Tag Archives: red

Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries

My Gramps used many expressions typical of his generation.  Among them were “Now we’re cookin’ with gas,”  ”The early bird gets the worm,” and “Life is just a bowl of cherries.”  He made reference to the bowl of cherries — with a big dimpled smile on his face — whenever things were going particularly well for him.  His cheerfulness, however, left me a bit confused about the true meaning of the phrase, as I was more accustomed to hearing it used by the cynical members of my family who — when things were not looking up — were likely to rephrase the idiom along the lines of “Life’s a real bowl of cherries, isn’t it.”  The lesson I eventually learned from the experience was that the glass of life is almost always both half full and half empty . . . but a bowl of cherries is something to savor no matter what.

Bowl of Cherries

Strawberry Almond Cake

It is often said that cooking is art, but baking is science.  The reasoning behind the statement is that there’s a wide margin of error in cooking, thus leaving plenty of room for creativity without ruining a dish.  Baking, however, requires precise measuring, weighing, and timing in order to yield a result worth bragging about.  That’s not to say, however, that there isn’t a bit of room for improvisation in the world of baking.  This strawberry almond cake is a good example of just that.  The recipe required milk, for which I substituted tangier buttermilk, and walnuts, for which I substituted almonds.  Then, because I had some beautiful fresh strawberries from the farmers market, I sliced those in half and placed them with the almonds in the bottom of the pan before adding the batter.  The result was so delicious that I may go bake another as soon as I’m done writing this post.

Strawberry Almond Cake

Pappardelle with Beets & Greens

I love beets, but I rarely cooked them more than once a year because they can take seemingly forever to roast.  This year, however, my friend Heather asked me several times for instructions about cooking beets.  Her requests for advice made me wonder why I didn’t just boil them once in a while; after all, if boiled beets were good enough for my grandparents, why shouldn’t they be good enough for me?  To my great surprise and delight, I rediscovered that beets gently simmered in salted water until tender are absolutely delicious.  A dozen boiled baby beets ― and the sautéed beet greens ― made their way into a dish of homemade pappardelle last night, along with a bit of feta and some toasted pine nuts.  It was so wonderful that I’m sure I will make it often.  I have Heather to thank for that, and I can only hope she never stops asking me for culinary advice.

Pappardelle with Beets & Green

Pork Chops and Applesauce

In the very early ‘70s, there was a Brady Bunch episode in which the middle son, Peter, repeatedly praised “pork chops and applesauce” in his best Humphrey Bogart imitation. Though I was only about 10 years old at the time, not once since then have I ever eaten pork chops or apple sauce without fondly recalling that episode . . . and wondering why.

Pork Chops and Applesauce

Miniature Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

I used to own a rather large wholesale bakery.  Along with that, came the ownership of hundreds of cookie cutters of all shapes and sizes.  When I sold the bakery, I kept a box full of cookie cutters for my personal use.  This Valentine’s Day, I looked through the box for the large copper heart-shaped cutter, but it was nowhere to be found.  As I was cutting dozens of tiny hearts with the miniature cutter I finally located, I remembered why I hadn’t saved the large copper heart: on the day I sold the bakery, I had no one to love.

Photograph of Miniature Chocolate Shortbread Heart Cookies by Kate Adamick