|Lillian and Rachael looking (and being) adorable!|
Everyone is asking me “How is retirement going?” Well, pretty much the same, except that I haven’t been to work. Last week was a marathon of feeling busy and a little overwhelmed by life. When Rachael asked what I was doing to keep myself so busy, I really couldn’t say. Basically, not much! At least nothing noteworthy. Besides whinging about the weather, of course! On Saturday, the Ross/Ryan/Warner group took me out to lunch at one of my favorite restaurants. We walked through frigid climes, through the Denny Woo Gardens to Chinatown. This is a pleasant walk at nearly any weather, rain and sleet excepted. We stopped to view the chickens, who seemed happy to see us and to not be minding the freezing temperatures. At the restaurant, I was complaining about the stressful demanding evening coming up. Rachael explained to Lillian – “Of all the traumatic things that happen in a year, Annie’s (that’s me) top stress event is preparing choir treats.” And that’s true. I generally put it off till it can be put off no longer, and then freak out. Then I knuckle down, cook till midnight, get up at four and freak some more. This year was no exception, especially when the yeast on my little pita breads failed, turning them into things which resembled leather more than breads. “Call them crackers,” Rebecca advised when I frantically called her. The morning of, my partner, my wonderful friend John of JohnandPeggy, came to fetch me and my food. I was not ready, of course, but with his soothing calm and his efficient help, we got everything done and transported in time.
I did make cookies well in advance. They are both from recipes I hadn’t made in years, but used to make when Rebecca was wee. We lived in the middle of an almond orchard which had one persimmon tree, so I made lots of persimmon desserts. These cookies were a favorite.
1 cup persimmon pulp*
1 tsp soda
1 cup sugar
½ cup shortening
2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp each, cloves, nutmeg, and salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped nutmeats (I use walnuts which I toast a bit first)
Cream the first four ingredients. Add the egg and mix it in well. Whisk together the flour and spices, and stir them in. Stir in the raisins and nuts.
Bake on a greased (or use your silpat) cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes.
Marcia’s Ginger Cakes (from my friend Marcia Bates)
2 cups flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon powdered ginger
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup butter
Mix the dry ingredients well, then, using your hands, combine in the butter until it is well distributed and the whole is crumbly. Pat down into a 9” square cake pan, and bake at 325 for 45-60 minutes. While still warm, cut the ginger cakes into finger shaped pieces. Carefully remove the pieces from the pan and store in a covered tin.
I recalled that this recipe was really quick and easy, but it seemed way less quick this time. I think that in the past, I must have mixed in the butter with my food processer. I didn’t do this today because (a) the recipe said use your hands, and (b) – the main reason – the food processer is heavy and hard to get out of the cupboard where I keep it. So, if you have a food processer – use it.
*Use very ripe hachiya persimmons. These are best for baking, while fuyu are ready to eat.