November 26, 2013

these two...

What do you bring to the table? Me? I bring Teddie's Apple Cake and White Bean and Fennel Dip. And I'm not talking just about the Thanksgiving table, I'm talking about any table - the book club table, the play group table, the you-just-had-a-baby table, the Sunday football table, the Saturday apero table, and the let's-get-together-for-the-heck-of-it-table. I figured in the spirt of all the gathering that will happen this week that it was a good time to share my gather go-tos, the ones I'm constantly asked about and continually make and yet never seem to have time to write about. 

These are both homey recipes in that they are made from a few simple ingredients and will make you feel all warm and cozy when you eat them. If you have a hand-knitted scarf at hand I suggest you wear it while eating the dip and for the cake I recommend fleece slippers. Neither of these recipes are fancy, but is anyone really looking for fancy when the sidle up to the spread of appetizers or slice into a piece of cake? I'm going to go with no. And if you're with me on that, I think you should keep reading. 

Let's start with the cake. Teddie's Apple Cake has made the internet rounds. I think that's probably why I haven't written about it here - it's a been there done that cake. Unless of course you haven't been there or done that in which case, get on it! At the risk of being repetitive let's chat about the virtues of this cake. First, you need to know that it's rustic, crumbly at the edges with a soft center studded with large apple chunks, walnuts and raisins. It's not a dainty cake. Secondly, because it's made with vegetable oil and not butter it has an incredibly moist, yet sturdy crumb and can keep for days without drying out. I made one last Tuesday for play group and I finished the last piece on Sunday for breakfast. That's six days of cake. Thirdly, the top crust, it's all about the top crust. I've been known to eat just the top off the cake after the guests have left. It's not in the original recipe but you've gotta sprinkle the top with cinnamon-sugar. It is so good. The cinnamon and sugar crystallize on the surface making for a sweet and crunchy bite, a perfect partner to the melt-in-your-mouth apples.

Teddie's Apple Cake : 1973 NYTimes, unearthed by Amanda Hesser 2007

butter for greasing the pan
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
3 cups apples (about 3 apples), cubed
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins
cinnamon-sugar for sprinkling 

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 9-inch tube pan

Beat the oil and sugar together in a mixer. After five minutes add in the eggs, one at a time, beating until well incorporated and the batter is creamy.  

Sift together the flour, salt and cinnamon and add to the batter. Add the vanilla followed by the apples, walnuts and raisins. 

Pour into the buttered and floured pan. Sprinkle the batter with a healthy dose of cinnamon-sugar. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when inserted. Let the cake cool before turning it out onto a wire wrack.
As I write about gatherings, I should note that they have become a key piece to my sanity the past few months. It is vital that we get out of the house everyday and see people, preferably friends. If we don't I get a little stir crazy and Alice risks turning into a pumpkin, one with a sly grin and threatening eyes. Yesterday was a good reminder of that. I had set aside the day to cook because I wanted to share these recipes with you and so our only outing was a super speedy trip to the store and back. All was going splendidly until it came time to put Alice down for her second nap, which was to be my cooking time, and she decided that she didn't want to take a nap. There was a lot of yelling and most of it was timed perfectly with the buzzer on the oven, pulling me in two directions. Alice was relegated to her swing to cool off while I haphazardly hustled around the kitchen. Have you ever tried to do anything while a baby is crying? How about while your baby is crying? Gah! I challenge you. It's impossible to think let alone measure ingredients. 

Anywho, at some point after lifting her in and out of her crib, the swing, and the bouncy seat she finally fell asleep on the couch and I ventured back to the kitchen to finish up this dip. 

This is the best dip on the planet. It's warm, it's flavorful, it's reasonably healthy and it makes people smile. The cannellini beans provide for a smooth foundation on which the hearty flavors of roasted fennel, garlic and rosemary can really shine. I like to eat it with bread, but it takes just as well to carrots or tortilla chips. It's versatile. Eat it with veggies and bread and serve it at an apero, or pair it with tortilla chips and serve it at a football party.

White Bean and Fennel Dip : adapted from Food52
Over the years - wow it really has been years - I've cut back on the amount of olive oil. The original recipe calls for 3/4 cup of olive oil, but I've found that too be a bit too much. The beans themselves are so smooth and pillowy once pureed that you really only need a small amount of oil to achieve the desired consistency and flavor.

for the roasted Fennel
2 medium sized fennel bulbs, cut in chunks
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves still in papery shell

for the cannellini bean puree
1/4 cup of olive oil plus 2 Tbsp
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans (from 2 cans)
1 Tbsp rosemary, chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Place the chopped fennel and garlic on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast until the fennel is brown at the edges and soft, about 30 minutes. Let cool on the roasting pan. Once cool remove the garlic from their skins.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the minced garlic and cook until lightly golden. Add in the cannellini beans and rosemary. Stir for two minutes and then take off the heat. Add in the roasted fennel, garlic and lemon juice. Puree in a food processor or with an emersion blender until smooth. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and half of the parmesan cheese. (you can add more oil if you want, I sometimes do if it seems a bit too thick). Smooth out in a baking dish and top with the remaining cheese.

Raise the oven temperature to 450º and bake until golden and bubbly, about 15-20 minutes.

Here's Alice, all nice and happy after her nap on the couch. It didn't last long. For some reason last night at bedtime she went completely bonkers. Up until the last two nights she's been easy to put down at night. I have no idea what happened. She eventually went down after an hour of red faced crying and I went into the kitchen and ate a big slice of cake while wearing my slippers and a knitted scarf. 

November 21, 2013

I never would have guessed

I never would have guessed... that I'd find myself sining the Wheels on the Bus while cutting out the backbone from a chicken. Yet there I was last Sunday night doing exactly that...with a little add lib here and there..."the kiddies on the bus say "we want chicken! we want chicken! we want chicken!" ... all through the town." My hands were gross and the little lady was fussy so I sang and sang and sliced and sliced until the backbone was clean and Alice calm. 

I never would have guessed... it would go by this quickly. I know, yadda yadda, so cliche, but it is going by so fast. Alice is almost 4 months. Gasp! I got her to giggle for the first time yesterday. We were dancing in front of the mirror, and there it was, a little chuckle. I nearly died. My heart exploded. (My heart seems to have a fast recovery time considering how many times it's exploded in the last 4 months.) 

I never would have guessed... I'd spend so much time thinking about Alice's sleep. On any given day I have no idea when she'll sleep or for how long. I can tell you that she'll likely take four naps, but when they occur and how long they last is only known by some little sleep center in Alice's brain. Right now she is taking a long nap, almost an hour and a half, which is lovely and amazing, for me and her. You see, Alice's sleep and the blog are deeply connected, because when she naps I can blog. So along with sleep I'd say I never would have guessed it would be this hard to blog. I miss it. I crave it. And yet, it's still hard to get to.

I never would have guessed...that homemade challah would be this good. Ever since Darcy posted the recipe I have been dying to make it. There's something about making your own bread that is incredibly satisfying. It's easy, yet it feels like such a worthwhile accomplishment. I've been delighting in buttered toast and avocado sandwiches and dreaming of French toast and bread pudding.

.... and here are a few favorites from my iphone.....
1) Alice all bundled for an excursion outside
2) yes, my baby has a bald spot - will it ever grow back?
3) my little Who from Whoville - reading Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who
4) a nice evening stroll
5) Alice and I rode the Chocolate Tram around town. She was eyeing all the treats.
6) cozy in her sleep sack
7 ) Fall! I love Fall!
8) Alice busy playing with her toy gym.

...and the little lady is still sleeping - from start to finish in one nap time - it's a blogging miracle :)

October 31, 2013

I hold you in my heart

I recently learned that October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Not long after I learned this I was cleaning out my pictures - my hard drive is at risk of overflowing with pictures of Alice - and found myself caught up in pictures I took last October, like the one above and the one below. I went for long meandering walks last year, walks that led me all over the city. I thought about a lot on those walks, but mostly I thought about babies - the one we had lost and the one we were hoping to have. I had had a miscarriage at 10 weeks the February before, which was gut wrenching and awful, and by October I was lost somewhere in the Trying-to-Get-Pregnant Ocean. (If you're not familiar with that particular ocean, it is a vast and dark ocean, a grizzly expanse of insurmountable waves and unreachable horizons.)

It was a difficult year. In the midst of it I gained strength from the fact that I was struggling, because this - this crappy thing that had happened to me, to us, and the journey to get pregnant again - will be one of the harder things I will have to endure. Somehow owning the struggle made it easier to keep on trudging knee deep through ovulation sticks.

The year was tough, but last October was really tough. I had gone to my doctor at the beginning of the month to check my ovaries and the size of the eggs within. She was optimistic. There was one egg that was larger than the rest. It looked good. I went back a week later. The eggs were all the same size, there was no dominant egg. She didn't think I would ovulate. I shrank into the exam table. We talked about the next steps and she set up an appointment with a fertility specialist for the end of November.

Amidst the tears I came upon this soaring sculpture, her arms outstretched in hopeful surrender. I never went to the fertility specialist. I didn't need to. This is one of those better late than never stories; one of those eggs, perhaps it was the early leader or maybe a late follower, got it's act together and made it's way out of my ovary almost two weeks after that last appointment and I got pregnant. The cycle in which I conceived Alice was not a textbook 28 day cycle, far from it, but it was a cycle nonetheless. For my type-A personality it was a good lesson - things don't always have to go as planned to turn out perfectly.

Now that Alice is here it is easier for me to reflect on the last two years. I'm not a religious person, but I firmly believe that this is the way it was meant to be. Our other baby was just setting the stage for Alice, that s/he was never meant to be here on the outside with us, and those months of trying were just Alice's little egg getting ready to shine on through. Now, looking back, I am grateful for those months, because without them this little girl, who squints her eyes and pulls her hands up to her mouth when she's happy, wouldn't be here.

I have thought about this post a lot over the last two years and hemmed and hawed about whether or not to say anything here. I mulled it over a lot the past few days after learning that October is pregnancy loss awareness month and here's what I decided: not enough people talk about pregnancy loss, and I found that talking to friends who had also had miscarriages to be one of most helpful and hopeful things during my moments of sadness; their stories quieted the "I'll never have a healthy baby" voice that sat like a dark cloud over all my other thoughts. If I can quiet that voice for someone else, just one person, then talking about my miscarriage here on the blog is worth the risk of putting something more private out there in the internet.

But as I write about this here I am all too aware of the women who have struggled longer and harder than I have. My heart leaps out of my chest for them. Maybe you are one of those women and in that case I hold you in my heart, and as the Quakers say, in the light.

Since I'm posting this on Halloween, I couldn't help but share a photo of our little Swiss Miss in the Swiss Alps dressed as an alpine flower. It's amazing how much can change in a year, truly amazing, I am beyond grateful.

October 27, 2013

quick and easy

Fast food has become a necessity around here. It probably seems obvious considering babies don't really give off a homemade orecchiette vibe (dumplings - yes!), but that doesn't mean I don't want to eat hand crimped pasta with chunky bolognese sauce, because I do. And after three months of omelet eating I can tell you that omelets do not make a good stand in for homemade pasta goodness, not even when they are stuffed with parmesan cheese. I should have spent the months leading up to Alice's arrival expanding my fast food repertoire instead of making pound cake.

Squint and you might think the curry is fall foliage. No, but really, it's perfect for this fall weather, bright, but also hearty and flavorful. It's so well suited to the season that Zach and I are going to have it again tonight. That makes it three times in one week. You'd think that on a Sunday we would have found a little bit more time to meal plan, but we didn't and although we debated carbonara, another easy meal, this curry is easier because there's less active hands on time. You just wrap it up, stick it in the oven and come back in 17-20minutes...

....just finished said curry and it was delish. I'm glad I got my butt in gear to post this recipe because I think everyone needs it on their fast-food recipe list.

Speaking of fast, I eat so fast these days. Argh. I just never know if Alice is going to whimper and cry so I tend to hoover while I have a chance. It's not a good habit and I desperately need to break it and sloooow the heck down.  

curried chicken, peppers and peas en papillote
Dorie Greenspan Around My French Table
* the recipe in it's original form with my adjustments in parenthesis

2 large skinless boneless chicken breasts
12 thin slices red onion halved (I used 1 large shallot)
1/2 red pepper cored seeded and diced (I used an entire red pepper)
1 cup peas, frozen or fresh
(I added 1/2 a diced zucchini)
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon curry powder (I used 1 tablespoon, probably depends on your curry powder)
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400ºF/200ºC

Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper each about 15 inches long.

Slice the chicken into stripes lengthwise and then crosswise in half. Put the chicken in a bowl along with the vegetables, curry powder, olive oil, salt and pepper and stir to coat.

Spoon equal amounts of the chicken-veggie mixture on to each piece of parchment paper and fold over and crimp the edges so that no steam can escape. (if you are unfamiliar with the technique you can follow the instructions on Bon Appetit.)

Put the packets on a baking sheet and bake for 17-20minutes.

Zurich is putting on an amazing fall this year. Last year, not so much, but this year has been beautiful and warm and all around lovely. Alice hasn't been taking great naps in her crib so I've taken to wrapping her up in the Moby, where she sleeps soundly, and heading out on long walks.

Also since I'm in a Dorie place of mind I wanted to tell you about an absolutely out of this world cake. It might be my favorite cake. It's a mocha-vanilla-walnut marble cake and it will blow your socks off with it's moist deliciousness. Eat it for breakfast. Eat it for a snack. Eat it for dessert. It doesn't matter when you eat it as long as you eat it.  

And here's a photo of Alice from this afternoon, our little tumblebug, about to show of her newest skill - the roll.  Love her so much I could eat her. Nom nom nommmmm. 

September 20, 2013

Swiss Miss

Alice is our little Swiss Miss. Of course she was always going to be our little Swiss Miss, but she really cemented her fate when she decided to grace us with her presence on August 1st, the Swiss equivalent of July 4th. The midwives at the hospital drew a little Swiss flag on her name card called her schätzli (little treasure). They also couldn't help but reference Alice in Wonderland. It seems that here in Switzerland the association between Alice and the rabbit hole remains strong and that's okay because our little Alice is full of wonder and is all sorts of wonderful. 

We didn't wait long before whisking our little bundle of wonder to the Alps. Zach booked our trip to Zermatt, earlier this summer, long before I knew if I'd be up and willing to pack and five week old and all her goodies into a car and drive away from the comforts of home.  I'm glad I was too preoccupied with nesting at that point to really consider what he was asking me to do. Don't get me wrong, when the time came to leave I had serious doubts - what about the car (!) and altitude (!) feeding while hiking (!) feeding without my giant breastfeeding pillow (!) and sleeping away from home (!). Thankfully it turns out Alice is a super duper traveler, but a small note-to-self - vacations with a newborn are not all that relaxing and you will end up more exhausted than when you left. Oh well, after a summer away from the mountains it was invigorating to be surrounded by peaks and fresh air and the exhaustion was worth it. 
Our favorite restaurant in Zermatt is Chez Vrony. We go every time we are there, its non-negotiable, even when getting there involves a train ride up the mountain, a rocky walk down to the restaurant, and a subsequent steeply switchbacked walk down to town after lunch. It's our happy place. I think it might always be our happy place. I told Zach that if we were ever to renew our vows we'd have to do it at Chez Vrony. This picture doesn't really do it justice, so take a look at this one, from when we were there last summer with our friends Perrin and Bobby.

The food at Chez Vrony is always good, but there tends to be a least one takeaway meal, something that I'm eager to make at home. The first time we went I was intent on making gnocchi like the ones that accompanied the lamb knuckle that I ordered. Then there was the hamburger with coleslaw and russian dressing, which resulted in many a burger with the aforementioned conditments. This time it was the plum tart. The tart was beautiful with rings of prune plums circling towards the center. The crust was thick and shortbread like with the edge pieces being especially tasty, crispy with caramelized plums and sugar. We shared one piece, and then ordered a second.

I came home and immediately googled plum tart and plum crostata, but didn't land on anything that fit the mold of the Chez Vrony tart so I stopped looking. I picked up my search again after going on a plum shopping spree at the farmers market. Once again I didn't find a tart like the one I was looking for, but what I did find was Luisa's take on Marian Burros plum crumble. I am a huge fan of the plum cake that Marian Burros published in the NYTimes and which I have made numerous times, but I'd never made her plum crumble so I figured now was a good a time as any.
The key to this crumble is the candied ginger, and well of course, the plums, but the ginger makes the plums sing. Truth is that I almost left the ginger out. I'm not a fan of ginger in general and I just wasn't sure how'd I'd feel about it messing with the sweet plums and the crispy crust. In general my mantra is to follow a recipe the first time before tweaking it so against my better judgement I grabbed a bag of candied ginger before checking out. I liked the ginger so much in the crumble that now I'm even eating plain.

So I know I said I follow recipes the first time around, I lied; I mostly follow recipes the first time around. It's just that Luisa posted on the crumble that she made, which she had tweaked by adding extra fruit, and who doesn't want extra fruit? She suggested that with the extra fruit it could double as a breakfast treat alongside yogurt, or perhaps a mid afternoon snack. Plum crumble for breakfast sounded too good to pass up, so I added extra fruit too. Luisa says to use 34 prune plums (the original calls for 12), but I just winged it and cut up all the plums that I bought from the market (all the ones pictured) and piled them in the bottom of a pie dish. It seemed like the right amount and it worked out well, so all I can say for fruit is to use as many as fill a pie dish.

Plum Crumble
from Marian Burros and Luisa The Wednesday Chef

2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp plus 1 cup flour
1/4 plus 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 heaping Tbsp finely chopped candied ginger
34 prune plums cut in half and pitted (or however many plums fit in your dish. I also used a variety of different plums, which worked out just fine)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 well beaten egg
1/2 cup unsalted buter, melted

Heat the oven to 375ºF

Mix the brown sugar, 1 1/2 Tbsp flour, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, ground ginger and candied ginger. Toss with the plums and mix well. Arrange the plums skin side up in a deep pie plate.

Combine remaining sugar, baking powder, flour, cinnamon and salt. Stir in egg. Then using your hands mix to produce little particles. Sprinkle the mixture over the plums

Drizzle the butter evenly over the crumb mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the crumble is browned and plums are bubbling.

Here are some pictures of Alice and me just hanging out in the hotel room. It turns out she likes crisp clean sheets and big plush pillows just as much as I do.

love her!

September 13, 2013

August 1, 2013

Alice MacKay Mayer

*   *   *
August 1, 2013
Zürich, Switzerland
10:32 am 
3395g (7lbs 8oz) 
52cm (20.5inches)

I started this post last week when Alice was 5 weeks, now all the sudden she is 6 weeks. There's no doubt that life has picked up speed and is flying by, just as everyone told me it would. She is a big black hole of love and cuteness; I can get lost in Alice for hours, days, weeks it turns out. 

I've started this sentence and subsequently deleted it upwards of fifteen times. I'm just not sure how to tell you about our little lady love. Let's start with the basics. Her name is Alice, a name that Zach and I both loved from the beginning, but we more often call her Müsli - Swiss German for little mouse. We like to say that there is a mouse in the house when she coos and grunts and gurgles. She's quite an expressive little girl in all the best ways. It's funny, Alice has got to be one of the loudest eaters, grunting with each swallow as if she's trying out to be a professional women's tennis player When she sleeps her hands automatically pop up near her ears like she's calling a field goal. She likes Neko Case and Chopin and dancing in the living room. But best of all she's started to smile. Who knew a smile could be so amazing? I love this little girl. 
Before another whimper interrupts my attempts to post this I'm just going to go ahead and post it, but know that there is so much more to say and share.

July 22, 2013

pound cake anyone?

I'm not sure you can ever really be ready for a baby, so with that in mind I've made sure that there's one thing I am ready for - a pound cake craving. I keep intending to stock the freezer with meatballs and casseroles, but in the moment those just don't sound that fun to make, so I make pound cakes instead. Generally each recipe makes two loaves (or I double it so that it does), and I leave one on the counter for daily snacking and slivers and I wrap the other up and stick it in the freezer. Our freezer currently contains two massive bags of frozen peas, a bag of frozen cookie dough, a pint of espresso ice cream and four pound cakes. 
Yes, four pound cakes. There is the cream cheese pound cake that I spotted on Orangette that sounded simple and lovely and like it would be a wonderful accompaniment to all the summer fruit I've been lugging home from the farmers market. It was just as heavenly as I expected. Dense but somehow delicate, perfect for breakfast, but also for dessert. And like any good pound cake, you can cut the thinest of slivers off the end with barely a crumb out of place. Slivers make for good snacks, slivers and apricots, slivers and cherries, slivers and peaches. You can see where I'm going with this...

After the cream cheese pound cake came an espresso pound cake. Espresso powder stirred in boiling water and joined by more eggs than I can remember using in a cake, half and half, flour, butter, and a lot of sugar. It's Zach's grandmother's recipe. I'm still working out a couple kinks, mostly the baking time. You start with a cold oven, only turning it on when the cake is inside. Have you heard of that before? Perhaps you have some tips. I cooked mine slightly too long. It was good, and don't get me wrong, there is one wrapped in the freezer for later, but it was missing just a little bit of the seemingly magical moistness that defines Boggi's version. I'm going to keep baking and keep tweaking and hopefully there will be a recipe for you soon.
The third contestant in the pound cake bake off isn't actually called a pound cake, but rather a snacking cake, a Whole Wheat Cinnamon Snacking Cake to be exact. When I saw it on Jess's blog and realized it was officially a snacking cake, as opposed to a breakfast cake or a dessert cake or a birthday cake, I knew I had to try it. As it turns out Jess was also nearing the end of her pregnancy when she made it, making me think that maybe there's something about snacking and cakes and pregnancy that align to create the perfect cake. And this is the perfect cake. It's subtle, which I like, but also sturdy enough to be a wonderful base for peanut butter or jelly or both, or honey, or hunks of fresh fruit. The whole wheat provides a nutty flavor while the cinnamon manages to sneak in to your senses as you're about to swallow. It's a friendly cake, friendly because it doesn't limit itself to certain times of day or certain meals, it's an eat-me-whenever-you-feel-like-it cake, and right now, that's my kind of cake. 
And last up there is the banana bread I made to keep our stomachs happy as we sat through a nine hour infant CPR and first aid course. I've made this banana bread a lot. You could say it's my go-to. But this time, I went back to the original recipe. After a healthy amount of tweaking it seemed necessary to reign it in a bit and revisit the original, and I'm glad I did. The original calls for shredded coconut, which I had initially left out thinking if I was going to use chocolate - and I always use chocolate in banana bread - that it would be too much to also use coconut. Turns out I was wrong. The coconut is not overpowering and lightens the texture a bit. Even with the chocolate and the coconut, this is still very much a banana bread. 

Banana Bread
Mark Bittman - How to Cook Everything
makes 1 loaf

8 Tbsp/1 stick butter, softened 
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork until smooth
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 - 1 1/2 bars dark chocolate, chopped. 

Heat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with butter. 

Mix together the dry ingredients. Cream the butter with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer. Beat in the eggs and bananas. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients, just enough to combine. Gently stir in the coconut and chocolate. 

Pour the batter in the loaf pan and bake for 45-60 minutes, until nicely browned. This bread is meant to be moist, so while a toothpick should come out fairly clean do not expect it to be perfectly dry, especially with all the chocolate in there. An overcooked banana bread is a sad thing, so try your best to guesstimate when it's done. Let it cool on wire rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. 

And when you've finished the banana bread make these two cakes.....
And because I'm sure you are curious, here is my pound cake belly....I mean my baby belly. 37 weeks in the water and 36 weeks with the polka dot bag. I'm now 38 weeks, quickly making my way to 39! wow. I don't feel like the baby is going to make an early arrival, but then again, what do I know?

Since the freezer is already stocked with cake I want to spend the next two weeks squeezing some savory meals in there. Do you have any recommendations? I'm struggling to think of things and I'd love to hear any ideas that you might have.

April 22, 2013


Even though the oven remained off and the kitchen empty my camera was full, full with the same roll of film for almost four months. I just recently got the roll developed and wanted to share the photos with you. They span from December through early March. Winter here was bleak. There were months without sun. In retrospect it's probably better I don't have many photos from the depths of the darkness. 

The earliest photos on the roll are from a quick, random, weekend trip that Zach and I took to London in early December. It was before the morning sickness struck and let me tell you, I was all about the duck confit sandwich that we got while wandering through Borough Market. 

 Zach couldn't resist and also sampled the corned beef.

Santa Cristina Val Gardena::
For Christmas we slipped away to the Dolomites in Northern Italy with some friends. Zach skied while I drank hot chocolate and sat in the sun.

Since I couldn't ski this year we spent more weekends than we otherwise would have here in Zürich. We read The New Yorker at home and went out for latte macchiatos. I also started up a little needlepoint project. If by some miracle I finish it I think it will make a cute pillow or little bench for our little bébé.