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Hello Sunday!

It is Apple season now. Did you know there is a book all about the fruit and it's several varieties? 313 pages of it! Check out an interview with the author.

The first skill necessary to cook is the proper use of a knife. This week, The Kitchn has an online class on it and there is bit more depth in choosing and caring for your knife.

This is a new twist of an old favorite

I have repost this awesome article. It really resonated with me. Have we stopped and wondered about why we cook?

This would be an uber cool space to work at!

I have a touch of hankering for swan now.. Yes, you read that right.

This girl kicks ass in real gluten free cooking. I want this butternut squash cake and these biscotti please!

Happy Sunday! Enjoy the day and the weather.... Tomorrow is just another day! ;-)

Plum and Cherry Almond Layer Torte

Glutenfree Plum and Cherry Cake

Lately, I have had a craving for cakes. Biting into cloud like sponges moistened by fluffy frosting and smelling of Summer high into the heavens. Mostly I want someone to bring me a thick slice of it with tea like my own personalized high tea service.

Perhaps this is a little too much Downtown Abbey watching. Hey!, a girl is allowed her fantasies. What else but that makes hope fun ;) Anyway, seeing as this is really a fantasy, I figured I may as well butler myself to those cakes that I may as well bake myself.

Let me tell you, there is an unique joy in making a lovely cake by yourself. There is even more of it, in cutting yourself a mega slice (without sin because you earned it), steeping a nice cup of tea and enjoying every tiny crumb of it!

Just because I have been grain free has not kept my cravings or my cakes away. Fortunately, pastry's best and most reliable friend is almond and I just happen to love the flavor of the nut. Paired with my other favorite of the season, stone fruits, you can bet I wanted to recreate that picture I painted above, over and over again.

Glutenfree Plum and Cherry Cake

Except, my unadulterated joy was pricked by that I had to share the cake. Sadly. I baked it for a dinner and it was pure struggle to not slice into it before the event. And, after there was little left, not more than a sliver! Sigh... The things you do for friends...! :)

With that, I leave you with a moist awesome Yogurt kissed Almond Torte dotted with fresh, juicy ripe fruits. I used stone fruits as they are abundant now. You can use any soft fruit that catches your fancy! Btw, another interesting things about this cake is that it uses leftover granola for added depth. You can substitute with plain oat flour.

And, before I sign off, I have some links for you..

Basket of Veg for the session

Read about a cooking demo I hosted in my kitchen recently via FOODLY along with a recipe for a brunch salad

A funny caricature of living in San Francisco I feel cheated. Nobody spent this much money raising me! And,  why I am glad for it.

I am not a barista but I still want this apron!

Zion National Park

Do you write on Medium? I wrote my first post and I am not sure what to do next! Tips?

Let's get lost more!

This is a beautiful read with lots of pearls in there.


Plum and Cherry Almond Layer Torte

For the Cake:

100g almond flour

100g granola (or oat flour)

2 small eggs

2 tsp psyllium husk

1 tsp baking soda

3 pods of cardamom, seeded, ground

1/4 cup oil

1/3 cup strained yogurt

For the Frosting:

1-1/2 cups strained yogurt

4 pitted dates, finely chopped

zest of 1 lemon

2 plums, sliced

handful of cherries, pitted

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grind the granola to a fine powder. Sift together the dry ingredients.

Whisk together the eggs, oil and yogurt. Pour into the dry flours and whisk briskly to create a batter.

Pour into a prepared 8 inch pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until browned and springy to touch.

Cool the cake completely before slicing in to two horizontally.

Whisk together all the yogurt, dates and zest for the frosting.

Spread half the frosting on the bottom layer. Arrange slices of plum and cherries. Place the second cake layer on top and spread the remaining frosting and fruit.

Chill until 30 minutes before serving time. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

The Duck in the Harbor + Friday Links

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On the eve of the Memorial Day weekend, I think it is apt to talk about a city that is the hub of several divisions of the armed forces and primarily the Naval units - Norfolk, VA. I visited the place, last week, with a curiosity to find out what else the city had to offer other than officers' balls and military sexiness. This is my experience of the place.

Lets start with the logistics.

Getting to

Norfolk

is rather straightforward, a short hour flight away from New York City into a charmingly tiny airport. By that I do mean, there is little else to do in the airport other than pick up your bag and venture out ASAP. Which is good thing, because things get a lot better once outside.

Norfolk, VA
Norfolk, VA

For one, the weather is gorgeous, especially this time of year. Which, in retrospect, was the best time to visit. Not just to admire all the officers strutting in full regalia or their gorgeous wives in long gowns, but, that is always a plus. If you are single and looking to 'connect', perhaps not the greatest variety there to be honest. I only saw officers in tow. Ok, let's not be distracted and get down to business.

The weather - For May, when NYC was throwing silly tantrums and being narcissistic, Norfolk was gorgeous, sunny and just pleasant. Despite being that close to sea, there was none of that humidity characteristic of NYC in warmer weather. So, pretty hair all round. They also have monsoons. No, not those tropical showers we see up North or scattered thunder storms; just simply a massive opening of clouds of Biblical proportions, some flooding and some insta-pools. But very brief ones. As quickly as it came, the black clouds roll away making space for gorgeous clear skies and crisp sun. I saw both sides. It was lovely. And, nostalgic - reminded me of the monsoons in India.

Ok, now what do we have to do here. There are several attractions from the Maritime museum to the harbor cruise to the art festivals. Much like any other city that is building itself out to be more than a one-ship pony (haha pun intended), Norfolk has capitalized on the nature and culture of its denizens, namely retired army personnel who are more than normally well travelled and well heeled. Yet, it is also somewhat diverse in its ethnicity and demographics, again, in part due the melting pot nature of the armed forces. So, there is a bit of something for everyone.

Norfolk, VA

But, I am going to tell you my absolutely favorite place in the city. One that surprised me and stays with me even now. The Chrysler Museum of Art. Before, you let a huge sigh about yet another museum, hear me on why. First, it is free admission. Yes, really! Perhaps the only institution other than the Smithsonian that allow equal entrance to all, rich and poor. In a much smaller town where you would imagine, admission revenues are nothing to be sneezed about. And, that is saying something to the Mets and MOMAs.

The Chrysler museum, carries one of the largest collections of glass works in the country, most of it donated by Mr. Chrysler (who was married to a lady from Norfolk and hence was feeling particularly generous to them, and housed in a lovely building that has been recently renovated to show case the pieces better. Although glass is the pride and joy of the museum, for me personally, it was the eclectic nature and hidden gems housed within as you time travel through art. My favorite piece is Idelle Weber's Muchkins I, II, and III. I had never heard of her before and now I am head over heels in awe of the woman! For sticking to her work when recognition in her time was strongly in favor of the male artists. If anyone knows how to contact her, I beg you, share!!!!

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Norfolk, VA

So, yes, that is my piece de resistance of the place! Also, at the moment, they have on display the worldly and globe trotting

Rubber Duck by Florentijn Hofman

. Although, I never grew up with rubber duckies in my tub, for lack of having a tub, I can somewhat grasp, the relatability of the rubber duck in most people (who grew up with tubs) minds. So, if you want to play peekaboo with a larger than life size water toy, it's definitely your thing.

Ok, lets talk food. Obviously, you all know the place is all about seafood. Chesapeake Bay is a stone's throw away. I hear, crabs there are particularly delicious. During my stay I tasted some shellfish, which, are now in season, and it was indeed tasty, although it did not blow my mind away. Two high points of my eating time here were the fresh local tomato and She crab soup at

Todd Jurich's Bistro

and the delectable Bolivian influenced cuisine of

Luna Maya

. Also, another place to stop by because you are there is

Doumar's

, reputed to have invented the waffle cone at a Coney Island expo eons ago! And, if you go in Flounder season, then you must have the dish of the locals - Flounder stuffed with Blue Crab.

That's it folks! Have a great Memorial Weekend and I leave you with a few links if you are still grasping for inspiration!

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This

cocktail

, I want to kick of the festivities and

this one

later in the night when I am no longer worried about how much sugar I have consumed.

If you are looking for a gluten free vegan option, try

these burgers

.

This appetizer

is always a crowd pleaser, I guarantee! At BBqs, picnics or dinner parties.

You really must make

these brownies

now!

I will be reading

this

and

this

book this weekend.

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Nothing Fancy + Friday Links

Egg Sandwich with Ham, Broccoli Rabe and Dubliner cheese

Just a sandwich. Not a lot going on there. Some ham, greens, and oh that egg!

This is perhaps not a very typical FSK post in as much as there is no real recipe, but this dish is rather close to me. Or, I should put it as, several meals similar to this one have been my sustenance for the last few weeks.

Needless to say, I am a very good customer for eggs. I honestly eat at least one a day. These ones are pasture laid and delivered to me from a farm upstate along with my raw milk (I am not getting into that debate. It works for me, thats all).

If you followed my

Instagram

, you would have seen my confessions of my struggles with not being distracted from feeding myself well. Eggs were my trump card. At the very least, I would have an egg. On top of whatever I could easily rummage. Until, I realized that an egg a day on its own, does not keep the doctor away.

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So, I started doing a few basic things to help myself -

1.

Plan ahead

- Captain Obvious. But, one that easily slips by unnoticed. I make shopping lists over the weekend, for the week's groceries and produce to be picked up from the Farmers market. I have started adding a couple more places to stop at bakery and butcher, for bread, crackers, and cured meats.

2.

Eat fruit

- Notwithstanding the lack of whole portions for lunch, I typically eat small portions. That means, I need to eat every 3 to 4 hours. That is a pinch, if I cooked properly for lunch. But, the 3 pm slump made me crave a walk outside, a cup of coffee and something to nibble, which, usually ended being something sweet and too much of it. To break that cycle, I stock up on fruit and cottage cheese. Slicing fruit is not much activity, dollop of cottage cheese and something else or nothing at all and I am good to go now. Also, I end up eating a lot of fruit, which, is great!

Croissant Sandwich

3.

Take a walk or run outside

- Here is the thing. When you focus deeply on something, one becomes oblivious to a lot of the other senses. Mental or physical labor have a way of dulling hunger and thwarting motivation to shift focus. Forcing yourself to step away breaks that solitary mode. Also, a breath of fresh air is good for stimulating the appetite. For most of us leading sedentary work lives, it also becomes hard to justify full size meals when you aren't working it off physically. A run solves that!

4.

Join a group

- Peer pressure, group therapy, challenge, whatever! It works :)

Meeta

and I are starting an

Instagram series

, with the hashtag

#cookingfor1

. We are going to be posting the meals that we cook for ourselves. I will tell you, this already has me thinking and smiling about the meals I want to make for myself. Of course, the motivation stems from posting it online. Nevertheless, it helps me tactically and strategically, I am sure, it will become more incorporated in my life without the necessity of a push.

So, come and have a look at our food. We are roping in a few of our friends for added visual stimulation.

Sandwiched

In other news,

- I am loving this new magazine in that photo,

Mordern Farmer

. A touch hippie and launching off a lot on Mr. Pollan but its the concise version with updated information on things we relate to today.

- The

Saveur Best Food Blog award nominations

are out. No, I am not on the list yet. But there is a ton of talent on it. Get some food porn into your system.

- I have smoking on mind this weekend. Fish. What were you thinking?

This book

is great for DIY deli items.

- On my nightstand now is

Jamie's magazine latest issue

+

historic cuisine of Britain

.

-

This

is a beautiful read on enjoying food.

- What

an idea

and love her recipes!

- I have to restock my chocolate to make

this

ASAP.

- Love

this imagery

- Her

sketches

- The

lightbox kickstarter

project. Rather cool.

So, have a great weekend and don't forget to make your lists! :)

As to this sandwich, go on, you know you want it. Get a bit of olive mustard in there for some punch. Smack!

MADE A RECIPE FROM THE BLOG?

Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK