Category Archives: Holidays

‘Land that I love’

GOD BLESS AMERICA

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‘A Christmas Memory’…Day 4

Day 4

…holes poked generously into each cooled loaf

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eight cakesdampened with whiskey’ wait on the kitchen table

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 to be carefully wrapped (but not before a sample is shared!), first in waxed paper, then foil; then to be stored for months and months to allow the flavors to mellow, ripen.

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‘in four days our work is done’ but the memories will last forever!

Thank you, Cousin John!

and Bridget, Joe and Ellen, and now Zach for allowing me to share in the memories and the love!

 

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‘A Christmas Memory’…Day 3 continued

Day 3

parchment paper cut to size

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pans buttered

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paper in place

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dough added

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ready for baking at 275 degrees for hours and hours

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‘melting nose-tingling odors saturate the kitchen, suffuse the house’

then cooled until….

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Day 4

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‘A Christmas Memory’…Day 3

Day 3

‘Eggbeaters whirl, spoons spin round bowls of butter and sugar, vanilla sweetens the air, ginger spices it;’

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‘…and oh so much flour, butter, so many eggs, spices, flavorings…’

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batter is mixed with fruit

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pecans and walnuts are added

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ready to be ladled into waiting pans……..

Day 3.to be continued

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‘A Christmas Memory’…Day 2

Day 2

John:  ‘when the cake is sliced, I want it to look like a stained glass window’.

‘Cherries and citron…and canned Hawaiian pineapple, rinds and raisins….’

  fruit of all colors combined in a large bowl

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whiskey added… (no need to visit Mr. Haha Jones, the whiskey is in the pantry)

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and the Amaretto

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and the Triple Sec Orange

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all stirred together,

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left to marinate overnight, until…

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Day 3

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‘A Christmas Memory’ in May

‘Oh my, it’s fruitcake weather!’

Not a comment I expected to hear on a steamy May morning in Austin!  Not simply a comment, but a quote from ‘A Christmas Memory’, Truman Capote’s memoir of his early childhood in Alabama…the reading of this short story on Christmas Eve, a tradition for Cousin John and his family.  Again sharing a family tradition (see Christmas Pizzelle in May), John read the story to me….

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then, of course, it was time to make fruitcake!!!!….as in Capote’s story, a four day event.

Day 1

With the basic recipe in his head, John peruses old family cookbooks for current inspiration…

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even the pictures are inspiring.

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A carefully considered, comprehensive shopping list is drafted.  Although we did not collect ‘windfall pecans in the buggy’ from a neighbor’s orchard, I felt a kinship with Buddy’s cousin as I rifled through the pile of out-of-season items at the supermarket, looking for green candied cherries.

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Once home, ingredients are assembled…..

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ready for Day 2!

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Christmas Pizzelle in May

At times, circumstance dictates the rhythm of life.  Passing on a family tradition is appropriate whenever the opportunity presents itself…..’strike while the iron is hot’….the pizzelle iron that is!

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Original family recipe – Cousin Joe calls this the Depression Pizzelle  – note the ‘fat content’:  butter, margarine and shortening used to make a total of 12 ounces of fat…when butter was expensive and perhaps in short supply.

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 Cousin John’s amended recipe using all butter:

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Served with a glass of Amaretto on a May afternoon in Austin……….lovely and delicious!!!

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Postcard from the Lane

California Christmas quirky

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Christmas granola

When it comes to granola, I am a bit of a purist….homemade, crunchy, mildly sweet, with simple rather than complex flavors.  While visiting a friend’s daughter’s home in Cincinnati some time ago, I sprinkled her granola over some Greek yogurt for breakfast:  love at first bite!!!

Having made it several times since, I decided to give this batch a Christmas spirit, while still keeping its flavors distinct, if a bit exotic.

To three cups uncooked oats

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add a big handful of raw almonds, chopped; along with a handful of another nut, such as walnuts or pecans, also chopped

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add one third cup olive oil,

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crushed cardamom seed to taste,

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almond extract to taste,

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and brown sugar.

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Mix well; place on baking sheet in 325 degree oven until all ingredients are browned and nuts are toasted, turning often.

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store in mason jars with tight fitting lids

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in the pantry.

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enjoy!!!

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Postcard from another stage

Granddaughter ‘Lucy’ in A Charlie Brown Christmas

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