26 December 2023

And the best honey cake (smitten kitchen from Marcy Goldman) with high altitude information

Smitten Kitchen's Honey Cake

As usual, I will copy the recipe in case the link goes dead.

  • 3 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (445 grams) all-purpose flour (see Note)
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder (see Note) I cut this back to 1 tsp for altitude
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (see Note)
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup (200 grams) vegetable or another neutral oil
  • 1 cup (320 grams) honey
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar- at altitude only 1 cup
  • 1/2 cup (110 grams) light or dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (235 grams) warm coffee or strong tea (I use decaf)
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) fresh orange juice, apple cider, or apple juice- I have done grapefruit as well and it is amazing. Fresh squeezed juice of any kind is the best
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) rye or whiskey, or additional juice
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) slivered or sliced almonds (optional) I never use these
  • Pan size options: This cake fits in two (shown here) or three loaf pans; two 8-inch square or two 9-inch round cake pans; one 9- or 10-inch tube or bundt cake pan; or one 9 by 13 inch sheet cake.
  • Prepare pans: Generously grease pan(s) with non-stick cooking spray. Additionally, I like to line the bottom and sides of loaf pans with parchment paper for easier removal. For tube or angel food pans, line the bottom with parchment paper, cut to fit.
  • Heat oven: To 350°F.

    Make the batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Make a well in the center, and add oil, honey, granulated sugar, brown sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee, juice, and rye. [If you measure your oil before the honey, it will be easier to get all of the honey out.]

    Using a strong wire whisk or in an electric mixer on slow speed, stir together well to make a well-blended batter, making sure that no pockets of ingredients are stuck to the bottom.

    Spoon batter into prepared pan(s). Sprinkle top of cake(s) evenly with almonds, if using. Place cake pan(s) on two baking sheets, stacked together (which helps the cakes bake evenly and makes it easier to rotate them on the oven rack).

    Bake the cake(s): Until a tester inserted into a few parts of the cake comes out batter-free, about 40 to 45 minutes for a round, square, or rectangle cake pan; about 45 to 55 minutes for 3 loaf pans; 55 to 65 minutes for 2 loaf pans (as shown), and 60 to 75 minutes for tube pans.

    Cool cake: On a rack for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. However, I usually leave the loaves in the pan until needed, as they’re unlikely to get stuck.

    Do ahead: This cake is fantastic on day one but phenomenal on days two through four. I keep the cake at room temperature covered tightly with foil or plastic wrap. If I want to bake the cakes more than 4 days out, I’ll keep them in the fridge after the first 2 days. If you’d like to bake them more than a week in advance, I recommend that you freeze them, tightly wrapped, until needed. Defrost at room temperature for a few hours before serving.


  • Size: These days, I bake this cake in two filled-out loaves, as shown, instead of 3 more squat ones. My loaf pans hold 6 liquid cups; they’re 8×4 inches on the bottom and 9×5 inches on the top; if yours are smaller, it might be best to bake some batter off as muffins, or simply use the 3-loaf option. I use a large Bundt pan and the extra liquid goes in a mini loaf
  • Flour: After mis-measuring the flour many years ago and baking the cake with 2 tablespoons less flour and finding it even more plush and moist, I’ve never gone back. The recipe now reflects the lower amount.
  • Baking powder: The original recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of baking powder, but I found that this large amount caused the cake to sink. From 2011 through 2023, I recommended using 1 teaspoon instead. But, after extensive testing this year, I’ve found that a higher amount — 1 3/4 teaspoons — keeps this cake perfectly domed every time, and even more reliably than the 1-teaspoon level.
  • Salt: The original recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon but I prefer 1 teaspoon.
  • Liquids: This is address the question that comes up in at least 30% of the 1115 comments to date: “What can I use instead of whiskey?” and/or “What can I use instead of coffee?” The original trifecta of liquids in this cake [coffee, orange juice, and whiskey] is unusual and wonderful together, and I still think the perfect flavor for this cake. But if you want to omit the whiskey, simply use more orange juice or coffee. If you want to omit the coffee, simply use tea. If you don’t want to use tea, use more juice. If you don’t want to use orange juice, my second choice liquid here would be apple cider (the fresh, not the fermented, kind), followed by apple juice. Apples and honey: It’s a whole thing!
  • Sweetness: The recipe looks like it would taste assaulting sweet but you must trust me when I say it doesn’t. But, if you reduce the sugar, any one of them, you will have a cake that’s more dry. You can still dial it back, but do understand what the adjustment can do to the recipe.

21 December 2023

Potato Kugel, Kosher, pareve (Tori Avey)

I thought it was time that I added a kugel recipe in: the German loves this and I am constantly trying for a better one. Changes in italics

Tori Avey's Kosher Pareve Potato Kugel

As usual, I am posting the recipe as well in case the link goes bad.


5 pounds russet potatoes (about 10 medium-sized potatoes)
2 whole large onions
6 eggs
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 tablespoons potato starch (if not serving for Passover you may substitute corn starch)
1/4 cup schmaltz or extra virgin olive oil, divided (schmaltz gives amazing flavor; use olive oil to keep it vegetarian) I just measured the 3 T used for the 11x13 pan out into a small bowl. After I used it I then added 1 T to the bowl and used that to drizzle on top.
  1. Place a 9x13 baking dish or pan in the oven (metal is recommended, or ceramic, but I used the Pyrex that I have to hand) and preheat oven to 400 degrees, letting the dish heat up inside. Peel the potatoes, then use a food processor or hand grater to grate them into large shreds.
  2. Place the potato shreds in a large mixing bowl and cover with cold water. Let the shreds sit for a few minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, peel and shred the two large onions in the food processor or with a hand grater. Reserve. I drained the shredded onion.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt and pepper until fluffy.
  5. Drain the potato shreds in a colander, pushing down firmly on top of the shreds with your hands to push out the excess liquid. This creates a paste of tomato starch at the bottom of the bowl that it is drained into, and after I poured off the water I used this bowl (and its starch) to mix the ingredients in.
  6. Place grated potatoes in a large bowl. Add the seasoned eggs, grated onions and potato starch to the bowl. Use your hands to mix all ingredients together until well combined.
  7. Take the preheated baking dish out of the oven. Quickly pour in 3 tbsp schmaltz or olive oil, then use a pastry brush to carefully spread the fat around the bottom and sides of the hot dish. Careful, don't burn yourself! The hot dish, while a bit difficult to navigate, will help to form a beautiful brown and crisp crust for the kugel.
  8. Carefully and quickly spread the potato mixture into an even layer in the baking dish (it should sizzle!), then drizzle remaining 1 tbsp of melted schmaltz or olive oil across the top.
  9. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 60-70 minutes until the top is nicely browned all across the top. If it seems to be browning too fast (before the center is cooked), cover the kugel to keep it from over-browning. You really want it to have a nice golden crust-- at the end of cooking, if it's not quite brown enough, you can put it 6 inches below the broiler for a minute or two to evenly brown it all across the top. This kugel tastes best served hot directly from the oven. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.


Nutrition Facts
Passover Potato Kugel
Amount Per Serving
Calories 197Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 65mg22%
Sodium 345mg15%
Potassium 713mg20%
Carbohydrates 32g11%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 95IU2%
Vitamin C 8.8mg11%
Calcium 33mg3%
Iron 1.7mg9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

27 March 2020

March 26, 2020 Thursday

New York Times 3/26/20

We are nearing the end of our second week in self-quarantine, relative shut down (the kids came home from school March 13) and this morning we woke as all our phones went off to remind us that Colorado went into Stay at Home status at 8 am.

It's another week that I opened my morning listening to Governor Cuomo rather than hear the lies spewed by Trump.

This is the first week (last was Spring Break) when I tried to get the twins (first grade) to do some school work with the German and myself tried to actually get our work done. Thank heavens we can both work remotely. It is impossible. And having the twins in separate classes and therefore separate requirements, makes it even worse. I think we may need to start doing shifts when one watches the twis and guides and the other works.


Any person who can move a slider should be able to see how important it is to extend the stay at home and federalize it. But the Narcissist in chief doesn't care.


We now have more cases than any place else in the world. And if it had been up to Trump it would have been far worse. Thank goodness the governors have shut states down.

My neighbors, who went to Florida for spring break, are socializing with other neighbors. I can do no more than what I am doing: require my children to socially isolate, socially isolate myself, and take two walks a day for sanity and health. If we would all just shut it down for three weeks, if we had done this two weeks ago in a hard-line way, how many lives would be, would have been saved?

14 March 2020

Covid-19 --- the USA wakes up

School went into Spring Break March 13 and it went into break stating that we would have a week of distance learning after break (both the twins were sent home with Chromebooks). This weekend the CDC suggested six to eight weeks of social distancing, which was what I had anticipated: I'll be surprised if we go back into session before the end of the year.

08 March 2020

It's been a very long time...

Since the last joyous post with our new Things 3 and 4, a lot has happened.

We lost my Dad to cancer. We had just the year with him and that was too short but I'm glad we came. It took me three years to recover enough to do some grief therapy with hospice and it has been six years and a bit that his place has been empty in my life.

We moved to a suburb of Denver.

I woke up this morning after dreaming about a call with my Dad. We had told each other how we missed each other and loved each other. Then the call was cut off. I woke up reaching to call him back and the I realized he was not at the other end of my phone and the pain was very sharp. It's been at least a year since this has happened. It was so very sweet and then so very painful.

I couldn't go back to sleep- didn't want to- and started to read. I read an article discussing how people are reading books to deal with corona virus anxiety, and it mentioned Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter. I'd never read it, but the description was intriguing. It's the semi-autobiographical story of Katherine Anne Porter's survival of the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic. I won't give any more of the story away, but it struck home. The story noted that this is the only written account of a survivor and that led me to a journal link which discussed trauma memory and recovery of great tragic events. There were no books written about the great flu pandemic, which killed at least 39 million people, until the 1980s. The pain and loss and trauma were subsumed in winning The Great War and the world tried to forget.

All around fascinating and hit me as we consider how to handle covid-19 and what I believe will be another great pandemic.

E said that the dream was because I so was used to calling my Dad whenever I was worried or concerned and needed to talk to someone and of course he is right.

I posted on FB but then thought- maybe I need to start thinking a little more longform. We are trying to decide how to handle the next few weeks.

04 January 2016

Books Read in December 2015 and January 2016:

Books Read December 2015 and January 2016:
  1. All-of-a-Kind Family
  2. More All-of-a-Kind Family(1954)(Mary Stevens illus)
  3. All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown (1958) (Mary Stevens illus)
  4. All-of-a-Kind Family Downtown (1972) (Beth and Joe Krush illus) by Sydney Taylor: 
I read one or two of these when I was younger, of course, as I think all Jewish children do (or perhaps only those of my generation?). I wonder how many children of other backgrounds, or not from NY, did and still do?

30 June 2015

I'm back!

The blog was hijacked by a runaway gadget and I just never got the time together to figure out how to get it fixed.

But with Twin 1 down with a fever I took the nap time to apply a custom domain, reach out to Blogger and to Google and get into the missing blog, then go ahead and tweak it until it worked. I've missed using the blog as both an extended diary (with pictures) and a reading reminder so I'm glad to be back in (and also glad to not be calling my mother for her pancake recipe because I couldn't remember an ingredient!). I also miss the virtual friends I used to talk to on here.

Lots has happened, some good and some sad, and I'll try to catch up and say hello this coming month.

04 January 2014

A day in Upstate NY...

Forecast for Today

Updated: Jan 3, 6:45pm EST

Right Now -6°F FEELS LIKE -6° Clear, Bitterly cold.
Earlier Today 4° HIGH AT 2:05 PM Sunny
Earlier Today 4° HIGH AT 2:05 PM Sunny
Tonight -12° LOW Clear

Past 48 Hours Snow: 12.0 in (est.)

30 August 2013

What I have been reading through August 2013

  1. The Mystery Woman by Amanda Quick(2013)(Library): Regency paranormal romance:-).
  2. The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George (2012-Library):
  3. The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie (2013-Library):
  4. The Secret of the Sirens by Julia Golding (2007-Library):
  5. The Gorgon's Gaze by Julia Golding (2007-Library):
  6. Mines of the Minotaur by Julia Golding (2007-Library):
  7. The Chimera's Curse by Julia Golding(2007-Library):
  8. Frozen Heat by "Richard Castle"(2012-Library):
  9. Iced by Karen Marie Moning (2012-Library): (A Dani O'Malley Novel)- In the world of the Fever series, but following O'Malley rather than Mac, a 14 year old "superhero".
  10. Bliss by Kathryn Littlewood (2013-Library):
  11. A Dash of Magic- A Bliss novel by Kathryn Littlewood (2013-Library):

04 May 2013

A very quick update

It's been a long time since I checked in and there are very many blog posts waiting to be written, photos to be posted, and books to be reviewed.

But just to dip my toes back in the water, I thought I'd post a quick update on what has happened since the end of November.

I have read some books (though not many recently), and might actually post a combined review sometime but the biggest news of course is this:

That and moving back to the US, of course. More to follow (and probably be backdated to the correct times).