Currently viewing the tag: "grapefruit"

citrus poundcake

‘What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.’ – TS Eliot, Four Quartets

Somehow we’re back to blood oranges. A year ago I made doughnuts with them, and quick bread. I’m not quite sure where the time went – months have flown by, with so many changes, yet somehow it is all a blur.

This Bundt cake is adapted from Yossy’s beautiful book Sweeter Off the Vine (the doughnuts mentioned above are found among its pages, too). I find myself taking far too many trips to the refrigerator to sneak another sliver; the sweet, tart flavors and pieces of citrus flesh scattered throughout the cake (Yossy describes them as ‘jammy pockets’) are worth any extra indulgence on my part. If you don’t have Sweeter Off the Vine, I highly recommend it. It’s a stunning collection of recipes and photographs, and everything turns out delicious.

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hemingway's daiquiri | the vanilla bean blog
The Sun Also Rises was the first Hemingway novel I read. His short stories made a brief appearance in my high school career but were instantly shelved; the subject matter was a too dark for a 16-year old ray of sunshine who secretly still read Nancy Drew mysteries. The Sun Also Rises is rather bleak as well, but there was no choice about reading as a five page paper was required to go along with it. I read the book in an entire day (that pesky paper was due the following morning), and found myself equally loving and hating Hemingway. He is genius about throwing in the most brilliant sentence or two just when you least see it coming. He sneaks it in so well, weaving it into conversation or description so quickly and quietly in his unpretentious prose. It will derail you in a put-the-book-down-for-just-a-minute-I’m-having-an-ah!-moment kind of way, and then you’re back, half caring about characters and storyline, mildly depressed and needing a drink.
hemingway's daiquiri | the vanilla bean blog
hemingway's daiquiri | the vanilla bean blog
hemingway's daiquiri | the vanilla bean blog
hemingway's daiquiri | the vanilla bean blog
hemingway's daiquiri | the vanilla bean blog
hemingway's daiquiri | the vanilla bean blog
My brother-in-law Dave came over recently and made Hemingway’s daiquiri. There’s nothing sweet or slushy about his version, but I think that’s appropriate. Grapefruit juice, lime juice, rum, and maraschino liqueur are all shaken together and poured into ice cold cups. It’s a drink that grows on you. I found myself cringing at the first taste, enjoying it as it went down, and interested enough in the aftertaste to take another sip. It was really just like reading Hemingway.

“Don’t you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you’re not taking advantage of it? Do you realize you’ve lived nearly half the time you have to live already?”
“Yes, every once in a while.”
“Do you know that in about thirty-five more years we’ll be dead?”
“What the hell, Robert,” I said. “What the hell.”
“I’m serious.”
“It’s one thing I don’t worry about,” I said.
“You ought to.”
“I’ve had plenty to worry about one time or other. I’m through worrying.”
“Well, I want to go to South America.”
“Listen, Robert, going to another country doesn’t make any difference. I’ve tried all that. You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. There’s nothing to that.”
“But you’ve never been to South America.”
“South America hell! If you went there the way you feel now it would be exactly the same. This is a good town. Why don’t you start living your life in Paris?”
-Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

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I often find myself flitting between two seasons. I do happen to live in a State that seems to only bring winter and summer, with more of the first. There is no mild weather here; we are freezing cold to blazing hot, with only a handful of perfect days in between (those days where the warm, breezy afternoons make their way into a cool, breezy evenings…) But here and now it is mostly cold, always cold. I find myself feeling the same inside. There times where my head and heart are racing with words and ideas and it’s all I can do to keep up with them, but mostly I feel snowed in. The words are there but buried, and I can’t dig them up and place them in sentences.

But there has been a small break through, one word jotted down on the corner of some crumbled paper on my desk: core. My heart has been beating it through me all week, over and over; it courses along with my blood: core. Here, buried in snow, waiting for spring; here, where unending white blankets bring silence to all streets; here and now is the time to focus on the core.

The core of me: of my mind, my soul, my body.


My mom was a firm believer in grapefruit. It was a magical fruit, and she ate half of one every morning for breakfast and every night before bed. She convinced me daily it would clear up my acne and speed up my metabolism. So every morning and every night I would take her other half, the one left out for me, sprinkle it with too much sugar, and use a special little spoon with special jagged edges to cut out segments that I forced into my mouth; dreaming of a clear face and a summer vacation that would not be sweated out in pants and long skirts. My lips puckered in silent prayers there at the kitchen table; I crossed my fingers that this would work.

When I finally got to college I stopped bothering with my grapefruit ritual. I guess I didn’t have the magic in me – it never worked it’s secret powers and I was still avoiding shorts all summer long. I managed to find other successful ways to deal with my issues, and snickered at my mom if she ever mentioned grapefruit. I could now walk confidently past it in the grocery store, picking up the lemons and limes that reside next to those ruby reds, avoiding the pink, tart circle that failed me.But one day, out of the blue, I was intrigued by grapefruit-rosemary sauce. I don’t know why. It sounded interesting, and I’d been craving citrus, after all. I decided to try it. My husband raised his eyebrows when I unpacked the grapefruit from the grocery bag. He never really liked it. The kids were curious, excited about the ‘really big orange’ and took turns holding it. We placed it in the fruit dish with the oranges, yellows, and greens; it’s large, pink flesh towering over the edge of the bowl. It lingered there for a week as I kept putting off using it, not sure if I really wanted to eat it again. I pretended not to notice it there, on display in the kitchen, but finally gave into it one snowy night, giving in to its spell.



It pared nicely with the rosemary and a touch of honey. In fact, it was delicious. Adam and I eagerly spooned it over the chicken and potatoes, soaking it in the bread, enjoying the sweet-tart citrus flavor. There, at the table, I started to day dream of other things to make with grapefruit, enchanted by it’s deep pink flesh, it’s unique taste. It was one of those moments, an adult moment, when I realized that something bitter and misjudged from my childhood could be redeemed, made sweet. It was magical.

That night, when the house was quiet, I went to the fruit bowl, and passed up the oranges, the lemons, and the limes. My hand rested on a grapefruit, one single grapefruit that hadn’t been used. There I saw my mother, before bed, unafraid of the tart segments, taking apart the fruit with jagged edges of a spoon that cut deep. With her there, in my mind, I sliced it open and sprinkled too much sugar over the beautiful pink pieces. I wanted to believe again.

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I have found it is never a good idea to make New Year resolutions. Because while I have such good intentions of so many things, a mere three weeks later they are forgotten, or I have moved on in guilt. Still, this January, I made one anyway. It came about after another night of pinning and tweeting and emailing on my little rectangular device. In between checking apps I would pick up a book, read three sentences, and set it down – I had absolutely no attention span. I realized, staring at my greasy little screen, my forefingers burning from scrolling and my elbow slowly going numb, that the longer I had owned my itouch, the less I had been reading [and writing! and knitting! and sewing!] and the harder it was for me to keep focused on something I had always deemed so important.
So my one resolution is to read – to spend most these winter nights curled up with a book: old or new, long or short, and waste my time in words. For don’t you remember? All the secrets of the world are contained in books. Read at your own risk.*
*Lemony Snicket
 
For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die. – Anne Lamott
I think I might be breaking some blog rules. These muffins are very similar to the ones I just posted, and I’m posting about muffins twice this week. Also, I have nothing witty to say about them, except that I find these muffins amazingly wonderful – no dairy, white flour, or sugar, but yet still incredibly tasty. It’s the treat I want to start this New Year with. So, Happy New Year dear friends and readers! Let’s shake things up a bit.

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Hello. Just popping in to bring you a simple salad, a humble lunch. Winter fruit and spring greens join hands and walk together, merging seasons in my mind and belly. My heart longs for spring, but there is still beauty in white-washed horizons and tree branches glistening with snow.
‘In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.’ – Albert Camus

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