“I give you this to take with you: Nothing remains as it was. If you know this, you can begin again, with pure joy in the uprooting.” Judith Minty, Letters to My Daughters
We spent the weekend packing. It is odd how quickly a home can change when everything that defined the house is placed in a box. Suddenly, something so familiar and comforting becomes stark and cold. You see the house with different eyes. You separate yourself from it because you know it is easier to let go of it and what it meant to you than to carry it with you. Once all the stuff is packed you realize it is just that: stuff, replaceable crap. It is not so much the walls you will miss but the life, the moments, that place in time you cannot get back. It is accepting that “nothing remains as it was.”
Though not planned, it seems fitting that our best friends, the couple that introduced us to this house and this town 6 years ago came over for our last dinner with friends. I was newly pregnant with Charlotte when they mentioned the condo above them was for sale. Bubba and I took a look and 3 months later we left Boston for the burbs. We spent 5 years living in the same multi-family above two of our favorite people. It was like living with family who respected boundaries. It was built in social time for new parents who were a little shocked by how much a baby had changed everything. Babies were born, jobs changed, friends and family married and divorced, a loved one passed, kids grew and we aged too. It sounds corny but the passage of time is so dam beautiful and heart-breaking all at the same time.
Surrounded by boxes and bubble wrap we spent our last Saturday night at the table chatting, laughing and drinking beer. It is what we do best when we are together. I made 2 desserts; desserts that are perfect to share with friends.
Grapefruit Crinkle Cookies
Adapted from White on Rice Couple’s Meyer Lemon Crinkle Cookies
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon of Grapefruit zest
2 Tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda for a minute and set aside.
Zest the grapefruit so you have 1 Tablespoon of zest. In a small bowl add grapefruit zest to the 1/2 cup of sugar and blend together with your fingers. This will make the sugar very fragrant and you will end up with a tastier cookie.
In a mixer, with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and grapefruit sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract, egg and grapefruit juice until well combined. After two or three minutes scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for several minutes to make sure everything is well incorporated.
Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to get all of the flour mixed into the dough.
Sift the confectioners sugar on a large plate. Make the dough into 1 inch sized balls. (A small cookie scoop works great here.) Roll the balls in the confectioners sugar then place a couple of inches apart on the lined cookie sheets.
Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies just begin to turn golden and the tops of the cookies no longer look wet. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool for about five minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Strawberry Summer Cake
Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for 9 or 10 spring-form pan
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of oat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
7/8 cup of granulated sugar (1 cup of sugar minus two tablespoons)
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
2 Tablespoons Turbinado Sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9 or 10 inch springform pan. ( A nine or ten inch deep dish pie pan will also work. A standard pie plate will not work here because the batter will overflow.)
Whisk flours, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl and set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and 7/8 cup of sugar until pale and fluffy with about 3 minutes. Beat in egg, milk and vanilla until just combined. Slowly, add dry mixture mixing until just smooth.
Pour into prepared pan. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer. You may need to overlap them to get all of them on the batter. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of turbinado sugar over berries.
Bake cake for 10 minutes at 350°F then reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake cake until golden brown or until a tester comes out clean, about 50 minutes to 60 minutes. (Wet strawberries on the tester are ok.) Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream.
Cake can be stored, loosely covered, at room temperature for up to 2 days.