Into 2015 (+ Flourless Sugar Stars)

[The Pacific from the blowhole, Point Reyes National Seashore 2015.]

Happy new year! I hope your holidays were merry and bright and full of delicious bites and warming drinks. We were asleep by 9:30 on new year’s eve – welcome to parenthood of a young child – but up early on the first day of 2015 with plans for a hike in the Point Reyes Seashore. I made cheese and avocado sandwiches, tucked a bar of good dark chocolate into the backpack along with a few mandarin oranges, filled the water bottles, and left Sierra with her grandparents while we drove through the sun along Tomales Bay. Highway 1 was mostly empty except for a few intrepid bikers here and there and our Hardcore espressos fueled us along the trail for 4+ miles out and back. It was warm and clear at the coast and the Farrallons seemed close enough to touch. Mostly what I think when I am here (and what I always did think) was California, you are so good to us. And, thank you.

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Holidaying (+ Flourless Persimmon Cake)

A holiday-spiced, naturally gluten-free persimmon cake that’s perfect for December days.

[Fisherman, Dar Bouazza, December 2014.]

A week of rain, a week of sun, and we leave Morocco very early Saturday morning for a month in California. We’ll trade palm trees for redwoods, the Atlantic Ocean for the Pacific, and running on trails rather than bricks, enough so that we get properly muddified and return to our roots. I’m hoping for lots of hikes, lots of quiet miles in the wet and dripping woods, and hopefully lots of afternoons spent under the bright sun at the coast. The winter beach in fair weather is perhaps my favorite beach.

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Wintry (+ Flourless Apple Cake)

A lovely, not-too-sweet, naturally flourless/gluten-free caramelized apple cake that’s perfect for the season.

It’s been raining here lately, which I admit I love though when it negatively affects part of the country I’d much rather have sun and dry weather. We have actually turned on some of our heaters, which haven’t been used since last winter. For someone who only used her San Francisco heat in the final months of living in her apartment – not because it wasn’t chilly, because it was, but because I didn’t mind adding an extra sweater and am slightly weird I guess – it’s a new and rather welcome thing. A lot of the houses in Casablanca (and probably the rest of Morocco) are built out of concrete and lined with beautiful tile floors that work wonderfully in the summer to keep heat at bay. But it can get quite, quite brisk indoors during the cooler months and I am grateful for the opportunity to warm up when possible. Of course another way to cozy up a house or an apartment is to turn on the oven and bake something and lord knows I rarely need an excuse to do that. It is starting to feel decidedly wintry here, and thus wintry baking things must start happening as well. In the midst of last week’s flurry of Thanksgiving baking I decided to also make a gluten-free apple cake for, I don’t know, morning snacking? Just because? For experimental purposes? Probably all of those.

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