Cherokee Wild Huckleberry Cake

huckleberry, blueberry, cake, Cherokee

I got lovely blueberries at the farmer’s market.  They were small with deep blue color and a concentrated blueberry flavor, reminiscent of huckleberries.  I thought they would be great for this Cherokee Wild Huckleberry Cake from A World of Cake by Krystina Castella.  I love international foods, especially cakes and pastries, so I really like this cookbook.  I’ve been wanting to bake a cake from it.  Now that autumn is upon us, this cake is the perfect way to say goodbye to summer.

Castella writes that after European colonization, a Native American-European fusion cuisine emerged.  This particular cake uses masa harina, honey, huckleberries and walnuts.  I omitted the walnuts, and I didn’t make the glaze.  I also baked it in a 9-inch square pan instead of a dome pan.

blueberry, huckleberry, cake, Cherokee



Icelandic Mashed Fish, or Plokkfiskur

plokkfiskur, Icelandic

Icelandic mashed fish and potatoes, or plokkfiskur, was my favorite dish when I visited Iceland.  It’s like American mashed potatoes with added mashed fish.  It’s a very comforting dish for cold weather.  Since the weather is changing and getting cooler, I thought it would be good.  I adapted this recipe from Cool Dishes by Nanna Rognvaldardottir.

Mashed fish, or plokkfiskur

3 codfish steaks, cooked

3 medium potatoes, washed and peeled

1 onion, chopped

1/2 stick butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups milk

salt to taste

pepper to taste

pinch chives

Boil the potatoes as you would for mashed potatoes, until they are soft enough for mashing.  Cook the codfish (I boiled it).  Mash them both together in a mixing bowl with a potato masher.  Saute the onion in the butter until soft.  Add flour and stir.  Add milk, salt and pepper.  Bring to a low boil, then lower to a simmer until thickened, stirring often.  Add milk mixture to mashed potatoes and fish and mix.  Top with chives.

Remembering Sacco and Vanzetti

On August 23, 1927, 88 years ago, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed by electrocution for murder during a robbery.  Their murders were the result of anti-Italian sentiment prevalent at the time.  However, at the time, many people protested this injustice, including one of my favorite writers, Dorothy Parker.

I thought I would mention this on the anniversary of their execution, as my blog also touches on Italian American history as it pertains to food.  Vanzetti had trained for six years in Italy at pastry shops and bakeries.  He was a caramel maker.  Although, he did not like it because of the awful working conditions.  When he came to the United States, through an agent, he found a job as a dishwasher at an Italian restaurant.  He worked at two other restaurants and he was fired from both.  Later, he found out that these agents paid the restaurant owners for every worker they hired, so it made sense for a restaurant to fire and rehire new employees.  He described his experience at one of the restaurants:

“The pantry was horrible. There was not a single window in it. When the electric light for some reason was out it was totally dark, so that one couldn’t move without running into things. The vapor of the boiling water where the plates, pans and silver were washed formed great drops of water on the ceiling, took up all the dust and grime there, then fell slowly one by one upon my head as I worked below.

During the working hours the heat was terrific. The table leavings amassed in barrels near the pantry gave out nauseating exhalations. The sinks had no direct sewerage connection. Instead the water was permitted to overrun to the floor. In the center of the room there was a drain. Every night the pipe was clogged and the greasy water rose higher and higher and we trudged in the slime.”

Vanzetti wrote an autobiography while awaiting execution.  It is a wonderful piece of literature and is every bit as relevant today.  If you have a chance, read it here.

His beautiful last words are here.  Unfortunately, we still live in a time where man is wolf to man.  He said, “If it had not been for these thing
I might have lived out my life talking at street corners to scorning men.
I might have die, unmarked, unknown, a failure. Now we are not a failure.
This is our career and our triumph. Never in our full life could we hope to do such work for tolerance, for justice, for men’s understanding of man, as now we do by accident. Our words, our lives, our pains – nothing! The taking of our lives – lives of a good shoemaker and a poor fishpeddler – all! That last moment belongs to us – that agony is our triumph.”

Vanzetti and Sacco were killed that day, but their message lives on.  Hatred, violence, intolerance, discrimination, bias, abuse are words that should not exist.  But man’s inhumanity to man continues.  Labor issues and economic interests are still at the forefront of our lives. The owner of Alibaba buys the second most expensive house in the world while the Chinese people are dying in factory explosions.

Hahn’s Crumb Cake


crumb cake, Hahn's

As a recent birthday gift, I ordered a crumb cake from Hahn’s Old Fashioned Cake Company in Farmingdale, Long Island, New York.  I was very excited that it took only two days to get to its destination.  It arrived fresh and loaded with big, fat crumbs!

crumb cake, Hahn's

I just love this pick of the crumbs.

crumb cake, Hahn's

A Little Bit of Brazil in Soho

brigadeiro, brigadeiro bakery, brazil

While on my way to St. Anthony’s church in Soho, I stumbled upon Brigadeiro Bakery in Soho.  I’d never had a brigadeiro.  A brigadeiro is a Brazilian confection made from condensed milk and butter.  Yeah, you read that right.  Why hadn’t I heard of this before?

Since it was my first time visiting the bakery, the woman behind the counter let me sample one.  I chose banana cinnamon, and wow, the pop of sweet banana with the kick of cinnamon made me buy a half dozen more.

brigadeiro, brigadeiro bakery, brazil

I got chocolate, coconut, pistachio, Oreo and almonds & honey.   All were great.  My two favorites are banana cinnamon and coconut.

brigadeiro, brigadeiro bakery


House Passes the Dark Act

Yesterday, the House passed H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, better known as the Dark (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act.  Now it goes to the Senate.  If the bill becomes law, it would repeal Vermont’s labeling law and it would preempt any state law requiring labeling of GMOs.

Health, food and environmental advocates are against this bill, but if you read the websites of some farmers and farm organizations, they are for it.  Well, that is how they earn their bread and butter.

I recently took a drive into Southeastern North Carolina, through fields of farmland, tobacco and other crops.  I saw a sign posted near a field of something I didn’t recognize that said, Bayer CropScience.

Creamy Tropical Fruit Salad

I got a golden dragon melon at the Asian market this week and decided to make a tropical fruit salad.  If you’ve never had a golden dragon melon, it tastes like a cantaloupe.

golden dragon melon, golden melon

Creamy Tropical Fruit Salad

1 can coconut milk

3 tablespoons lime juice

assorted fruits of your choice–I used:

1 golden dragon melon; seeded, peeled and diced

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2 pints strawberries, sliced

3 bananas, sliced

1 mango, peeled and sliced

1/2 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened and organic

Mix all together and top with some extra coconut flakes.  Refrigerate.  Best the second day.

fruit salad