Saturday, June 23, 2012

Doing what you love

I'm working my way through this article - I know I've limited myself in my professional pursuits to ensure I have had flexibility for my family life. And in other ways, I feel unlimited in my personal pursuits, being in control of my work schedule, never traveling for work and having a full-time caregiver who loves my children like her own.  In my own small way, I am hoping I am doing my part for women's equality, being a mostly happy mother who has found balance and meaning at work.  I do not have it all but I'm happy for what I've worked hard to have. 

And the irony that I type this one-handed as I cradle Jossie in my other arm is not lost on me.

I'm high on work right now. We had a retreat Thursday afternoon to talk about the "why" of Openlands. The how and what of our organization's work are easy to describe but why do we do what we do is much more complicated. It's intensely personal, as the staff and board in this point in the organization's history help shape these concepts. The closest we came Thursday to a draft was that we believe nature is essential to our well-being. Agree or disagree?

As my BFF pointed out, Openlands is a nice place to work. On Friday, we held our summer picnic at a neighborhood garden that we helped protect in Chicago's South Deering neighborhood. Typically, on these summer picnic days, we unofficially have the morning off and then come together in the midday for a picnic. Jeremy took the day off as well, and he and I had breakfast alone at Milk & Honey Cafe, one of our favorites. Then it was time for the picnic. There was shade, white wine in plastic glasses, and a contained area for the children to play. The weather's heat had broken and there was a nice breeze and milder temperatures.

We all bring something, and I brought a cake that BFF had made for us the weekend before. This is a cake you could make any night of the week - simple and all of the ingredients you probably have on hand, even buttermilk (to make your own buttermilk, mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice with 1 cup of milk and let it sit for 10 minutes). You could use any type of berry you have available.

Raspberry buttermilk cake
Adapted from Gourmet

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
8 oz fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes, then beat in vanilla. Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.

Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 23 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.

Enjoy with ice cream or whipped cream.

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