Tag Archives: Ashland Schools Foundation

Autumn Arrives… and there are pies (and other treats) in the forecast!

23 Sep

Today in Ashland we awoke to gray skies and much cooler weather.  How did that happen?  Just a few days ago the temperature reached 95 and right now the thermometer is barely hitting 65!  Welcome to Fall everyone!

That last month of summer quickly slipped by me.  Perhaps I was busy but it went by so fast!  One minute we were camping and then it was back to school again (not for my kids but still) and the leaves are now changing.  Now before I get off on a rant (I know, you’re all thinking, “whew”) let me just share a few of the baked goodies that I managed to squeeze into the last few weeks.

P1030419

One day, Emile and I were on our morning walk when I saw my friend going to her car.  I called out “Hi… How are you?” She responded, “Not good.  My dog is hemorrhaging.  I need to bring him to the vet.”  I was stunned into silence and don’t even know if I managed to wave goodbye.  As we continued our walk, Emile turned to me and said, “There’s a pie in her future isn’t there?”  He knows me so well!  This gluten-free cheesecake/pear tart (which was later topped with toasted almonds – sorry, no photo of that) was brought to that woman to let her know that I understood the pain of losing a beloved pet.

P1030428

Then there were the quiches… with crimini mushrooms and peppers that I roasted (and what a wonderful scent they left in my kitchen!).  One of these was brought to a friend with an ailing partner.  My heart aches for them both.  The other quiche was for our new interim pastor (aka Mary Poppins) on the day that she arrived in the valley.  It was my hope that by bringing her something homemade she would feel welcomed into our community.

P1030391

These chocolate cupcakes were my contribution to my friend Marie’s birthday party.  We laughed trying to decide if they were my version of Ding Dong’s or Ho Ho’s.  All I know is that they are simply delicious and deliciously simple to make!  I make my favorite cupcakes, fill them with a squirt of whipped cream, and coat them in chocolate (melted with a bit of coconut oil) and then top with more whipped cream.  Yum!

Here is a photo of them midway through the process… I use a paring knife to cut a slit in the top of each cupcake and then a pastry bag to fill the centers with the whipped cream.  It’s really easy!  By the time you coat them with chocolate and top them with cream, the inside cream becomes a hidden delightful surprise!

P1030426

Last week I picked many bowls of delicious grapes at my friend Stella’s house and because I don’t own a food dryer, tried my hand at making raisins in my oven.  It took about a day at 175 degrees… and it worked!  They are the best raisins I’ve ever had (except maybe for the muscat raisins we used to get at the market in south San Francisco).  I probably picked 15 pounds of grapes… and they cooked down to about 3 pounds of raisins…. but they are soooooo good!

P1030431P1030436

Another treat that I made was for my neighbors, Ellen and Owen.  They came home after a very long “vacation” to visit their granddaughter (and her parents of course!)  As sweets are out of the question for Owen, I decided to make bagels to remind him of his time in New York.  I used this recipe by John D. Lee because it makes bagel making fast (just about 90 minutes) and very easy!  These bagels are incredibly tasty;  I know because I devoured one minutes after it came out of the oven.  Do try this recipe… you won’t be disappointed!

P1030420

Finally, last Saturday I created a platter of gluten-free sweets (coconut almond macaroons, raspberry-topped brownies, and peanut butter cookies) for supporters of the Ashland Schools Foundation.  They were treated to a beautiful event at Bel Fiore Winery and though I am sorry I couldn not attend, I was very happy to contribute.

P1030439

That’s about all I have to share right now.  Next time I write I hope to share tales of my visit to see my daughter, Alexandra, for her birthday.  She’s been working at Warby Parker since the spring and I am anxious to see New York through her eyes.  Til then, I wish you all sweet dreams!

Day 280: Happy Birthday Christian!

11 Jan

Apple Blueberry Crumb Crust Pie

It seems to me that much of my day revolves around food.  Of course for the last nine months I have been making a pie each day, but that is only one of the many ways that I find myself focused in the kitchen.  There are days when I am busy making a pot of soup or a casserole for a friend in need, while other times I find myself testing gluten-free recipes for my neighbor.  If it has to do with food, I seem to lose myself in it.  With all that focus on cooking and baking, that means that I also spend a lot of time shopping – and one of my favorite stores in Ashland is Shop ‘n Kart.

Here is one reason for my loyalty: A few years ago I was on the board of the Ashland Schools Foundation.  One of my tasks was to secure donations from restaurants and grocery stores and then prepare meals for the volunteers that helped on fundraising calling nights.  The very first person I approached was Eric, the manager at Shop ‘n Kart and he generously donated $100 in store credit to the cause.  That was such a help for us and I have never forgotten it.

Another reason for my loyalty has to do with the employees that work there.  Maybe it’s because they see me often, but I enjoy the nod of recognition and their willingness to help me when I need assistance.   I am grateful that they don’t seem put out or avoid eye contact when my “questioning” face appears.

Christian is one of the employees that I have really come to appreciate.  He has helped me with special requests a few times,  he has a calmness about him that is admirable even when the store is slammed,  but more than anything I like that he takes the time to speak with each customer and look them in the eye.  That’s so very important in a world that gets busier every day.

Today I brought Christian the Apple Blueberry Pie that you see above.  When I gave it to him he seemed genuinely pleased.  As I told him about the pie project he said he was happy to be a part of this year of pies.  Then he told me that yesterday was his birthday…  and so of course I wished him a Happy Birthday.  And now I would like to offer this quote from Jonathan Swift,  “May you live all the days of your life.”

And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.   Abraham Lincoln

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 488 other followers