Monthly Archives: April 2012

Swedish almond cake…

So much good news! So little time!  So many babies coming, so many milestones, so many careers changing, so many creative projects moving forward, so many birthdays. I feel so lucky to be able to share in all these moments with the people who move and shape my world.  What I really wish however, is to be able to sit down with every, single, person…over coffee and cake…and just listen to their voice and hear the excitement and nervous energy…moving and shining forward. On this fantasy day we would probably start with a stroll along the sea because walking and talking are soul mates, then maybe we would dust our way through some antiques because…well…treasure hunting is about the journey. Finally, we would rest in the afternoon glow and through twilight and chat over strong Swedish coffee and some almond cake…then maybe switch to wine…because these moments are friendship.  I am missing your faces and selfishly want you all near all the time.  Cannot wait to welcome some new humans and and meet those who are already here, and mostly to share in your process.  Love! Congrats!

Swedish almond cake…

preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 ¼ cup flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

sift together and set aside

¾ cup organic cane sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp bitter almond extract*

1/3 cup almond paste (recipe follows)

1/2 cup melted butter, room temperature (I used salted)

cream ingredients together

Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until just combined.  Pour batter into a round 8” greased cake pan.  Bake until toothpick comes out clean, approximately 30 minutes.  Serve to friends over coffee or tea…and don’t forget to smile and gossip.

almond paste:

1 cup sliced, blanched almonds (skin on is fine)

¾ cup powdered sugar

½ tsp bitter almond extract

1 egg white

pinch of salt

combine all ingredients in a food processor until a smooth paste is formed, similar to an organic peanut butter texture.  Add more almonds as necessary to thicken up.

*The extract I use is a Swedish extract called Bitter-mandel, it is very strong and you only need a few drops. You will need more if you use regular almond extract.

Eat together, toast to each other, and share!

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Saimin with glass noodles and grilled veggies…

Our adventures on the Big Island- Hawai’i this past week falls somewhere between magical and breathtaking.  We hiked to volcanoes, across black lava flow, bathed in the sun on empty palmed beaches, and felt the mist of waterfalls on our faces.  We also ate without regret.  We ate at local fare restaurants and shopped at farmer’s markets. Beyond the plethora of fruit and veggies we found locally made goat cheese, local beer, and of course seafood.  Hawai’i understandably has a mission to grow and eat locally and minimize consumption of imported goods, you appreciate the effort of getting goods to these islands when standing on their shores, they are geographically truly remote.  With the diversity of micro-climates they grow very successfully and with bounty, and the markets leave you wanting for little.

One meal stands out in particular. It happened to fall on the last day of our vacation. As we headed to the airport with that little pang in our stomachs-already missing our vacation-we found comfort in this rustic little restaurant called The Red Water Café, in Waimea.  My husband had the local catch sandwich and I had the saimin. Saimin is a traditional Hawaiian soup that finds its base and roots in Asia. Full of eclectic flavor, yet hearty and comforting at the same time. Another perk, The Red Water Café makes all their broth from scratch,  and they use local, organic produce.  Take that.  So here is my effort to recreate this soup. This attempt was mostly a selfish effort to help our little family soothe the island withdraw, and ease back into mainland reality. Enjoy this little piece of island heaven.

Saimin with glass noodles and grilled veggies…

marinate (at least 1 hour):

½ package organic, firm tofu, cubed (keep separate)

½ Kobacha squash, cut in half through the equator, then cut into thin moons (really any hard squash you have works fine or even sweet potatoes/yams)

8-10 crimini mushrooms, quartered

in:

Soy sauce to cover the goods

Then about 2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Then cook on grill either indoor or outdoor until nice grill marks appear and the squash tenderizes.

make broth:

8-10 cups vegetable broth (homemade if you can)

2 tbs miso paste

1 large clove garlic, shredded (microplane)

1 tbs fresh ginger, shredded (microplane)

2 tbs soy sauce

let simmer on low heat to bring out all the flavors

then add:

1 package of Asian glass noodles, hydrate per the package instructions first, rinse, then add to broth.

1 organic bok choy, roughly chopped

2 heaping handfuls of bean sprouts

marinated and grilled squash and mushrooms

marinated tofu

Let simmer to infuse all flavors.  Then add salt and more shredded ginger to taste.  At this point I used a specialty smoked sea salt for an extra dimension of flavor.  Williams and Sonoma sells one that is pretty nice.

Serve with a spoon and chopsticks.

Eat together, toast to each other, and share!