Saturday, March 1, 2014

Last day of February

the first crocuses penetrate the crust of winter soil
bright light gathered and blooming

white petals greet blue sky
asserting rebirth
     unseen incarnations of earthworms, microbes
     and the lacy growth of mold
     make fertile the ground for seed

a robin     a chickadee
flocks of indigenous year-rounders
     swoop and soar
     compete for soggy rowan berries
     challenge gusty winds head-on

this is the day of the poem:
     newly budded maple swells,
          red branches frame the horizon
     and the smell of spring
          - promising, returning, awakening -

permeates my blood like a lover

Doreen Shababy
copyright 2014

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Brigid's Day Poem

She wakens at Dawn

And into Light She entered
as new light over the wide horizon.
She entered Trusting and Certain
with the forest as her Temple,
learned courage and confidence,
scryed into the Mirror of the Moon,
and spoke the song of Moon Birds across the Light.

And into Light She fell,
as a Child before the Mother
at the quenching of desire,
as the shaft of Light through Stone
marks beginning from beginning to beginning.

And into Light She rose,
freed from concentation,
as Her Own True Self,
pure illumination,
Primordial, Archetypal, Divine.

And Light She engulfed
And Light She radiated
and Light She did Become.

Doreen Shababy
copyright 2013

Monday, January 13, 2014

Lemony Pound Cake -- Gluten-free and "Lighter"

Really, I need to remind myself to photograph these forays into the kitchen. I barely got a shot at the cake itself - and not even the "whole" cake at that! - before I realized what I wasn't doing. Because I was eating. Which is doing, technically, but I forget about the photo-journaling thing because of the doing.

And baking is definitely doing. 

As you know, I love lemons (and almonds), lemony flavors, lemon desserts. So, a tasty lemon pound cake, made without wheat, is a fabulous treat. Except that we need to keep it low-fat in our house as my husband has an impaired liver, and cannot process much fat, not without suffering the consequences. So I'm always looking to reduce the butter in a given recipe, and usually I have good luck with it. Such is the case with this recipe, which I adapted from one found on The Baking Beauties website, posted by Jeanine Friesen. I reduced the butter, used honey instead of sugar (we don't use sugar as a rule), and tweaked it a little with some almond meal/flour. I am very happy with the results, mildly sweet, moist, and dense enough to hold together without a lot of fat. And still call it Pound Cake! Thanks Jeanine for your inspiration! If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, well, you know. Please note that "glutinous"* rice flour does not contain gluten.

Lemony Pound Cake
3/4 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup almond meal/flour
1/4 cup potato starch (not flour)
1/4 cup sweet rice (glutinous*, sticky) flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, soft
1/2 cup honey (or a little more if you like it sweet)
3 large eggs
1/4 cup lemon juice (I used bottled)
1/4 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon flavoring

Set oven to preheat at 325-degrees F. 
Lightly spray a loaf pan, then fit a length of parchment paper to fit both sides and the bottom (for ease of cake removal).
Mix together all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
In another bowl, beat together the butter and honey until well blended - 
an electric mixer can help with this!
Next, add eggs one at a time, incorporating each egg before adding the next.
Add half the flour blend to the egg blend, mixing well. 
Add the milk, lemon juice and flavorings. 
Mix well, then finish with the rest of the flour.
Using a rubber spatula, pour this batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top nicely. Bake for about 60 minutes; check with a skewer to see if done. 
If not, go another 10 minutes or so until done.
Cool in pan for about 5 minutes before removing cake to rack to fully cool.

As I mentioned, we simply got to eating the cake before I remembered to take any photos. I offer a similar recipe in my book, The Wild & Weedy Apothecary, a pound cake that is a little richer and sweeter, and not nearly so lemony. The Baking Beauties have a nice pic on their site, complete with glaze (and recipe for said glaze). Visit them and tell them Wild & Weedy sent you!