My birthday is not complete without a lemon cake. My Mom made them for me when I was young. Cliff Hunter baked his lemon pound cake for my birthday in 2005, and my husband Jason bakes them each year now, often with homemade lemon curd.
Each of us has strict rules of flavor for Thanksgiving’s stuffing and mashed potatoes, green bean casseroles and acorn squash based on the dishes that came from our mothers’, grandmothers’, and aunts’ kitchens.
For some of us it’s not summer until we bite into the first ripe tomato or ear of fresh corn. Others can’t imagine New Year’s without braised greens and black-eyed peas. Christmas would not be complete for me without Polish pierogi filled with cabbage, potato and cheese, or prunes.
All food tastes better with emotion. Think beyond fear, pain and stress. That’s just Twinkies and pizza good. It’s joy, peace, love and hope that elevate fine foods, however simple, from delicious to memorable. And it is those foods that we enshrine in tradition.
Golden Honeycrisp Salad
- 2 Honeycrisp apples, cut in matchsticks
- 1 golden beet, cut into slivers
- 1 shallot. minced
- 3 tbs goat cheese
- 1/4 cup Serrano Chile Honey vinegar*
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/2 cup Arbequina olive oil*
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 tsp mint, chopped
*Serrano Chile Honey Vinegar is a new favorite from Sapore Oil and Vinegar near Eastern Market in DC. The vinegar is actually fermented honey. You can substitute Sherry or Cider vinegar. Arbequina is a grassy, Spanish olive oil. Substitute any good quality olive oil.
- Make dressing: whisk together shallot, cheese, vinegar and cumin, a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Whisk in olive oil in a thin stream and season to taste with honey and mint.
- Toss together apples and beets. Toss with dressing.
- This salad is definitely better dressed lightly.