Online Bake Sale to benefit Second Harvest Japan

Click on the image to be directed to the bake sale!

I am very lucky to be amongst some incredible food bloggers who are using their skills in the kitchen and their large hearts to assist the wonderful Sabrina at The Tomato Tart in an online bake sale that will benefit Second Harvest Japan in their efforts to bring food and supplies to those affected by the recent Earthquake and subsequent tsunami and nuclear, um, hiccup.

As a very fortunate woman, living in one of the best cities in the world with access to as much water, energy and incredible food as I can (rather affordably) pay for, I’m stricken over and over by the idea that so many go without.  And that it all can be taken away in mere minutes, or even seconds.

Let me get all hippie here for a second: we are born into a body.  Where that body is born and to whom completely determine thousands amongst millions of paths our lives can go on.  When born into such privilege, it is our responsibility to live to the best of our ability.  Meaning that we are aware of what we consume, contribute to our society through our work, assist others as best we can, and always be humbled what is beyond our power.  This doesn’t mean we have to dedicate our lives solely to helping others, but that we should take little steps, as often as possible, to live as responsibly and with as much heart as we can.

Stepping off my flower-adorned soap box now.

There are millions of ways to make the world a better place.  This online bake sale is a delicious one.

Please go to the Tomato Tart on March 30th and bid a crazy variety of baked goods from 90 bloggers world wide.  There’s a mouth-watering amount of goods there, and delightfully several allergy-friendly options.

I’ll be contributing a batch of Lemon and Genmaicha Green Tea Scones.  8 if they’re shipped, and if I can deliver them to you locally (within Manhattan)  I’ll double the batch.   And because this is an allergy-alternative site, you can specify if you need them gluten, dairy or nut free or baked with a specific sweetener.

In love, peace and good health,


Lemon Scones with Genmaicha Green Tea Glaze

The Ghost of Baker’s Past…

… and a tribute to Ladies Grey and Child

The Original Dusty Baker - Julia Child

Dusty Inspiration…

The other day while recuperating from my St. Patrick’s Day hosting the evening before, I stumbled upon an episode of The French Chef.  Julia was making Apple Tartin, and in her glorious way she made the pastry in one continuous shot, measuring and moving her ingredients as she needed them rather than using delicately pre-measured ingredients or the convenience of an editor to make her process look seemless. She knocked over her entire canister of spatulas and kept going, joking about it two minutes later.  Flipping the tart from its cast iron skillet to plate sent apples flying and pastry gliding onto the counter.  She rearranged and continued.  Her final product looked nothing like the caramelized version that she had prepared earlier, and she apologized to her audience causally.  But she always had a smile on her face.  She would occasionally half-wink at someone off camera.  In her final ‘bon appetit’ she looked as voraciously hungry as if she had made the most perfect, mouth-watering tart on the planet.  She never apologized.

I delightfully regaled my gentleman friend with the story as we enjoyed the spring sunshine later that day.  The joy of a baking ‘failure’, and how delicious the results can still be.  That truly is dusty baking.

Mary Elizabeth Ponsonby - Lady Gray

I practice Julia’s method in tribute…

I like to think of Julia and my philosophy on dusty baking in moments like tonight.  I’m participating in two online baking events for incredible causes: Kelly’s Tea Party benefiting ovarian cancer research and The Tomato Tart’s Online Bake Sale to Help Japan, benefiting Second Harvest Japan in their efforts to provide food for those affected by the recent disaster.

I’m mentally tossing around several recipes, but have had tea-flavored ideas on the brain and figured I’d try one out while at my father’s house and with access to my little sister’s incredible camera.

Why not a gluten-free scone dedicated to Lady Mary Elizabeth Grey?  Her husband Charles is credited for the bergamont-flavored tea, but in my mind she’s the one who needed a cuppa, having birthed and raised ten sons and six daughters!  Why not combine Earl Grey tea with lemon zest and a lemon glaze?  Why not try a premixed flour from King Arthur flours?  I’ve experimented with pre-blended GF cake mixes and this brand totally won the loyalty of several of my taste testers, so since I’m absent my arsenal of flours and gums and starches I figured I’d give their muffin blend a whirl.  Into a scone.  A perfect scone.

The result?  A dusty, Julia Child-esque moment.  Not a scone.  Not even a muffin.  A muffin-top.  For some reason my original batter was way too moist for a scone.  So I added some extra flour.  Still too moist and sort of rubbery.  Instead of rolling out into scones I figured I’d glob it into muffin pans, hoping they would rise into fluffy yummy-ness.

Muffin for Lady Grey


Edible?  Yes.  Even somewhat tasty.  A little bitter from the strong tea, lacking the glaze that might have been and that would contrast the harshness of the flour blend.  Did I eat one?  Yes.  Two, actually.  Am I going to give you the recipe?  No.  Because a better one is coming.

But it was still a delightful time in the kitchen.  Inspired by the exhausted Lady Grey and the inexhaustible Julia Child.  And not a complete failure, as I enjoyed the time I zested lemon, brewed tea, blended butter into flour with my fingers.  And everyone in my dad’s house ate a warm, crusty muffin-esque creation.

Contentment is a dusty kitchen.

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