The snowy white blossoms peeking over the fence between houses. The lone crocus springing up in the middle of our slightly overgrown yard. Petals littering our front steps. These are the first signs of spring I’ve seen. They’re really the only signs of anything I’ve seen in the past few weeks. With the time change, I’ve gone from going to work when it’s dark and coming home when it’s dark to at least being able to see peeks of sunshine and the warm weather that’s quickly set in here. Being inside all day when the world around you is coming to life messes with your head a bit – making the days seem just a bit longer, those dark hours a bit more so.
I’ve been wanting to sit down and write a list of some of the things I’ve been reading and bookmarking but, well, I guess that might be what Pinterest is for these days. I’ve been meaning to sit down and gush enthusiastically about the workshop I’m helping out with in Charleston with two really amazing ladies. It’s sold out now, however – amazing since it’s months and months away. I love Charleston and I love the people I’ll be spending those days with. I hope I’ll see you there.
When I started my blog what seems like decades ago, I was sort of skeptical that people would want to make recipes they found here – why I don’t know. The kind notes and emails submitted through the site about things I’ve whipped up making other people happy? They fuel my fire and tickle me to no end. I read them all whether I have time to send a few words back. The unexpected offshoot of all of this is developing recipes for other folks – businesses and produce growers and the like – on days when I’m not in the studio.
As a kid, my dad’s favorite dessert was angel food cake or pound cake with sugary strawberries – you know, with that syrupy liquid poured over it all? There’s a place for that, of course…but as I’ve said a multitude of times here, I don’t have that much of a sweet tooth. So when the folks at California Strawberry Commission asked if I’d create a recipe for their blog, I saw it as an opportunity to work on a not-so-sweet version of the dessert I grew up eating. I do so love the play of sweet and savory and there’s no better example of that than fresh strawberries and balsamic vinegar. Throw in a dash or two of black pepper – also a great friend to strawberries – and it’s a grown-up version of an iconic dessert. You can find the recipe for this Black Pepper Spongecake with Balsamic Whipped Cream and Strawberries here.
Oh and about that list of things I’ve been loving and lusting? Here are just a few of them: