recipe

Friday Before next year…

Almost 2023. Very odd. Time is a very strange thing. When you are young it can’t move fast enough. Then it just sort of stalls for a while. As people start getting married and having children and busy jobs.. it speeds up. And in a blink of an eye, the children are off to college and doing their own thing. The job either slows down or overcomes you. Or burns you out. And then time just warps. It becomes unpredictable. It breaks down into segments. The day could be long but the week could be short. Unpredictable. 

This week I read Travel Light, Move Fast by Alexandra Fuller. She is watching her father die in a hospital in Budapest. Actually in Buda. Her parents were on vacation when he collapsed. Alexandra flew from the USA to help her mother and be with her father. It took him ten days to die. In that time she flashes back on his life and on her life. He was English but moved to South Africa at a young age. She was born and raised in South Africa. Or I should say Southern Africa. She lived through the war that converted Rhodesia into Zimbabwe. 

I enjoyed the book. She writes well and her family is full of interesting characters. She has written several books, mostly about her childhood. She has not had an easy life, but an interesting one.

Years ago we had a tradition of having cheese fondue and ratatouille, usually on New Year’s Eve. This year I was craving cheese fondue. I ate it on Christmas Eve. Couldn’t wait. It was yummy. It goes really well with ratatouille.

Ratatouille

Peel, Slice and salt to get rid of excess moisture:
2 1/2 cups diced eggplant

Put in a deep skillet:
1/3 cup olive oil

Sauté until golden:
¾ cup thinly sliced onions  (red or yellow)
2 cloves garlic

Add:
4 thinly sliced green peppers
3 cups zucchini, cut into cubes
2 cups chopped tomatoes
Add the drained eggplant.

Sprinkle the mixture with:
Olive oil

Add:
½ teaspoon oregano and 1 teaspoon basil

Simmer covered over low heat about 45 minutes.
Uncover and continue to heat 15 minutes longer to reduce the mount of liquid

Add:
Salt and fresh pepper

Serve hot or cold with sour cream.

I have also had it with lamb chops and mashed potatoes and it is delicious.

Happy New Year!!

Quick year in review

Friday Before the Holiday

My relatives.. This is actually a postcard dated 1912. Apparently it was all the rage at the time to make your photographs into postcards. It is addressed to my grandfather and just says “My Latest”.

We are back in the deep freeze. Seven new inches of snow and temperatures well below zero F. with strong winds. Blizzard conditions. But, hey, this is Minnesota. We trudge on.

It is the first of two holiday weekends. Family, Festivities, Fun, Food. I’m making a Hazelnut Torte to take to the Xmas eve get-together. Then I will take my father to a nice restaurant for Xmas day. And it will be cold. I lived in Mexico City growing up. Our tradition was to get up the day after Xmas and load up the car and drive to Acapulco for a week. Now, that was way more fun than any other Xmas stuff. My holidays were always related to travel. Either traveling home from boarding school or traveling to the beach or, one year, we traveled to Kenya and Tanzania to see the game parks. I might need to revive that traveling tradition.

I became interested in the show Yellowstone because a new prequel just came out with Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford called 1923. So, thinking the whole show was on Paramount Plus, I signed on. I then saw there was another prequel called 1883. I have been binge watching 1883. I figured I would start at the beginning. Then I discovered the actual show isn’t on Paramount Plus, they sold it to Peacock. So if I want to watch the actual show I have to sign up with them. This is getting to be very confusing. And expensive. Maybe I can find it at the library…

Anyway, 1883 is about the Dutton family’s trek from Fort Worth Texas to Montana by covered wagon. They are traveling with a group of Eastern European immigrants. Within the first few weeks, half the people died in one way or another. Disaster after disaster. The narrator is a teenage girl who goes from despair to elation about love and nature and god’s hand in nature and the beauty of the land and the cruelty of it as well.

It made me think about my family and their trek across the sea and then half way across America. They must have traveled the same way. Covered wagons, horses. On my father’s side my ancestor came from Ireland in 1811, and bought land in Pennsylvania. They didn’t stay long. His son was born in Ohio in 1818 and they later moved to Missouri. When he found he was on the wrong side slavery, he moved his farm and family north to Illinois. After he died in 1858, the family moved to western Iowa where they had kin. My grandfather was born in Iowa in 1880. He dug in a farm and stayed there.

On my grandmother’s side, her family sailed from England to Connecticut in 1641. The family stayed there until the mid 1700’s when their house was destroyed by fire.

The father and two elder sons went into the wilderness to clear some land and left the wife and baby in a white settlement. The father and eldest son were killed by Indians. The second son, Isaac, was fourteen when he was captured by the Genesee Indians. Several years later he managed to escape but it wasn’t until he was 70 years old when he found his baby brother who had been left behind with his mother. By that time he was living in Ulster County, New York. The family stayed in New York until about 1880, when they up and moved to western Iowa. My grandmother was born there in 1881.

You can see why 1883 draws me in.

I hope you have a super duper holiday weekend!

Hazelnut Torte

½ lb shelled hazelnuts
8 eggs, separated
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup breadcrumbs
Grated rind of 1 lemon
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup whipped cream
1 cup tart jelly (I like raspberry)

Grind the unblanched hazelnuts very fine. Put 2 tablespoons of the ground nuts aside for the outside of the cake.

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar till very light. Add the breadcrumbs, lemon rind, lemon juice, vanilla and ground nuts. Fold in the egg whites whipped very stiff but not dry.

Bake in 2 layers, 30 minutes at 325 degree F. Cool in the pans.

Take out and put together with whipped cream and a little jelly spread between the layers. Whip the rest o f the jelly with a fork and spread it over the top and sides of the cake. Powder with unused 2 tablespoons of ground nuts. Decorate the top of the cake with a swirl of whipped cream. Chill before serving.

Maybe I’ll have a picture next week.

Armistice, Veteran, Poppy, Remembrance Day

photo of poppy field
Photo by Elina Sazonova on Pexels.com

Happy Veterans Day. Or Armistice Day. Or Remembrance Day. Or Poppy Day.

I went to a British grade school in Mexico City.  We wore a uniform.  I was 7 years old. In November of my first year, kids started showing up with red paper poppies pinned to the lapel of their blazers.  I had never heard of Poppy Day but I loved the color added to the otherwise mundane clothing.  I bought one and wore it even though I didn’t understand why. I looked forward to it every year. That splash of red.

It was the 11th month, 11th day, 11th hour when hostilities ended.   It was the end of the First World War, the war to end all wars. Poppies bloomed all across the fields where the battles were fought and lives were lost. A sea of red.

My first trip to Paris was over Armistice Day weekend. I was 16, and wandering around on my own. The city was empty. I was the only person at Napoleon’s tomb. I remember it was snowing that day.

In Washington, DC, Veteran’s day always meant Rolling Thunder. Motorcycles from all over the country converged on the Vietnam Memorial. They used to parade down to the Mall from Virginia and Maryland. You could hear them all morning. I was there for the 25th anniversary when they expected 500,000 motorcycles. It was impressive.

Dreamers

Soldiers are citizens of death’s grey land,
Drawing no dividend from time’s to-morrows. 
In the great hour of destiny they stand,
Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows.
Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win 
Some flaming, fatal climax with their lives.
Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin
They think of firelit homes, clean beds and wives.

I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats,
And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain, 
Dreaming of things they did with balls and bats,
And mocked by hopeless longing to regain 
Bank-holidays, and picture shows, and spats,
And going to the office in the train.
by Siegfried Sassoon, Selected Poems (1968)

I voted on Tuesday. I was relieved the red wave turned into a pink drizzle.
It also got dark this week. Short Dark Days until the end of the year.

We made this yummy cake earlier this week. It is gluten free in case anybody cares.

Almond Cake

4 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
2.25 cups finely ground almonds (I use almond flour)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Separate eggs into 2 large bowls.
Beat yolks, gradually incorporating 3/4 cup sugar
Fold in the almond flour

Whisk the egg whites until foamy.
Gradually beat in 1/4 cup sugar
Continue to beat until stiff

Stir 1/3 egg whites in to almond mixture, then carefully fold in remaining egg whites in 2 batches.
Pour batter into buttered 9-inch cake pan and bake about 30 minutes.

Allow to cool.
Dust with powdered sugar.

Friday Randomness

After a week of 70 degree weather we are back to our normal 40 degrees. Everybody was over the moon about the warm sunny days. Obsessive me could only think about climate change… But apparently we had this weird weather back in the 1970’s as well. 

I received an email the other day from a former schoolmate. She was referring people to an article by Julian Fellows, the actor and writer of Downton Abbey. In the article he talks about the summer before he went to university. His aunt was living in Colombia and wanted to start a summer camp. She needed help. So his mother volunteered him and he got on an oil tanker and spent 21 days crossing the Atlantic (his father refused to pay for airfare). During the trip he decided it would be a good opportunity to re-invent himself and go from a dull boring person to a confident interesting person. He succeeded and continues to tell a humorous account of the summer. You can read the full article if you are interested.  https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/oct/03/julian-fellowes-once-upon-life

The funny part is that his aunt was the Librarian at the school I went to in Bogota, Colombia – Colegio Nueva Granada (CNG). His adventure took place in 1966, but she was still librarian in 1972 when I arrived on the scene. Two of her sons and another girl from the school helped run the camp along with Julian. The camp kept going in several iterations for years after.

I think I have mastered Wordle. I pick a random word that has at least two vowels. Next I either have to find other vowels or the most common way of placing the ones that are correct. Then I go through the alphabet to find the most likely (usually unlikely) word that fits. I have done it in three tries all week. But it is work. And I usually feel let down at the end. It is such a small non-accomplishment.

My 102 year old father tested positive for COVID this week. He says he feels fine but is bored out of his mind since he has to stay in his apartment all the time. I went to see him the day before he tested positive so now I am waiting for my results. I have no symptoms so fingers crossed.

My son arrives today for a visit. It looks like this will be on the menu.

Swiss Steak is a method of preparing meat, usually beef, by means of rolling or pounding, and then braising in a pot of stewed tomatoes, either on a stove or in an oven.   

No wonder there are hundreds of recipes for Swiss Steak. This recipe comes from my mother and I have enjoyed it for many years.

2 lbs round steak, in serving pieces
1 large onion, sliced

Brown steak dredged in flour in hot fat with onions, salt and pepper.

1 pt tinned tomatoes (1 15.5 oz can) I use crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
dash pepper and paprika
Pour over meat in a skillet (covered)

Bake in 350 degrees F oven for 2 hours (or more) I have also made it in the crock pot. The meat should just fall apart. It goes well with mashed potatoes.

Enjoy!

Friday Ramblings

Well, it’s another Friday. Another week. My countdown to retirement is jogging along. I am down to 67 more days. Probably time to start obsessing. Actually, I’m way past that. Forms, Dates, Signatures, meetings…. My head is swimming.

I keep trying to find happy, positive, funny things to write about. I always end up back at the gloom and doom of today’s headlines. I was listening to the news this morning and literally the only thing they mentioned as far as National/International news was… drum roll… Twitter. Elon Musk took over Twitter and fired the CEO. Then with all kinds of speculation about what will happen next. Will he unblock Trump? Will he get rid of all controls imposed?

I am on Twitter but I rarely look at it. I think you have to be focused in on a particular subject to really understand any of it. But ultimately it just feeds the press and the ignorant. The ignorant press? Who cares what Elon Musk does? He is in the top 1 percent. Probably the top idiot of the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent. Why am I even mentioning him? Ugh…

Speaking of the 1 percent… Another one with too much money: Jeff Bezos. He is the one who shot William Shatner (and others) into space, for a minute. Of course my thought was, what an incredible waste of money. Shatner released his book, Boldly Go on October 4. Apparently, he had an overwhelming revelation during that flight. He saw the vast emptiness of space and the beauty of the earth. It is a common thread with astronauts. How amazingly beautiful our planet looks from space. Many are overcome by it. Shatner took it a step further and was overcome with grief. He realized we were killing our beautiful planet. So my thought is, why doesn’t Bezos pour all his money into saving our planet instead of trying to colonize Mars? Who wants to live on an ugly red planet?

How about a Travel Tidbit? Apparently today there is a big festival every year in Oshogbo, Nigeria. It draws thousands of people from around the world. I went there in the last 1970’s. It was the center for women’s fertility ceremonies and shrines on the Osun River. We were allowed into their private area and led down to the river to witness a ritual. We saw many shrines in the area. An Austrian artist named Suan Wenger created sculptures in the area – weird things that looked like huts, or female forms. She revived the area and brought attention to it and today it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. When my friend and I went there, we were the only visitors.

This is an except from September 1, 1939 by W.H.Auden.

Somehow seems relevant today…

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.
—-W.H.Auden

I made Tarragon Chicken this week that turned out yummy. Sorry, no photos this time…

1 lb skinless chicken breasts cubed
½ red onion chopped
8 oz mushrooms chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
½ cup white wine
7 ½ oz crème fraiche
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
24 oz small potatoes cut in half
2 Tbsp chopped fresh Tarragon

  • Cook chicken with onions and garlic in some olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the mushrooms.
  • Toss the potatoes in oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Pour onto a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until done.
  • In a bowl add the crème fraiche, mustard, wine and tarragon.
  • Add the sauce to the chicken and heat through.
  • Add the cooked potatoes and mix to coat. Or you can serve the potatoes separately.
  • Enjoy

drive empty highway lane

Friday Exploration

pexels-photo-5988878.jpeg
Photo by Łukasz Kondracki on Pexels.com

I watched a documentary this week on Prime called the Bikes of Wrath. Five young Australian guys who loved John Steinbeck’s book, The Grapes of Wrath, decided to retrace the trip. On bicycles. They started out with about $400 which was the equivalent of what the Joad family had when they set out. They traveled 2,600 miles on Route 66 from Oklahoma to California over 30 days. It doesn’t really work, though. These guys are well educated, fairly affluent and competent guys from another country. They are welcomed time and again by locals putting their best foot forward. People living in poverty hand them money and food and provide lodging and care. They are overwhelmed with generosity.  Because they are making a movie? Because they are non-threatening? Because they are white? Because they are male? I must say I did not have a very positive experience the time I got lost in Amarillo, Texas in the 70’s. Maybe times have changed….

I love the British Baking Show as much as the next person. But Mexican Week? Really? Brits making tacos? It was somewhat amusing to watch. They had no idea. Even the judges were a bit embarrassing in their ignorance. Luckily this week they were back on task.

Speaking of Brits and embarrassing moments… How about that Prime Minister? Five weeks must be some kind of record.

I spoke to a woman last week who said she is convinced our doom is imminent. Within the next 20 years. Climate change will destroy us all. Pollution, disease, financial collapse, food and water shortages. I think there is something in our brain that deflects all of that. When I was little, my mother was all over that. Fifty years ago, she worried about teeming landfills, water conservation, power shortages, and communicable diseases. I guess she was ahead of her time. Or was it because we lived in developing countries where all that existed already? I’ve read my share of science fiction. I know what is possible. Why can’t politicians have brains? Why can’t policy makers wake up?

Enough. Deflect deflect deflect.

And now for something completely different… (click for larger view)

I leave you with something sweet.

Lemon Sponge Pudding

Combine:

3/4  cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. grated lemon peel
1 1/2 Tbsp. soft butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 egg yolks, beaten

Add:    

1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup milk
(Mixture may have curdled appearance, but no matter)

Beat:    

2 egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture.

Pour into buttered 1.5 quart casserole.

Place in pan of hot water

Bake at 325°F uncovered 40-45 min or until set (1 hr).

Serve warm or chilled.  I like it warm!

Friday’s Thoughts

October 14, 2022: First snow. Pretty early for that. 33 degrees F. this morning.

Angela Lansbury died this week. I spent years watching endless murders in small northeastern towns with her solving every single one of them. She was very good at it.

I’m reading a Dan Brown book – Inferno. You know Dan Brown, he wrote the DaVinci Code. Tom Hanks starred in the movie. I think Tom Hanks was in Angels and Demons as well. As I read the book, I picture Tom Hanks racing around looking for clues. But the thing I really love about the book is that the first half is set in Florence and then they move on to Venice. He races around Florence through the Boboli Gardens to the Pitti Palace and across the Ponte Vecchio and out into the Piazza della Signora. Then he works his way over to the Baptistery of St John next the grand Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. All places I have been to and remember fondly. I’m right there with him. And then to Venice where I remember standing in the middle of St Mark’s Square and a pigeon landed on my head. I hate pigeons to this day.

Øresund Bridge Credit: Amjad Sheikh

The New York Times had an article this week – 36 Hours in Stockholm. I read it with interest because I am toying with the idea of going there for just a couple of days. The article seemed reasonable enough. Museum, gallery, food, night life, shopping, parks, food, parks, more food. I always like to read the comments. A lot of them were not complementary. They listed all the things left out. The blandness of the country. The immigration problems. The crime. The lack of crime. And of course, the article failed to mention the Abba Museum. How could that be? I must admit none of it really lured me in. But I do live in Minnesota, so….  Probably not all that different. I might fly to Malmo and take a train across the 16 km Øresund Bridge to Copenhagen. Now that sounds like fun.

Speaking of food, I have my favorite Indian restaurants around town but last night I tried a new one called Spice and Tonic. I love pakoras so we ordered some vegetable pakoras to start with. They brought us paneer pakoras by mistake. They let us have the paneer pakoras for free and brought the vegetable ones a bit later. A pakora is like a fritter. The vegetable is mixed into a batter of chickpea flour, spices and water and then deep fat fried so it is crunchy on the outside. My friend kept calling them critters. But the paneer pakoras were not a hit with me. Paneer is the home-made cheese often used for Indian dishes. This was a long tube of paneer, battered and fried. It was just too much. Maybe if it had been made up into smaller pieces, I would have liked it better. We ordered Chicken Makhani, Chicken Tikka Masala, Vegetable Curry, and Garlic Naan. They were all delicious.

Friday Contemplation

Shenandoah National Park

So, we had our first freeze this week. A chill is in the air. Fall is my favorite time of year. Funny thing since I grew up in places where there was no fall. Maybe that’s why I like it. All the leaves turning. Pumpkin pie. Adding a jacket. Digging out the boots. Finding the scarves and hats. I probably need a new pair of gloves. When I lived in Virginia I always tried to make it out to the Shenandoah mountains for the fall colors. Now I trek to the river and all the parks along it.

I read an article titled twelve easy ways to switch off after work. Not one of them said, have a vodka. Guess I’ve been doing it wrong…

Pulled from the bookshelf… Western Wind, An Introduction to Poetry. It must have been somebody’s textbook. The first half goes through all the different kinds of poetry but the second half is an anthology.

Against Poets (by Alan Shapiro)

Golden leaves,
Russet leaves
Detach, float, spin
by the thousands,
Singly.

Charged with meaning
By poets,
Used as metaphor
For decline, loss.
Separation.

The poets
Come between us
And the leaves
In their meaningless
Beauty

This month my book club read a Young Adult book – The Genius Under the Table by Eugene Yeltsin. It is written in first person by a young Jewish boy growing up in Leningrad (St Petersburg), Russia. Eugene Yeltsin grew up in Leningrad and emigrated to the USA in 1983. The book takes place about 1974. His mother works for the famous ballet school linked to the Marinsky theater where Barishnikov danced. Spoiler alert – he defects. It is probably an accurate telling of life in Russia in those times. It was easy to read and entertaining.

Season 10 of Doc Martin comes out shortly. Something to look forward to. Since it is the last season I expect there to be some twists and turns.

I haven’t made this in ages. Looks really good…

Greek Lamb and Spinach Phyllo Pie

1 lb ground lamb
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
½ cup tomato sauce
1 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
8 (9X14 inch) sheets frozen phyllo, thawed

6 servings

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Spray 9 inch pie plate with nonstick spray. (Here I use olive oil.)

Filling:

Cook lamb and onion in a skillet with a little olive oil until lamb is done.
Add: Garlic, curry powder, cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper.
Stir to mix well.
Add tomato sauce and simmer until thickened – about 5 minutes.
Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in spinach and feta. Add egg whites (whole egg).

Lay 1 phyllo sheet in the pie plate; lightly spray with nonstick spray (brush with melted butter). Keep remaining phyllo covered with damp paper towel (dish towel) and plastic wrap (not needed) to keep it from drying out. Repeat with 3 of the remaining phyllo sheets, placing corners at different angles and lightly spraying each sheet with nonstick spray (melted butter).

Spoon filling into the crust.

Top filling with remaining 4 phyllo sheets, repeating layering and spraying with nonstick spray (butter). Roll up edges of phyllo toward center to form 1 ½ inch wide rim.

Bake until phyllo is golden brown 30-35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Cut into 6 wedges.

Week in Review

Happy Bastille Day (yesterday)! The French stormed the Bastille on July 14, 1789. It was the spark that started the French Revolution. Ten years later it ended in a coup with Napoleon at the helm as “First Consul”. They were able to end feudalism, kill their king, come up with the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, draft a new constitution, but in the end they could not agree on how to rule and those in power fought between themselves to the point where the military stepped in. Napoleon went on to conquer most of Europe. Today Bastille Day is celebrated in France and around the world as National Festival Day to symbolize harmony. I find that a little confusing but hey, it’s an excuse to each yummy French food.

I watched the first couple of episodes about Patagonia on CNN this week – “Patagonia: Life on the Edge of the World”. What I have seen so far is animal conservation. They are concentrating on species native to the land who are being threatened by the changing environment and humans in general. It is good to know that there are a lot of people out there doing good things to help our planet. I don’t think we hear enough about those things. It is a six part series. You can learn more about it here.

The new version of Jane Austin’s “Persuasion” just came out on Netflix. It did not get a favorable review in the New York Times so I am a bit mixed about it. I will probably watch it since it is one of my favorites. My favorite version is the one from 1997 with Fiona Shaw, Amanda Root, and Ciaran Hinds.

In the news – arrrgghhh. Seems like so many horrible things are happening right now it is hard to take it in. I lived in Russia during both of the Chechen wars and the one thing I remember vividly was the mass killings of civilians and children. What is happening in Ukraine is nothing new.

I made a pretty good casserole last night. The prep was a bit time consuming but it came out yummy.

Chicken Pesto Casserole

Boil 3 medium russet potatoes for about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Two chicken breasts, cubed (I cut them up and cooked them with some shallots and garlic, basil, tarragon, and a little bit of chili powder)
I made a pesto with about a cup of frozen spinach, half cup of sun dried tomatoes, and a small jar of artichoke hearts. (Whizzed in the food processor)
Then I made a white sauce with salt, pepper, basil, tarragon, a little garlic powder. (2 tbsp. butter, 2 tbsp flour, 2 cups milk.)

I added the pesto into the white sauce to combine.
I peeled and thinly sliced the potatoes.

I greased a pyrex baking dish with avocado oil and placed a layer of potatoes in the bottom. Then covered the potatoes with half the pesto mixture, then all the chicken, then another layer of pesto, and topped it off with a mixture of cheeses (about a cup). I used parmesan and a Mexican mix.

Throw it in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 35 minutes. I made everything but the white sauce the day before.

I’m heading to Duluth and a spot right on Lake Superior next week. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Women’s Day Torte

Happy International Women’s Day! For some reason this day reminded me of a torte I have made several times and associate with Women’s Day. Probably because it is so delicious.

Turkey is the top producer of Hazelnuts but they are also grown commercially in Europe, Iran, and the Caucasus. The hazelnut-chocolate spread, Nutella, accounts for about 25% of all hazelnut production.

Hazelnut Torte

½ lb shelled hazelnuts

8 eggs, separated

1 ½ cups sugar

½ cup breadcrumbs

Grated rind of 1 lemon

Juice of ½ lemon

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup whipped cream

1 cup tart jelly

Grind the unblanched hazelnuts very fine. Put 2 tablespoons of the ground nuts aside for the outside of the cake.

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar till very light. Add the breadcrumbs, lemon rind, lemon juice, vanilla and ground nuts. Fold in the egg whites whipped very stiff but not dry.

Bake in 2 layers, 30 minutes at 325 degree F. Cool in the pans.

Take out and put together with whipped cream and a little jelly spread between the layers. Whip the rest o f the jelly with a fork and spread it over the top and sides of the cake. Powder with unused 2 tablespoons of ground nuts. Decorate the top of the cake with a swirl of whipped cream. Chill before serving.