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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Strawberries and Cream

Yesterday was a perfect summer day.
Sunny. 84 degrees. Bright. Warm. Breezy.
And I was stuck inside working a 22 hour overnight shift through the holiday.

I did, however, manage to stumble upon
some juicy pieces of office gossip in that time.
It almost made it worth it.
And, it did, at least, make the hours tick by just a little faster.
(But those are stories for another day...)

I had wished to be able to spend the holiday
lying somewhere quiet, soaking in the sun.
But, there will be other days, and other opportunities
before the summer ends, to be sure.

In the mean time, I did manage to whip up this brilliant
vanilla layer cake with fresh whipped cream and strawberries.
(Click on any of the images below to get the recipe.)

Channeling some Betty Crocker energy this weekend,
I made two versions of this cake.
After giving away most of the first
(and a dozen cupcakes)
to friends and family,
and then inevitably receiving their mostly complimentary feedback,
it was decided that the cake needed
to be a bit fluffier, and richer in vanilla flavor.

So, I tweaked a few things.... and made another.
And, just in time to take a few slices into work with me.

(The rest I left behind for my husband -
who must of enjoyed himself while I was at work
- if the carcass of a cake that was left behind is any indication...)

This second version didn't make its way into the hands of friends or family,
but was greedily eaten up by my husband and I,
while we shared a brief moment of phone time together
(as he prepared for bed at home, and I at work).

From my kitchen to yours,
Happy Cooking!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Eggs in a Hole - Rethinking a Classic Breakfast Dish

I've been spending far too many mornings lately pulling the covers up over my head and pretending that the world does not exist. I lie there in the dark cavern of the bedroom and listen to the *tink tink* of the baseboard heaters and the hum of the fan until I am immersed within dreamworlds where everything is happy and calm... I lie there, skipping breakfast … and the cold of the morning, until I convince myself that I am ready to brave the day and the impending gray waves of disappointment.

(Gray Day - Acrylic Painting by Lucia Johnson)

The anxiety (of being involuntarily unemployed and uninsured) has taken root deep inside my muscles, making it hard to breathe... and even harder to move forward and push past my own frustration. Slowly though, I am beginning to realize that every transition begins with an ending; An ending, followed by a period of confusion and distress, and then, finally, a new beginning. I hold onto that tiny glimmer of my heart's hope deep into the night, and then, this morning (for the first time in far too long) I awoke hopeful, with a mission to wade through the muck... and find a little happiness.

(Rainbow Path, Photographic Image by Irina Photography)

I know that every path toward survival starts with just a few optimistic steps forward. However small (or insignificant) those first steps may seem, they are often the most important... taking them is like making a promise to yourself that you will in fact....survive. So today I tempted myself out of bed before 8 am with the promise of a delicious breakfast treat, figuring that if I can at least get up to face the day, that is one step closer to a positive change than I was yesterday.


Inspired by the simplicity of an egg, good bread and butter I recreated a classic dish of my childhood: "Eggs in a Hole" (also known as Eggs in a Basket, Toads in a Hole, and One-Eye Jacks, among other things). This version has a whole lot of flavor, and the perfect balance between sweet and savory. Pair one of these "sandwiches" with a bowl of fresh fruit and cup of coffee and you will be well on your way toward a beautiful day.

Today's Recipe:

Eggs in a Hole
(Serves 2)
4 thin slices of honey smoked ham
4 slices multi-grain bread
4 large eggs
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Maple syrup, for drizzling

In a wide and shallow bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, salt and cinnamon.

Carefully cut a hole out of the centers of two slices of bread, and then dip each of the four slices of bread into the sweetened egg/milk mixture. Meanwhile, melt the butter on a large griddle or fry-pan and then lay the bread slices into the pan in one layer. Carefully crack an egg into the holes in the remaining bread slices and cook (all slices) until the bottoms are well browned (3 min), flip, and continue cooking (another 2 min).

Note: If you do not have enough room for all four slices to lay flat, complete this step in two batches, cooking the whole slices first and the egg slices second.

Serve by layering, for each sandwich: one whole slice of bread, two slices of ham, one egg/bread slice and a drizzle of maple syrup. Enjoy!


The tunes getting me through the day:
Rain - Patty Griffin
More Time - NeedtoBreathe
Banana Pancakes - Jack Johnson
Let Go - Frou Frou


How do you make it through hard days?
Delicious Intentions - Blogged