The Dragon Wall 1989, oil on canvas, 40 x 60 inches
Bud and Zoë have birthdays one day apart and we often celebrate together. This year we spent several days in Saratoga, Wyoming, soaking in the hot springs, hiking and searching for good food.
The route to Saratoga is round-about and we chose to travel via Laramie and the Snowy Range where my family had spent part of our summer vacations when I was growing up. I had not been there in many years. I packed a lunch to eat on the way. The usual Wyoming wind was chilly and we ate quickly at a sunny picnic table ─ a quinoa salad, asparagus, and almond macaroons. Roseanne has been baking a delicious cracker and I made a batch to accompany our salads. We ate them with hunks of cheddar.
Combine 1 cup spelt flour, 1/4 cup pepitas, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, 1/4 cup sesame seeds, 1/4 cup flax seeds, 2 tablespoons chia seeds, and 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt. Stir in 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup grated parmesan (optional). This makes a wet dough but it is easy to roll out.
Divide in two and roll each piece very thinly, say 1/8 inch, between sheets of parchment. Lightly score the dough (I use my serrated roller) and slide the bottom parchment on to a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned and firm. Cool then break apart on the score lines.
We had begun our long weekend of celebration with a wedding. Evan, an artist and Bud’s printing assistant, and his partner, Alanna, got married in a sweet ceremony at an historic ranch/park in Longmont, looking out over a small lake with the Front Range rising to the west. The weather in early June can be iffy but on the day, the sun shone and the dramatic gathering clouds held off from emptying with rain showers until late.
I was pleased that Evan and Alanna had asked me to bake cookies for dessert. They chose three recipes ─ Cappuccino Coins, Ginger Hearts, and Evan’s favorite, Almond Macaroons. The Ginger Hearts are a dough I usually form as a log, then cut the cookies into coins. Alanna requested hearts instead and they were perfect. The recipe is here ─ Book Release. I mixed the dough in my Cuisinart so the candied ginger would be well chopped, making it easy to cut out the hearts. Roll the dough out thin, 1/8 inch, between sheets of parchment, then cut into the desired shapes ─ hearts, moons, flowers. Bake until firm and lightly browned, 10 – 12 minutes.
The Almond Macaroon recipe is a favorite from Patricia Wells’ Vegetable Harvest. Simple, delicious and, ta-da, gluten-free.
Lightly toast 1 cup almonds. When cool, pulse them in the food processor with 3/4 cups sugar until finely ground. Add 2 large egg whites, (to make 1/3 cup), 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, a pinch of salt. Drop teaspoonsful onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 375° for 12 minutes until firm and lightly browned.
Evan asked if I needed platters for the cookies but we had a surprise plan. Bud made beautiful boxes from discarded Ana Maria Hernando proofs.
After the ceremony, dinner and a bit of dancing we hiked up the hill to our car, hurrying as we watched the dramatic, stormy sky about to break into lightening and thunder, rain and wind.