Gifts from the Oven
A friend showed up at the farm this weekend with some luscious desserts: Strawberry Preserve Cake and a Cheese Cake topped with Caramel and Pecans. Being a superb baker, she knows the key to any dessert is eye appeal. As they say: “We eat with our eyes first.” As you can tell by the photos, both desserts passed the eye test with flying colors.
My baking friend found the recipe years ago on a box of Swans Down Cake flour. It was the perfect spring cake—pink inside and out. While I worked at getting just the right light and composition in the photos, hungry family and guests were drooling over my shoulder. I took dozens of pictures before agreeing to pass slices to admiring onlookers.
Gifts from Mother Nature
Robin had hoped to find some morels. She and my five-year-old granddaughter traipsed through the woods, stalking the wild fungi, but with no success. Unable to find mushrooms, the intrepid searchers decided to transplant a few small dogwoods. Dogwood saplings were definitely more abundant than the morels this weekend. We transplanted a few near the farm house and brought a couple back to St.Louis in the hopes of getting them to grow. (I use the editorial “we,” since I serve in an advisory capacity nowadays when it comes to earth moving.)
Later a neighbor came by with a sack of gorgeous morels from a stash of more than 200 found that day around Cuba, Missouri. To go with it, she had a few frozen packages of recently caught Alaskan salmon. Ahh, the best of land and sea.
The Gift of Friends
It “took a village” of friends, but we got a few tomatoes in the ground and dug up and re-planted a large, overgrown flower bed next to the house. It’s surprising what you can accomplish with a half-dozen willing and fun-loving friends, who don’t mind having a few aches and pains the next day. Luckily, we had to come home Sunday evening, or I might have gotten into cleaning closets.
Ethel, my friend of many years, brought me one of her handwoven dish towel with the suggestion that I could use it in my food photography. And I most certainly will. Another friend, who designs jewelry, returned a necklace she had repaired for me months earlier, that we had both forgotten. It was like getting a new piece of jewelry.
As to food, my friend Jane in California participated in the weekend from afar, when she suggested Chicken Fricassee and sent the recipe she remembered fondly from her years in Belgium. I decided that our guest with the French-speaking grandmother was culturally best equipped to reproduce the dish, which he did superbly. Grand-mère would have been proud of him. Though it required more kitchen time than you like to expend on a pretty weekend, it was doggone good.
On to cookouts.
One final “gift” of spring. I discovered on returning to St. Louis, that I had picked up my first seed ticks of the season. Now that’s a “gift” I could’ve done without.