One of the things I miss about Seattle is dinner parties. We had a fairly large
group of friends there with whom we enjoyed many diverse
activities. But, I really loved having those parties. I don’t know if
any of you have ever belonged
to a gourmet supper club. Well, it was
kind of like that, except for the fact that we weren’t really all that gourmet. We just loved a chance to all
get together and grub.

The first one
occurred at my brother and sister in law’s house while Kajsa and I were in Tacoma
for one of her lengthy hospital stays. Chris brought me a yummy banana tasty left over from their Caribbean
themed night and informed me that Kajsa had one month to get better, because
the next dinner was to be held at our home.

We made the deadline and I had a grand time planning our
Indian themed dinner. It occurred on
Erick’s birthday – coincidentally March 8th, two years ago. Happy Birthday Erick! I made him a carrot cake that he still swears
is his favorite ever. The trick was in
the cardamom.

I spoke with him mere moments ago, and promised that I would
post the recipe. So here goes. From Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East
Vegetarian Cooking book:


the years, as I ate American carrot cake, it occurred to me that it was so
similar in taste to Indian carrot halwa. If one took away the cinnamon flavor and the walnuts, then added
cardamom flavor and pistachios…After experimenting for a while, I have come
up with a carrot cake that tastes as if it came from the shop of an Indian
halvai (sweetmaker).

  • 1 ½ tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 C.
    unbleached white flour plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp.
    baking soda
  • ¼ tsp.
  • 2
    large eggs
  • ¼ tsp.
    ground cardamom seeds
  • 1 C.
    granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup softened ghee
  • 1 ½ C. grated carrots, firmly packed
  • 2 T. chopped pistachios
  • 2 T.
    chopped blanched almonds
  • 2 T.  raisins
    1. I use a round, nonstick cake pan that is 9 inches in diameter and 1 ½
            inches in height to make this cake. Rub it with vegetable oil and then dust it very lightly with flour.
    2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
    3. Sift
      1 cup flour with the baking soda and salt.
    4. Beat
      the eggs well in a large bowl. Add
      the cardamom powder, sugar and ghee. Keep beating until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
    5. Add
      the sifted flour mixture to the ingredients in the large bowl and fold it
      in gently with a spatula. Add the carrots, pistachios, almonds, and raisins. Fold them in gently, as well.
    6. Empty the cake batter into the oiled and floured cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean and the top is a golden-red color.

So there it is; an amazingly delicious, yet simple cake to
astound your family and friends.


Friends_003Speaking of the delicious dinner parties, one of the couples
that participated were Rebekah and Marty. They lived out from the city a ways, so going out to their place was
always such a beautiful time. Not only
were our surroundings quite lovely, but these guys were a real hoot, as well,
as some really nice folks. I remember
that their dinner came during the summer. We all gathered on their deck, which coincidentally, Chris and Erick had
built for them the previous spring.

Being the creative folks that they were, their theme was
colors. Each couple was to bring a
different hue, making for a fun and eclectic feast. I remember that her color was red. She made “stiff” Jell-O and pickled
eggs. I, on the other hand, chose purple
and elected to bring blackberry cobbler and a veggie dish that included
eggplant and purple fingerling potatoes.  Yum!

Why am I talking about these people, you might wonder. Well, on Monday I got a call from Rebekah,
informing me that they were in, of all places, Tucson. Mind you, Tucson
is a little over 3 hours from here. However;
after ascertaining that Chris had the day off, there was no doubt that we were
going to see those guys. We just had to
figure out how.  

We got it all planned out and figured that we’d leave at
around 10 the next morning.  Best laid plans, eh? We didn’t get out until after 11:00 and drove about 40 minutes before realizing that, in our haste, we’d
forgotten both cell phones. If our baby
wasn’t on an organ transplant list, I would have just said to forget it. But we had no choice other than to turn
around and retrieve them. This put us in Phoenix around rush hour, but it
did allow us the luxury of knowing that we no longer had any need to rush.

We found Rebekah in the resort’s jewelry shop where I tried
my best not to look at anything. It was
all so beautiful. Sometimes I wish we were

Marty was still in meetings, so after dropping off our
jackets in their room, we went to eat. Not only did Rebekah insist upon buying our meals in exchange for our
long dive, she kept ordering more and more unbelievable food. And it was all just so delicious. For my entrée, I had a fantastic risotto with
grilled veggies. My mouth waters now,
simply thinking of it. Mmmm.

Afterward we walked past the lit pools on the way back to
the room, where Marty, magically transformed from corporate vice-president to fun
loving buddy, awaited our return. We sat
until almost midnight talking about our lives and catching up on the Seattle
gossip, as Kajsa ran willy-nilly around the room, completely high off of the
jelly belly candies that Rebekah fed her non-stop. I only wish that their sons, Otto and Max had
been there to play, as well.

It was such a nice trip, and really got me feeling nostalgic
for our old friends. I’m so glad that we
got a chance to see them and hope to be able to make it up to the Northwest for
a visit sometime this year.

So to Erick, Marty, Rebekah and all of our wonderful friends
and relatives in Washington…We love you and miss you all.



3 thoughts on “LOVED ONES

  1. Sounds like such a lovely time. I’m glad you were able to re-connect with your friends. Todd and I always fantasize about having friends some day. 😉

    Thanks for sharing the carrot cake recipe. It sounds really good and looks easy enough to veganize, so I might attempt it this weekend. The cardamom/pistachios substitute are really enticing!

  2. Ooh, that cake sounds GOOD! Are you close to Denver at all? I’d have dinner parties with you. We’d even leave the dead animals out just to make you feel comfortable… 🙂

  3. I hope it turns out as well for you as it did for me. If I were there, I’d be your friend.

    Oh, Jen. Thank you so much! Nothing like a lack of dead animal to make the drive to Denver worthwhile.

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