birthday cake

We made this cake for my grandfather’s 97th birthday. I’m not going to write down the recipe for it, because you really should just go buy Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking: From My Home to Yours, and make it out of that (it’s the one on the cover, with cake crumbs patted all over the outside). I do recommend our one embellishment, which was to stuff the frosting layers with fresh raspberries, and have lots of additional raspberries available to scatter over the top. Raspberries + chocolate cake + marshmallow creme frosting. Oh, yes.

raspberry hands

It was a bit of a messy dessert, as the marshmallow frosting got soft and melty in the sun, and the raspberries were so ripe they turned people’s hands crimson. But it’s not like that was a real problem.

summer slump

I realize there has been a dearth of posting around here since we got back from our trip. Between the incredible heat and drought Western Washington has been hit with, and some personal stress in our lives, we’ve been eating some very comforting and predictable things – soup, pizza, stir fry – and going out for burgers when necessary. We’ve done a lot of cooking, but it either hasn’t been worth talking about or I was too busy to photograph anything.


One thing we have been doing is processing berries. The hot weather has really brought on the harvest, making it a bit more urgent than usual to appreciate them while they’re available. We’ve been buying a half flat of berries every week at the farmer’s market, eating all we can and then prepping the rest for the freezer. There’s not a lot of room in there, thanks to the half a lamb taking up most of the extra space, but we should have a good winter’s supply of fresh raspberries and quite a few blueberries for our morning smoothies. Now that’s a comforting thought.

cottage cheese pancakes

cottage cheese pancakes

I’m not normally a huge pancake eater. They fill me up too fast and give me a sugar rush, and they take my focus away from important things like eggs and bacon. Jon likes pancakes – he can eat the always-amazing banana coconut cakes at the breakfast place down the hill, and live to tell the tale. I still feel a little faint when I remember the pancake plate at the Hawaiian Style Cafe in Waimea – twice the size of the head of the person eating it! I can’t compete with that kind of pancake devotion. But there is a pancake that I will eat at any time: the cottage cheese (or ricotta) pancake.

cottage cheese pancakes

Like many cheesy items in our family’s repertoire, this comes from the original Vegetarian Epicure, published in 1972. It has many virtues: the recipe is simple to expand or reduce (we usually make a 1/3 or 1/2 recipe for the two of us), it’s very high protein and low-carb, unless you smother it in jam or syrup, and if you use cottage cheese, the curds melt and form little gooey pockets that are truly delightful. Continue reading



At last, we have local strawberries! J went out to Sakuma Brothers last week and bought our first Skagit Valley strawberries of the season. They were huge, juicy and sweet – a totally different animal from the California berries for sale in the grocery store. I know that there are great strawberries in California – we used to buy them at the Santa Barbara farmer’s market every week – but they never make it up here.

What did we do with our fresh berries? Apart from eating one every time I walked by the box, that is? Strawberry shortcake, naturally.

strawberry shortcake