the lazy susan

an ever-revolving page of pure serendipity, curiosity and other wonderments…

worth pondering...
“half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination. you are always living three, or indeed six, months hence. i believe that people entirely devoid of imagination never can be really good gardeners. to be content with the present, and not striving about the future, is fatal.”
–alice morse earle, 1897

i wait all year for the blue pools to spill. if we hold our breath, and click our heels, they’ll soon be spilling. they are scilla, or siberian squill. they are not the first to break through the cold hard earth. that would be the snowdrop. or the crocus, from where your saffron comes. scilla grows in old earth. it multiplies. carpets. pools. i know just where to look for great oceans of it. i drive there. or walk there. i drink in scilla. i brought you a cup or two. sweet, isn’t it? seems i couldn’t contain myself. the scilla spilled. all over the page. it could not be contained.

everyday poetry dept.

one of the joys of all life, i do believe, is the wonder of catching bits of poetry in everyday talk. it is like stumbling upon a climbing rose in a thicket of plain old weeds. i collect these bits. and just the other day, i heard a line so heavenly, i decided we must all begin to keep them in a special drawer, here on the lazy susan. if you hear a line, a bit of poetry, a way of cobbling words together that sends you to the moon, well, let me know. i’ll tuck them here. where the poetry in our lives will grow. because we’re on the prowl.
here’s the first…
in telling a story about standing in her corn field, a thunderstorm in the offing, the wise and wonderful terry starks, wrote this….

“The sky began to rumble, as if it had eaten a bad star the night before-and I furiously
chopped at dirt clods, breaking them up and over my corn.”

she did it again…
on her wonderful blog, true calling, terry told this tale of the cantankerous winter that would not go to bed…

“I find winter can be, at this time of year especially- like a child who is too sleepy, disgruntled, dragging its feet before it retires…whining in winds, crying in precipitation like tears from rain storms, and even still-an ice and snow covering as its security blanket. Perhaps that is why the little birds sing…to help put winter to bed, to sing to it sweetly- a lullaby of Spring.”
and here’s yet another…

this from a bed-and-breakfast keeper in sedona, arizona, after a gentle rain fell…

“it was a female rain,” she told my friend susan. “a nurturing rain,” she explained.

may female rains fall all around you. when you need one, and even when you don’t.

a moment’s silence….
it’s been years now, but i still can’t take this down. just before christmas 2007, a gentle saint among us died. he was best-known as the pigeon man of lincoln square. a few weeks later, at a sidewalk gathering of friends and strangers–even pigeons–who came to say goodbye, to honor the spirit of the man who held out his arms and was cloaked in flocks and flocks of feathered friends, 200 compassion cards (text below) were passed out, each along with a slice of squishy white bread to feed the birds. the words are worth slowly consuming…

compassion: deep awareness of others’ suffering, accompanied by the desire to alleviate it. joe zeman 1930-2007. be the change.

cooking class:

pssst, the equinox is upon us….

any day now, the earth and sun will slide into that angle that defines the dawn of spring. we, awaiting, might rev our engines with a little thematic baking.

i checked in with nigel slater, whose heavenly “the kitchen diaries: a year in the kitchen with nigel slater” (gotham books), takes us through a year of cookery in his english kitchen, with kitchen garden just a step outside. no fool nigel (a columnist for london’s “the observer”), he marks the season of new beginnings with brown sugar lemon cake with thick yogurt. lucky nigel, he lives in london, where it’s milder in the midst of march. he tells us that he ate this out of doors. we could only dream of such good fortune.

here’s to spring dreams, and fortune such as his….

brown sugar lemon cake with thick yogurt

from nigel lawson’s “the kitchen diaries”

he writes that unwaxed or organic lemons are essential. he likes to serve with fresh fruit–sliced mango, raspberries, or poached apricots. that, he opines, transforms the cake from one for simple tea to one fitting the end of a springtime dinner….

here then, his cooking roadmap…

butter–1 3/4 cups

brown sugar–1 cup

all-purpose flour–1 cup

ground almonds–2/3 cup

baking powder–3/4 tsp.

a large lemon

large eggs–4

for the topping:

a lemon

brown sugar–2 generous tbsps.

water–4 tbsps.

for the syrup:

brown sugar–2 generous tbsps.

the juice of a large lemon

follow along:

set the oven to 325 degrees. line a loaf pan (10x4x3-inch deep) with baking parchment.

to make the topping, slice the lemon thinly and put it in a small saucepan with the sugar and water. bring to a boil, then watch closely for five minutes or so, until the water has almost evaporated and the lemon slices are sticky. set aside.

beat the butter and sugar together in a food mixer till they are light and fluffy. you can expect it to take a little longer than it would with superfine sugar. meanwhile, measure the flour and almonds and mix with baking powder. grate the zest of the lemon and add to the flour mixture.

break the eggs and beat lightly with a fork, then add to creamed butter and sugar a little at a time. the mixture will probably curdle a little but don’t worry. remove the mixing bowl from machine, and gently fold in flour, almonds, and baking powder with a large metal spoon (a wooden spoon would knock the air out).

scoop the cake mixture into lined pan, then lay reserved lemon slices on top, overlapping them down the center of the cake. bake about 45 minutes, till risen and golden. insert a metal skewer to see if done. remove the cake from oven and set aside.

for the syrup, stir the brown sugar into the lemon juice; it will only partially dissolve. spike the top of cake with a metal skewer, then spoon over the lemon and sugar. leave to cool.

–enough for 8, he tells us. dollop with heavy cream, greek yogurt or creme fraiche. pile high with fruits of spring. lick your vernal lips…