There are days, afternoons, evenings when I simply want all of my chickens and the rooster home…but I want to be left alone.
No extraneous chicken friends. Just the 5 of us. Here in our coop.
And I don’t want to play Candy Land. And I don’t want to have Family Movie Night. I don’t want to sit around the kitchen table and have a meaningful conversation.
I just want to do “my thing.” Alone.
And at this moment, I’m not concerned with the amount of TV they’ve watched this week or how many video games they’ve played. Whether or not they’ve had enough fresh air or eaten enough servings of fruits and vegetables.
I just want them to be occupied. Quietly. Without needing me.
And, I want to be able to unwrap my new kitchen wall clock. The one I finally decided upon after years…yes, years….of contemplating this purchase. And I want to unwrap it, brush it off and hang it without any “help”. Just me and the clock.
And I want to happily enter “To Dos” into my recent discovery. That discovery being Things. A “To Do List Lover’s” nirvana. And I want to do this with out any video game sound effects or 30-sec blips of music coming from the computer next to me.
And I want to step out the front door without having to watch for bikes and scooters and take note that while the rest of the country is under a blanket of snow, here, it’s beginning to look like spring. I want to notice the green shoots that will grow into daffodils pushing their way up through the ground. I want to breath in the faint perfume in the air. And admire the rhodies with their first blush of pink.
And I want to bake a cake. A simple cake. With cherries and almonds. Not one with a lot of pomp and circumstance.
(Although, if I were looking for a chocolate cake that was the most incredible tasting cake I had ever tasted and came with plenty of pomp and circumstance…well, then I wouldn’t make a cake. I would order one up from talented Mary over at Sweet Ambrosia. And no, she didn’t pay me to say that, but I’m sayin’ it because it is 100% true.)
But since I just want a simple cake. One to go with a cup of tea or a piping hot cup of coffee. I’ll make it myself. And I want to be left alone. To listen to my music. Over and over again. And get lost in my thoughts as I mix and stir.
But, you see, I want them home. My chickens, that is. And the rooster.
I don’t want to worry.
I want to be left alone, to do “my thing” and I don’t want to worry.
I don’t want to worry that my littlest guy is running around at recess with his shoes untied, once again. And worrying that today is the day he’s going to trip on those laces and scrape up his face.
And I don’t want to worry that my middle guy, who is all things speed, is going to come screaming down the driveway on a motorized go-cart and continue down the street where he might possibly slam into a mailbox or worse yet, an on-coming car. Prickles of panic start to wash over me when I envision those possiblities.
And I don’t want to worry about how nervous my teenager is or whether she stumbled over her words or somehow embarrassed herself. The teenager who left the house flustered and almost in tears because she had a speech to give that day at school.
And I especially don’t want to worry about the plane the rooster is boarding. Will it make it to its destination? Will there be turbulence? Bad weather? Ice on the wings? Ice on the runway?
I don’t want that.
Which is why, I just want them all here. Safe and sound. Sittin’ in front of a TV even.
can just do “my thing”,
A Modest Little Almond and Cherry Cake
I have to admit I’m not one to eat a lot of cake. Most days, I’d rather have pie. But for some reason, I got the hankering for a slice of cake. A simple one. No frosting. Not a lot of special preparations or precise measurements. Something to go with a cup of tea. Or a piping hot cup of coffee with plenty of half-and-half. And so I came up with this one. It’s hard to beat cherries and almonds together. And the rooster told me I could make this for him anytime he loved it so.
3/4 cup whole almonds, toasted
1 1/4 c all-pupose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 c sugar
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 c milk
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 c chopped, dried cherries
1/2 c sliced almonds, toasted
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan. Or if you’re like me and don’t own a cake pan, flour and butter a deep pie plate.
Put your whole almonds in a food processor and pulse the machine until the nuts are finely ground. Transfer the nuts to a medium bowl. Add your flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine and then, set aside.
In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture becomes pale and yellow. Add the butter, milk and almond extract. Stir to combine. With a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the cherries. Then, gently add your dry ingredients. Pour the batter into your prepared cake (or pie) pan. Evenly sprinkle the 1/2 c of sliced almonds over the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Then, loosen the edges with a knife. Flip the cake onto a cake stand. Take a few steps back to admire your heavenly creation. Then, slice and serve while still a bit warm. Enjoy.
Yield: One 9-inch cake….
Thank you, thank you…a million Thank You’s….to all of you who purchased La Pomme de Portland calendar(s) in December. All the checks are in, the numbers have been tallied and through your generosity the calendars profited $1500.00…which means I was able to send a check off to the Oregon Food Bank and the Northwest Sarcoma Foundation for $750.00 each. I am humbled. Thank you….
Super Bowl Menu Ideas
And just in case you have decided to host a Super Bowl Party on Sunday but are still undecided about what to make….
Here’s a menu direct off La Pomme de P:
App: Cowboy Caviar with tortilla chips
Main Course: Lighten Up Chili, Greens with Homemade Vinaigrette, a fresh baguette
Dessert: Vanilla Ice Cream and NYT Chocolate Chip Cookies
And if you do seriously consider making the Chocolate Chip cookies, make them today. Right now. Get going. By the time the big game rolls around the ingredients will have had the perfect amount of resting time. Your guests will think they’ve died and gone to cookie heaven.
And just in case you were hoping for even more Super Bowl inspiration, my friend Lori, over at RecipeGirl, has gone to extreme lengths to round up 101 Best Super Bowl Recipes on the Internet. Go Lori!
A Quick Little Note
I finally put together a Recipe tab at the top of this here website. A few of you gently mentioned to me that it was challenging to find past recipes here on LPdeP. I hope this helps. Let me know if it does.
I also added a tab for AM Northwest since a few of you Portlanders have kindly been asking me for the dates of my next appearances. I’ve now gathered that all in one place as well as videos from my past appearances.
So I decided last week that I was rushing things a bit and needed to take a week for mental planning as in….Where will I put the items I haul out of the under-stairs closet? So my revised schedule for organizing goals looks like this:
Jan 24-30: Mentally prepare to pull items out of closet.
Jan 31-Feb 6: Pull half the items out.
And Just Because…
I can’t get enough of this talented gal’s desktop calendars, here’s Shanna Murray’s latest:
which you can download here.
And which Shanna collaborated on with one of my favorite food and design bloggers, Nikole Herriott at Forty-Sixth and Grace.
Whew! That’s all for this week! xo
All original text and photographs copyright: Carrie Minns 2009-2011