Hello! Well, it's been a busy couple of months, writing & baking, housesitting and more. Today's job: taking over the kitchen of the Oakland Center for Spiritual Living for a few hours. No, I'm not part of their congregation, but my pal Molly is. Last month, I oversaw all the cooking for a Passover Seder she put on there, for 50+ people. It was the first Seder they'd held there, and was by all accounts a huge success. Since I volunteered my labor, I'm getting a little payback now in the form of free kitchen space and time to donate the PQ's baking skills to another worthy cause. Yes, it's the second benefit for Swamp Cabbage, and I'm making another massive batch of fruit turnovers to bring to the feast.
Last year, making that many little pastries in my shared Bernal kitchen was pretty much a nightmare and a huge mess. Working in a big kitchen, with an equally spacious fridge and freezer, should make everything much simpler. I'm going to make & chill the dough today. If possible, I'm planning on rolling out, cutting, and filling the turnovers tomorrow, and freezing them overnight. Saturday, they'll go straight from the freezer into the convection oven, which should blast them to a nice flakey golden brown.
I had promised, like last year, to make these turnovers from foraged fruit. Unfortunately, it's a bit early in the season in this neighborhood for tree fruit, especially after such a rainy spring. No one's apricots, plums, or peaches will be ripe at least for another month. Even out in Brentwood, the apricots are still not quite ripe enough. And my public calls for backyard rhubarb and berries have fallen on deaf ears. So it looks like I'll probably be "foraging" from Berkeley Bowl and the Friday Oakland farmers' market instead. There are, of course, plenty of lemons to be had around here, but the other 2 dessert makers have already staked their claim on citrus cheesecake and candied-lemon shortbread, so no lemons for me. I do have vast quantities of last summer's strawberry jam still hanging around, so I'm wondering if some of that can be incorporated in some way.
Here's a recent article I wrote for KQED about the upcoming Wild Game Feast (with ticket info). If it's anything like last year's, it should be a ton of fun and full of excellent eats & cool folks.