Monday, September 20, 2010

Apple-Hazelnut Bread = Autumn

There is just no denying that summer has come to a sorry end. Many Pacific Northwesterners are saying, "what summer" as it seems that we had only a handful of spectacularly warm, sunny days. 2010 has not been a great year for weather in these parts, but there are a few comforts that I enjoy now that my calendar month reads September and I'm bundled up in sweaters and leggings: Apple-Hazelnut bread and bold, red wine. I always know that my body is preparing for the shorter, darker days when I start craving hot-chocolate with whipped cream, red wines, and other comfort foods specific to the waning months of the year. I posted the following recipe a few years back, but because it is so delicious and simple and epitomizes Autumn like no other baked good, I thought I'd bring it back to the forefront of your minds. As I type this I have two loaves baking in the oven. They'll be ready in less than 30 minutes and you can guarantee that I'll be slathering a few slices with butter and fleur de sel as soon as they're out of the oven.

Apple-Hazelnut Bread

Adapted from Sabine Maharam

Serves 12

13 ounces apple (2 to 3 medium), peeled, cored and chopped into sticks 1/4 by 1/4 by 1 1/2 inch

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

Cooking-oil spray

1 cup whole hazelnuts

1/2 teaspoon ground clove

1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons dark rum

2 cups spelt flour

1 tablespoon baking powder.

1. In a large bowl, mix the apples and sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (Do not skip this process, as the apples will expel water, needed to moisten the bread.)

2. Preheat the oven to 360 degrees. Grease a 7-inch round springform pan or an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Stir the nuts, clove, cocoa and rum into the apple mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Add the flour to the apple mixture and stir until combined. Transfer the dough to the pan, pat down and bake for 70 minutes. Cool in the pan. If you like, serve with butter and fleur de sel.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Thank you to the New York Times magazine for last week publishing an excerpt of the following poem. I was so excited to try the accompanying recipe for tomatoes stuffed with cheese that I almost failed to read the article that went along with it. Glad I did, because I read just the beginning of this poem and knew I wanted more. I quickly googled Matthew Dickman and found the full poem. Here it is for you to enjoy. I read it aloud to Jim and we both sat there somewhat stunned and spellbound. That is what good writing is all about. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Matthew Dickman


Last night my neighbor was looking a little enlightened,
you know, the way bodies do
after spending the afternoon having sex
on an old couch while responsible people are suffering
with their clothes on in cubicles and libraries.
He had that look vegetables get
in really nice grocery stores where the tomatoes aren't just red
they're goddamn red!
He was like that. Like a glowing, off-the-vine Roma
sitting in his living room picking pineapple off a Hawaiian pizza
and telling me about his father who was a real mother
fucker. I ask him if he still loved his dad, or if he loved him more
now that he is dead. Sure, he says, I love anything that's dead.
Someone's hand floats up onto the beach
while the body is still lost below the current, a vase of lilacs
turned brown, the black archipelago of mourners marching
up the hill. My neighbor is there to greet each of them
with a box of chocolates and a barbershop quartet in the background.
When my father died, he says opening a beer, he was no longer
my father. He was no longer a man. It's easy to love things
when they're powerless, like children and goldfish.

This is the way with enlightened people. They say things
that are so infuriatingly simple when the world is not.
So I put down my Pepsi and pull out the big card.
What about Hitler? I ask. You can't love Hitler!
My neighbor puts a piece of pineapple on his tongue like a sacrament,
sucks the juice out of it, chews it up, then turns
his head slow like a cloud and says I can love anybody I feel like loving.
And I say that's ridiculous.
And he says what's ridiculous is that you don't. And there he is again,
shining in the grocery store, pulling the bow off
the heart-shaped candies and putting one softly into his father's mouth.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dork Fest, and Who is That Kid?

Well, it’s happened. I should have known. I’ve heard stories but never thought it would apply to me. “I’m not like that,” I scoffed. “I won’t ever forget,” I reasoned. “Hah!” says the universe. And so it is. The crime? I have boxes full of photos of Quinn and Logan as babies and toddlers and young aged school kids, and I can’t for the life of me tell who’s who in a good portion of them! I’ve even asked Q & L to help try and identify who’s who, and we still don’t have consensus! The farther away from their infancy we travel, the more elusive their identities become. The other affront?! Jim and I are looking OLDER. Umm, hello, when did those lines appear, and when did Jim get so much grey in his hair. This is that slow crawl to old age that you hear about but never believe. But photos don’t lie, especially photos that aren’t digitized and “photo shopped.” There is no denying that time has marched on, in spite of our acknowledgement or recognition. I guess the only positive in looking through boxes of old photos is seeing that at least my wardrobe has improved. Holy smokes I can’t believe my complete lack of style! And to think Jim still found reason to fall in love with me even though I was wearing oversized t-shirts and baggy jeans and those silly Dr. Marten knock-off brand boots. Can you say cringe fest! Yikes. And my hair! I was being butchered for years and he never said a word…Sweet man. Regardless of our complete lack of style and our inability to recognize our own children, looking through boxes of randomly sorted photos does remind me of how rich and full our lives have been, and for that I’m grateful. Even if I looked like a dork.