More cherries! I went to visit an old friend this weekend and at the end of our visit, she handed me a bucket and pointed at the cherry tree we could see from her living room window "Go ahead…Go get them. They are delicious". Her husband tends their vegetable garden and it is always a treat to visit them as I am fed fresh tomato sandwiches, cucumber salads and tiny yellow "mirabelles" for the few hours that I am there. I rarely come home empty handed either.
We come from different cultures and yet share many things, we are also quite apart in age but I found Beverly to be a child at heart, one who wished she was not limited to her house right now, one little girl aching to run in the fields and drink icy cold lemonade. Her husband and her are a example of love and understanding, passed the illness, the tantrums, the tough nights. Otis cries sometimes when I am there, quietly, while filling his bucket of water for the herb garden. They have been through this twice already, and Beverly has come out ok so far. He cried a little harder this time because he knows that he has got to stop calling her back, if it is time he must let go. "She is a fine lady" he said "she never gets mad at me for holding her back. I know she is tired though. I need to tell her it’s ok to go if she wants"
I picked up quite a few buckets of cherries and then I called B. because I knew it was getting late I heard Beverly shout from the other room "you are staying for dinner, tell him to get here too." Yes Ma’am!! I pitted some of the cherries and made little cakes while Otis fixed shrimp and grilled veggies. We took our coffees to the veranda and ate quietly when Beverly exclaimed, shaking her head "It ain’t fittin’…It just ain’t fittin’…" (not making this up!). "what’s that?" asked Otis. "It just ain’t fittin' to have cherry cakes and no cherry wine!" Leave it to Bev. to keep it real!
Spending time at their house reminds me of my childhood in Apt, picking cherries, figs and apricot like there was no tomorrow. It also reminds me of the old couple who lived behind our house, with their vegetable garden and their funny house. As a Provencal, I tend to use orange blossom water in a lot of baked goods and I find that it goes really well with cherries. It is widely available now in health food stores and online but feel free to substitute it for almond or vanilla extracts. As a wink to Otis and his fabulous garden, I baked these in mini herb pots lined with parchment paper but muffin tins or other small molds work just as fine.
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tb. olive oil
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp to 1 Tb orange blossom water
1 tsp. baking powder
grated zest of one lemon
pinch of salt
1 cup fresh (or frozen) pitted cherries
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, oil, milk and orange blossom water.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the wet ingredients. Fold in the cherries.
Bake at 350 F, for 20-25 minutes.
Et Voila! Once you get the basic down, you can modify this cake to what is in season. It is one of my go-to formulas when I am urged to bake something in somebody else’s kitchen. Easy, delicious and comforting. I am telling you…success lies half in the smells coming out of your kitchen and half in how fast these little guys disappear.
To the Anonymous comment (did not know people still name their kids that), here are a
couple four thoughts for you:
– There are and will be many good news coming to this blog but there is also that other side of thing: life deals you some weird cards sometimes and I can’t just blog about "woohoo" "yippee" moments.
– When Bev called me this morning, she said "Woohoo!! I am on your blog!! And those cherry cakes? We do know how to celebrate life, don’t we?!" . So I think you missed the point of this story. I sure am glad she did not read your comment.
– I bet Barbara, Bri, Bev, Jen and others did not decide to fall sick at the same just to make you uncomfortable. The fact that I chose to honor their fight with a dessert is nothing compared to what they need but it is a little pick me up. I want to say "Gosh, you have no heart".