"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

Hello Friends!

Friends, Romans, countrymen...y'all. Foodies, gardeners, artists and collectors - let's gather together to share and possibly learn a thing or two in the mix.

Donna Baker

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fall Baking

My daughter made this decadent cake some time ago and I just had to share it with you.  Rich, dense and delicious, put this one on your list.


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 stick unsalted butter - room temperature
1 cup plus 2 TB. brown sugar
2 large eggs - room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and flour 2 regular sized cake pans.  In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and sea salt.  Set aside.  In a bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time and mix until well incorporated then add vanilla.  Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, making sure that each is incorporated before adding the next.  Divide the mixture evenly into the cake pans.  After adding the filling mixture below, bake until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.


1/2 c. sugar
3 tbs. salted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream

In a large pot, melt sugar by itself over medium heat until it begins to melt.  Gently whisk.  Add the butter and mix until it begins to melt then incorporate heavy cream.  The mixture will begin to foam.  Continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened.  Remove from heat and cool. Drop the filling by teaspoonfuls over both cake layers pressing the mixture gently down into the batter.


1/4 cup sugar
2 tbs. water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
2 sticks butter, one unsalted and the other salted
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In a saucepan, combine sugar and water and bring to a boil.  Cook without stirring until it starts turning a deep brown.  Remove from heat and very slowly add the cream and vanilla.  Lightly mix until the mixture is smooth.  Allow the caramel to cool for about 20 minutes, but make sure it doesn't harden.  In a mixer, beat the butter and salt until fluffy.  Slow the mixer speed and add the powdered sugar until combined.  Using a spatula, scrape the sides of bowl and add caramel.  Mix, then ice the cake.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Small Things

Why am I enamored with small things, like this teeny flatware?  Or, a stack of these old penny candy bags used in a general store from long ago. Perhaps I like miniaturized things because they are easier to find space for, you know,not bigger than a breadbasket. I have finally reached the stage in life that I never believed I'd reach.  I believe I need to purge my environs; take Mies Van der Rohes' (Bauhaus aesthetic) advice that  "less is more".   Sometimes I think I would like to build a modern house, get rid of everything and start anew with a few classic, good pieces. Young women take heed [this bit of advice] save your money!  You don't need most of the stuff you gather for the next few decades.  It will begin to suffocate you; worry you, weigh you down until you finally reach the age where you don't care about it at all anymore and by then you will have accumulated houses full, barns full, etc.  I don't know everything, but I do know this young ladies and gentlemen.  Save your hard earned money!  I would have been a multi-millionaire by now had someone told me this way back when...  

Friday, August 17, 2012

Actius Luna

This is a gouache of a Luna moth I did some time ago. I painted it from an actual deceased moth I found outside.  What is really interesting is that when we built our house 29 years ago, we cleared out a thicket wreathed in oak trees.  That summer, and every year since then, in the side yard,  Luna moths return to the same exact place, fat white bodies full of eggs.  How in the world these future offspring/eggs know where to return each summer is simply unimaginable to me.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Chicken Art

I love this modern art oil painting.  I got it years ago at a flea market.  Signed by North in 1957, I find it amazing though obviously not professionally done.  From the oval shape in the center to the diamond shaped ground and seeds; the composition intrigues me.  It was probably done as a class study.  I would love to take classes in modern art. My brain would rail against it, but oh, what fun.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Pie In A Jar

I made many of these little pies in a jar for the 4th of July.  Blueberry, blackberry and sour cherry, they were  delicious.  Problem was, I filled them too full and the filling overflowed the containers and made for a terrible mess in the oven.  So, if you decide to make these sometime, learn from me and don't overfill.

Oklahoma's On Fire

As I mentioned, this summer is hellishly hot and dry. Wildfires are starting  up. Oklahoma is the example for climate change.  The last two summers have been unbearable; hotter temperatures than ever and drier.  Our dubious Senator, Jim Inhofe, rails against scientists and anyone else who has studied climate change; likens the theories of global warming to the liberals and their ilk.  Of course we know Inhofe is no scientist, nor a statesman, he just likes to pad his pockets with monies from the energy companies and whomever else he can get money from.  Inhofe, a career politician, really is an embarrassment to our state.  Recently, for the energy companies benefit, he tried to get the House and Senate to relax the rules for acceptable levels of mercury being dumped into the environment.  Now, anyone who has grandchildren or is pregnant knows that their doctors advise them not to eat tuna etc. because of high mercury levels.  Duh... When will Inhoff get his comeuppance?  He needs to be voted out of office like years ago - at this point I don't care if it is a democrat or a republican - just anybody besides him, (okay, I take that back, tea bagger people need not apply).

And after 367 posts dear folks, this is my first political post.

This wildfire photo was taken from behind my house looking south a few years ago.