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Monday, April 11, 2011

April!!!

Spring has arrived...I think!

The robins have been out in FULL FORCE these last couple of weeks. Even the 9 inches of "Robin Snow" did not sway them from probing the soft earth for worms. It has been nice, so very nice, to see the ground again after a long winter. Buds beginning to break, flowers so bright they seem neon against the damp brown earth, mud so thick you nearly loose your boot with every step. Ahhhh, spring in Maine.

Sugaring season was a great success. For the past 4 years I have been helping my friends, Mitch and Penny, collect sap just up the road. Although the snow was deep and going rough, the days were usually picture perfect in the woods: windless blue skies against a canopy of silver. Dic and Doc, the horses, are steady and strong. They pull a tank of nearly 300 gallons of sap up out of the woods on roads deep with snow and rutted with mud. They don't seem to mind though, they work effortlessly and quietly, pulling a mere 2400 pounds. Sometimes four times a day. While the horses do something useful, Simon and Bear tear through the woods, chasing, chasing, chasing.

So this is it. The last winter share pick up. I loved it and hope you all loved it just the same. It is nice to stay connected with you all, even if we have to be bundled up in snow suits. Please be sure to let me know what you thought of the share...and don't wait too long to sign up for 2012!

This Month's Share: fresh lettuce and spinach, a few blue potatoes and red onions, carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, turnips and cabbage.

Parsnip Spice Cake



  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup canola oil

  • 1/2 cup whole milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 tightly packed cups peeled, shredded parsnips

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

  • 1/2 teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Procedure

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-by-13-by-2-inch pan. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and salt. Whisk to combine.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, oil, milk, and vanilla. Whisk to combine. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed well. Stir in parsnips and walnuts.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes, until a tester comes out clean from the center of the cake. Cool completely on a rack.

When cool, frost with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting, below, if desired.

Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, ginger, vanilla, and salt and beat until very smooth. Add the confectioners' sugar a little at a time, beating after each addition, until all the sugar is incorporated and the frosting is smooth. Spread over Parsnip Spice Cake and serve.