I love the shadowy feel of these pictures. It reminds me of winter with a lot of dark, but also a shimmery light of hope around the edges and in between. I always feel a bit besieged by shadows in February. Shadows of the past – the anniversary of my mom’s passing, ten years later that huge loss of love and intimacy in my life still shatters me – and shadows of myself. The old and the new wrestling with each other telling me what they want to turn into come spring.
I initially welcome the cold and snowy days and the quiet moments at home that come with them, until at a certain moment it suddenly becomes too quiet and my thoughts too loud. But then I go to sleep and wake up and everything seems to have reset itself and the caterpillar inside feels one step closer to becoming a butterfly…
PISTACHIO CARDAMOM BREAD – This recipe was adapted from a gluten-free pistachio cake with lemon curd and buttercream in Ovenly’s amazing new cookbook. I was looking for something simpler and healthier to have with tea in the afternoon, so I transformed it from a traditional cake into a loaf bread with no buttercream, which I’ve seen in their stores but not in a recipe. I’m sure their original cake version is amazing. You should stop by their bakeshop in Greenpoint on a sunny day, it’s bright and lovely and then you can also visit Bellocq Tea Atelier right around the corner for the perfect decadent afternoon.
Makes 1 loaf
softened unsalted butter and flour for preparing the loaf pan
1 cup gluten-free flour (I like to use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour, although you can make your own)
1 cup ground pistachio meal (to make the meal: grind shelled, unsalted pistachios in a blender or a food processor, make sure to pulse so it doesn’t turn into pistachio butter)
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 ½ sticks or ¾ cup softened unsalted butter
Zest of 1 ½ lemons
3 large eggs at room temperature
½ cup sour cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a loaf pan with butter and dust with flour, then line the loaf pan with parchment paper and grease it with butter.
In a large bowl mix together gluten-free flour, pistachio meal, cardamom, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt.
Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, cream sugar, softened butter and lemon zest on medium high until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs, blend until well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add sour cream and vanilla extract and mix on medium-low until well incorporated about 30 seconds. Add the flour mixture. Mix until well incorporated.
Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan, bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out almost clean. Let the loaf cool in the pan before removing.