I have been baking cakes lately, and putting things in jars. I am also poised before the chasm of a great transition, which has me somewhat preoccupied; just hanging out nervously, waiting to hear back from those voices in the wind. So I’m keeping busy with kitchen stuff.

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I am not exactly sure why I am posting this recipe when I consider that I ripped it from a page of O Magazine while in a doctor’s waiting room and it’s all over the internet anyways. However, when I consider how much I actually enjoyed both eating the finished product and the way I felt after, it is totes obvious. These things are so weird, yet so good! You feel like you’ve just eaten power pellets.

I got most of the ingredients from the bulk section of my hippie grocery store, but they can be procured all over the internet. Warning: not cheap. Just so you know.

I don’t have a dehydrator, so I just stuck a loaded baking sheet in my oven on very low heat overnight.

A spice grinder, nut grinder or appropriated coffee grinder
A silicone baking mat or parchment paper
The usual suspects: bowl, fork, spoon, measuring accoutrements

1 C. chia seeds, finely ground
1/2 C. pecan or macadamia nuts, finely ground
1/2 C. dried mulberries
1/2 C. mesquite powder
1/4 C maca root powder
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
Coconut butter and maple syrup for eating

Mix ingredients in a bowl. Add 2 C. water and blend with a fork. Form rounds on a baking tray and put in an oven set to warm over night — no more than 115F — or dehydrate at 115F for 7 hours. Peel them off the tray and put on a plate; serve with the coconut butter & syrup.

Happy Thanksgiving.

1 squash (acorn/kabocha/butternut etc.)
Olive oil
Fresh ground pepper

3 Tbsp. white miso
3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. maple syrup/agave/brown rice syrup etc., more or less to taste
1 Tbsp. dry yellow mustard

Heat oven to 375F. Halve the squash and scrape the seed cavity clean. Pour a small amount of oil into each cavity and use it to baste the entire cut surface. Dust with pepper and place cut-side-down on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or so, about the amount of time it takes you to repot a couple of plants or listen to 1/2 of an LP, until the squash is relatively tender.

Whisk the remaining ingredients together until smooth. Remove squash from oven, flip, and baste the cut surface with the sauce. Return to oven for another 10 minutes or until squash is soft and the surface is toasty brown and caramelized.

Eat the squash with a spoon straight from the baking dish like an uncivilized human, or slice and serve on plates in front of company.

This is one of my most favorite everyday cakes, since it is reasonably simple to prepare and it includes two of my most favorite flavors, pears and cardamom.  I first made this cake at my sister’s house where I pulled the recipe from one of her cookbooks; I then copied the recipe onto the back of a receipt or something similarly scrappish and promptly lost it in a pile of paper; and then I rediscovered it today while cleaning off my desk.  The thing is that I didn’t write down whose recipe it is or what book it came from, so if there are any sleuths out there who can clue me in to its origin, please do.  Otherwise we’ll all just have to wait until I go to see my sister again.

It is called “Buttermilk Country Cake” and I am positive it is from a Maida Heatter-influenced cookbook.  I made a Pear Upside-Down Cake using an actual Maida Heatter buttermilk cake recipe for a dinner party in Alaska, and it was just not the same.  For starts, the M. H. version was enormous in comparison, like double-size the progeny’s version, and for seconds, it was a bit drier and tougher (though for that I’ll point to my probable overbeating of batter.  M. H. is not to be messed with).  The recipe I have for you here is moist-er than the popular Gourmet Magazine buttermilk cake recipe floating about online.  For me, it is just right.

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Oysters on deck

About an hour after arriving in Valdez, and less than 24 hours after arriving in Alaska, I received an invitation to spend the night on a fishing boat in Prince William Sound. My dear friend S., on hiatus from the Redacted Museum, has been spending her summer working at the Valdez Museum and I took her up on the offer to visit. She’d borrowed a minivan from her friend Neal to pick me up in Anchorage, where my flight got in at eleven-thirty at night.  Upon arrival I noticed the visible station of the sun and a quantity of handsomely taxidermied animals positioned about the airport, and felt certain that I’d landed in a different place.

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The making of these cookies was inspired by a lecture on Kierkegaard and irony I attended with friend T.T. at UC Berkeley earlier this year.

First, there was the lecture, held in the department’s Howison Library on campus. Wood paneling, wood and leather chairs, long tables, leather-bound volumes and portraits of ancient academics set the endearingly shabby scene for Johnathan Lear’s presentation on “Irony and Identity”. Shall I recapitulate the arguments? No! I confess my attention drifted from the speaker to the dress of the attendees (nondescript) to the printed signage instructing patrons on how to use the photocopy machine, and back again.  Did I enjoy it, even understand what was being discussed?  Yes!  Ducks were actually employed in part of Lear’s argument, which pleased me very much.

To the point: at the end of the lecture, the facilitator invited us into an adjacent lounge for “coffee and cookies”. How delightful! And indeed, cookies there were – six or seven different varieties whisked in from some fantasy bakery of deliciousness. I kid you not, the cookies were all very good. Lemon sandwich cookies, dressy chocolate chip, some sort of intense fudgelike concoction, and square-shaped mint-flecked sugar cookies. All so very tasty.

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This recipe is adopted & adapted from Kristina Turner’s great macrobiotic Self-Healing Cookbook. Published in 1987, it has some of my favorite style attributes of homemade cookbooks — calligraphic titles, line drawings to illustrate the recipes, and use of a Courier/typewriter font. Plus the recipes are simple, healthy, and are tuned into the healing powers of food.

Anyhoo. Don’t get all freaked out about these biscuits being “healthy”, just make them and eat them and see what you think and how you feel. They’re in the granola bar family, are gluten-free & egg-free, and are unsweetened except for my addition of chopped apricots. I can imagine the appeal these would have for those scone-lovers out there if you glazed the tops after baking — which, if that gets you to eat ’em, go for it. These’ll power you all morning. Whole-grain city here. Yee haw. Yum-o.

You will need:
3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup oat flour, or a combination of oat, barley, or brown rice flours
2 cups cooked millet
1 1/2 Tbsp. oil (ghee, walnut, sesame, corn, etc.)
1 cup carrot, finely grated
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ginger, finely grated
2 Tbsp. seeds (flax, sesame, poppy, sunflower, etc.)
1/4 tsp. salt
Water or other liquid for added moisture

Heat oven to 350°. Toast oats and flours in a skillet over a low flame, stirring occasionally and removing from heat when fragrant. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except the liquid.  Incorporate the flour mixture one cup at a time. (Personally, I like mixing with my hands, but it’s your call.) Add the liquid in small doses until the dough is moist and holds together, but is neither sticky nor gummy. Shape into flat biscuits between your palms and arrange on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, let cool, and store in a sealed container (or wrap for on-the-go eating).

Makes about 9 biscuits

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