Farm Fresh

… Fresh on to the farm. Here is an occassional chronicle of a new family in a small town.

New Years

It’s like I spent 2010 simultaneously morning the loss of my life in Seattle and getting to know my new son.  I spent most of my time in fear. Fear of losing the respect of my peers, fear of having gainful employment, fear of dropping the baby or looking away at the wrong moment.  Well, I feel those fears now turning into a more hopeful way. I’m ready now to look forward and commit to being here in gorgeous central Washington.  Opportunities are presenting themselves, we have a few we’re creating as well and Porter is crazy amazing.  When I look back on 2010 I see that despite my misgivings, apprehensions, etc we did better than alright, we did some beautiful things and I can only imagine what will come with more confidence and commitment.

I did jot down some thoughts to start off the new year:
wake up early
be less sensitive
make $
be nice
date for friends

Last year, Justin and I sketched out 2010. We haven’t formally done that yet, but already on the calendar are:
Justin solo show at PUNCH
Move to new house in town
Move my mom to Ellensburg
Celebrate Porter’s 1st birthday
Yoga retreat
Go to LA
Visit dad in Nicaragua
Start Etsy store
Research in town store (Farm Fresh)
Use the Vanagon
Join Arts Commission
Make gramma’s cookbook
Professional Development Blog
PUNCH nonprofit

Yikes! Let the fun begin!


Filed under: Random

butter & sugar

I spent my free time today starting to transcribe my grandmothers recipe cards.  I feel as though I’m evoking her, and the many meals she has cooked for our family, for strangers, for family friends over the years.  Only a few of them I have actually had myself.  Most are handwritten in her perfect cursive. Many are cut out from magazines or the result of trading recipes.  Apparently, before the internet or the use of copy machines and scanners, women would hand write or type multiple copies of recipes and share them. Sometimes the spelling is incorrect. I’m leaving some of those words to evoke the typed pages that couldn’t be corrected unless the entire recipe was retyped (ex: test is left where it was obviously meant to be taste). Similarly, there are different ways of noting a tablespoon and other measurements and often sentences are incomplete. Actually some recipes are incomplete, but to me that lends charm to these cards. And some of the ingredients I have never heard of, like nucoa. (Of all the types of margarine that are commonly available at a supermarket, Nucoa is the only type that is “true margarine”, that is, it contains absolutely no dairy products, such as minute qualities of whey or milk solids.)

Yesterday I went to a talk given by local artist Keith Lewis.  The President of the college asked him if, while making art, he learned more about the topic.  I see how this process of transcribing my grandmothers recipes is bringing me closer to my grandmother. I can only imagine what actually making them would be like. Not sure what I”ll do with these recipes, maybe a chapbook or a blog of them all. Below is one of my favorite recipes, which is also the cake my great-grandmother made my grandmother for her birthday.

Burnt-sugar Cake

½ cup shortening
1 1/2cups sugar
1 teasp. Vanilla
2 eggs
2 ½ cups sifted cake flour
3 teasp. Baking powder
½ teasp. Salt
¾ cup cold water
Burnt-sugar syrup

Cream shortening and sugar till light. Add vanilla, then eggs, one at a time, beating 1 min. after each. Sift together dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture alternately with water, beating smooth after each addition. Add 3 tablespoons Burnt-sugar Syrup. Beat thoroughly 4 minutes a t medium speed on electric mixer.

Bake in 2 greased and lightly floured 9 x 1 ½” round pans for about 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool. Fill with Date filling and frost with Burnt-sugar Frosting. See other side of this card.

Burnt-sugar Syrup
In heavy skillet melt (caramelize) 2/3 cup granulated sugar, stirring constantly. When a deep golden brown syrup, remove from heat. Slowly add 2/3 cup boiling water. Cook and stir until all caramelized sugar dissolves. Syrup for both cake and frosting.

Date-Nut Filling
Combine 1 ½ cups pitted dates, cut up, 1 cup water, 1/3 cup sugar, and ¼ teasp. Salt in a saucepan; bring to boiling. Cook and stir over low heat about 4 minutes or till thick. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. Fold in ¼ cup chopped walnuts. If desired, fold in ¼ c. Seven-Minute Frosting. Makes about 1 ½ cups.

Burnt-sugar Frosting
Prepare Seven-Minute Frosting decreasing granulated sugar to 1 ½ cups and water to ¼ cup. Substitute 3-4 tablespoons Burnt-sugar Syrup for corn syrup.

Filed under: Random