My Story

I've always loved being in the kitchen. Isn't that the gathering place at parties and get togethers! That's where the action is, where delicious smells come from, and where I go to create some really great stuff! My Grandma was my inspiration. She lived her life in Baltimore and she was ALWAYS in the kitchen (or down at the VFW for a crab feast and beer) but Alice created so many wonderful meals for our family. I remember there was always soup before the meal, usually a steaming bowl of crab soup with a rich tomato broth and lots of vegetables. Her crab cakes were incredible, a recipe I use today, and undeniably the best. I would challenge ANY other crab cake recipe to match my Grandma Alice's. The first meal I made for my mom was macaroni and cheese from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook back when I was about 7 years old. I was very proud of it, and it was really good..a creamy white sauce combined with good old cheddar and shells sprinkled with toasted bread crumbs..yum. So off I went through life, cooking and baking, and came to realize that baking was the shizzy. I loved finding a great recipe and making it even better. Funny my kids didn't like sweets much, so I showered friends and neighbors with treats. Later down the road, when some real decisions needed to be made, I decided to attend the baking and pastry arts program at The California Culinary Academy. I was 47 years old and had no idea what I was in for (another blog). So I mastered the art of baking thanks to a dedicated and talented team of instructors. I did a gig in the basement of well known pastry kitchens and had a wonderful time working for a small caterer cooking with a great bunch of gals. But here I am now, still cooking, still baking and loving it, in my own kitchen where I can share my love of this sport with the world. I take all my own photos (another passion) and I hope you will have patience and stay with me in this newest adventure. So thank you Grandma Alice for all those delicious memories, stories and inspiration. Stay tuned..

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

32 lemons

We have a rather strange lemon tree in our backyard.  It's trunk reaches all the way up to the roof (about 7 feet) and then it branches out above the roof line.  This spring, my lemon tree started producing lemons...many lemons, and hasn't stopped since.  I've used my lemons in numerous meals and drinks, taken them on vacation, given them away to neighbors, and even sent them to work with my husband.

But being such a tall tree, I can't just reach up and pick the lemons, they're way out of my reach. When those lemons are good and ready, they fall to the ground.  But every now and then when I'm feeling rather peppy, I'll go in to the garage, get my 8 foot fruit picker (you know the kind with the basket on the end) and I'll go fishing for lemons.  I usually end up being showered with leaves, getting the tiny flowers and lemon dust in my eyes as I look up at my lemon tree to try and coax them down off the branches. The picker really isn't such a great system, so the lemons end up falling to the ground when they're good and ready, and where I go to gather them up.

 This summer I would go out nearly every morning with my coffee and look at the progress of my vegetable garden (sorry Jim, I know you planted it).  I'd water my lavender, sage, roses, gardenia and my herb garden (yes, I planted it).  So with my coffee in one hand and the hose in the other, I'd eventually end up under the lemon tree.

I'd always end up putting either the coffee down, or the hose, but sometimes both, and look around for something to bring the lemons in to the house with. Instead, I would end up gathering all my lemons in my shirt and there I'd be, 10 or so lemons in the pouch of my shirt holding it all together with one hand.  The other hand free to grab my coffee, which at this point is most likely cold.  It never occurs to me during all this figuring out, to walk back to the kitchen (which is all the way around the other side of the house) to get a bowl, or basket, or something to make things easier for myself.  But I guess I got into a routine of doing it this way, gathering those lemons.  Part of a ritual for me on those early summer mornings.  A summer break that has passed too quickly.

The last time I gathered my lemons was Friday.  I counted 32 (from the week) into a big beautiful bowl.  I squeezed them, froze most of the juice, zested 4 or 5,  and made a batch of my favorite lemon bars to share at dinner with our dear friends and neighbors.

This morning I went out as usual coffee and hose in hand, and walked over to my tree to gather the fallen lemons, but to my dismay, there were no lemons on the ground.  As I turned around to go, cold cup of coffee in my hand, one single lemon fell right on to my head.

I guess summer's not quite over yet...

The crust.  Buttery. Slightly sweet.  A hint of crunch with each bite.

The curd.  Tart and sweet.  Thick and creamy.

A to-die-for taste of summer.

Worth every calorie.


  1. Your photos are marvelous. Bold yellow lemons. Lemon Bars! Loving your blog Kate. Sometimes I like to guess what Kate is doing in the kitchen next. Usually I can't guess, but always surprised. Keep them coming...

  2. As the saying goes, when you have lemons make lemonade. Does that make sense? Food is definitely a passion for many. The cooks and the people that love to eat. If I could I would have you as my personal cook. What a concept. Thanks for your great blog. Hope you can come sit on my deck someday.