sour cherries and squash

I think it’s finally time to talk about the cherries. I’ve resisted writing about them, because it’s kind of embarrassing. But we all have to own up to our mistakes and let them be learning experiences, so here’s mine.

Laurie, our CSA pickup-site hostess, has a pie-cherry tree in her backyard. They got ripe and she didn’t have time to do any thing with them, so she made little bags of cherries for folks to take when they picked up the vegetables two weeks ago.

There weren’t enough for a pie and I didn’t feel like making jam, but I found a recipe for Sour Cherry Mascarpone Pound Cake and decided to make that.

The original plan was that J and I would go down to my parents’ house while my father was at Convergence in Albuquerque, put together his new loom, and make the cake in their kitchen with my mother’s baking supplies. We, I might note, don’t have much in the way of baking tools– mostly, just what fits in the drawer under the oven. It’s a really small kitchen.

But circumstances resolved to keep us home that weekend, and so I decided to make the cake at home because the cherries probably wouldn’t keep until the next scheduled loom-building day. My mother was heading up past our house so I asked her to drop off the bundt pan, but I forgot to ask for the mixer.

High-tech cherry pitting implement!

Pitted and halved cherries soaking in sugar.

First Great Idea: In lieu of an electric mixer, I checked at the grocery store to see if they had a hand-crank mixer. In lieu of a crank mixer, I used a large serving fork to cream my butter and sugar. It seemed to work pretty well– I managed to get it reasonably fluffy, if at the expense of my wrists. I used the same fork to mix in the eggs, flour, cheese, etc– and seemed to get it reasonably light, at the expense of my shoulders.


I am Baker. Hear me roar, and then down an ibuprofen.

Then I had this Second Great Idea, which was that instead of turning the conventional oven on and heating up the whole house, I’d use the convection setting on the toaster oven instead.

After 90 minutes in the convection oven, it seemed okay. I let it cool a bit and flipped it over, but it didn’t want to come out of the pan. So I shook it, and a big chunk came out– upon which, I realized that the cake was not yet done. The chunk went back in, and then the cake went back in for another 40-ish minutes. It still didn’t want to come out of the pan, but this time when we coaxed some of it out, it was at least done.

But not light and fluffy, and not in one piece. We had to use a rubber scraper to get the cake out. I did not take any pictures of this process, or the finished(!) product on a plate. Not only was it not photogenic, it was embarrassing.

But it tasted great.

Resolved: Next time I make a pound cake, I’ll either borrow the hand mixer or J’s brother’s stand mixer, and make it in a conventional oven. Or, I could just make it at either of their houses.

Last week’s loot didn’t get photographed because I wasn’t home to pick it up. But we got a lot of spring onions:

Which we chopped up with a few garlic scapes, and made chicken similar to the week before:

We also got yellow squash which got sauteed with some garlic, and beets which got roasted, and both of them got thrown together with some feta cheese:


And finally, today’s CSA loot:

Green beans, zucchini, some sort of kale-like green, radishes, beets, yellow squash, spring onions.


  1. Diane Van Yuga

    Do you want Grandma’s hand crank mixer? I never use it, but I’ve kept it for sentimental reasons. It’s on the large side, but it has a groovy turquoise plastic handle.


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