day I throw into my oven a different recipe-by week's end I have five different samples ready to be tested. These small things brought together have made my family happy this week too. Naturally, they are available to sample taste test for me.

I have samples of chocolate truffle cookies, hazelnut shortbread, super chunky chocolate, white chocolate and sugar cookies. I wouldn't claim this to be 'great' but by baking even a little each day I can stay on top of my baking responsibilities while keeping my family happy too.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

From Scratch

I love the phrase-from scratch. What it usually refers to in baking is when you make a cake or cookie recipe with the bare basics not a mix of any kind. It usually requires a little extra effort too.

You take butter, flour, sugar, baking soda, etc and mix it together to form something that will end up as a handmade cake, cookie or bread loaf. Their is a certain 'science' involved in baking from scratch. I feel good when I make something this way- it's pure and basic and an added sense of pride about what was made.

All my baked goods for sale are made from scratch except one recipe that I begin with a 'mix'. I always add the very best butter and freshest eggs and milk or cream to it. Once in a while if I am in a rush and we are having company or the kids need something for their lunch I might start something from a box.

They're some really good recipes where you begin with a 'box' too it's just as a baker I feel I've 'cheated' a little if I use a box to get the recipe started.

In my baking class we made all our treats from scratch except for the very last night. We were trying to conserve time because we were planning a party at the end of the evening and I also thought it would be fun to show them that sometimes it's worth it to start with a box mix like the tasty Chocolate Almond Biscotti we made that night started from a simple brownie mix. That recipe makes up for it in the extra time needed to bake the Biscotti twice then melt and drizzle the chocolate.

They're other things we do 'from scratch' too. Like my husband and I started our family 'from scratch'. We moved across country and started a new life here 'from scratch' after being away for ten years. And I started my baking business 'from scratch'.

Doing something (anything) from scratch implies that little extra effort or attention that turns something from just OK to extra-ordinary.
It's raining on the Cape. I am going to make Hazelnut Shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate today (from scratch).