Pasta with Raisins, Pine Nuts & Cinnamon

February 17th, 2011 / comments 5

I buy both cinnamon sticks and ground cinnamon in small quantities. Cinnamon sticks can be ground in a small electric coffee mill reserved for spice grinding or pulverized in a mortar and pestle. It is a familiar flavor in breakfast breads, cookies and all things apple – sauce, pies and crumbles and it adds flavor to savory dishes as well. It is used in Middle Eastern recipes for chicken or lamb and is a component of Indian garam masala. Tomato slices sprinkled with cinnamon sugar are an Amish relish and in Sicily it is used to flavor octopus, gelato and pasta.

V poppy bowl Pasta with Raisins, Pine Nuts & Cinnamon

When my friend Veronica, the potter who made the pasta bowls we eat from, served me pasta with pine nuts and raisins she told me that a pinch of cinnamon was the crucial ingredient. It was the first meal we had in the pasta bowls she gave to us.  Here’s how I made it: … read more

Cinnamon Memories

February 17th, 2011 / comments 2

Cinnamon is nearly everywhere. In bakeries, donut shops, food courts along interstate highways and hints for selling a house include putting an apple pie in the oven when prospective buyers are expected. Cinnamon reminds people of home, mom and apple pie.

house c egbert Cinnamon Memories Cinnamon reminds me of Saturday’s spent in a neighbor’s kitchen when I was ten. Ruby and her husband Russ lived next door and their home was my Saturday haven. Their house was identical to mine but, since they had no children, the second bedroom was the violet room. The two tables in front of the window were covered with pots of African violets. Ruby showed me how to water them without getting the leaves wet and how to create a new plant with a single leaf. She made pies from scratch, mostly apple, and when she finished making the pie she would gather the extra bits of dough into a ball and put it into the fridge to chill while we took care of the violets. When we returned to the kitchen, she would tie an apron around my waist, so that I could make cinnamon treats that we would share as a mid-afternoon treat. Here’s how I made them: … read more

Cinnamon Toast for Santa’s Helpers

December 22nd, 2009 / comments 4

Last December, after I had mailed out the final gift boxes of cookies to friends, I realized that I had forgotten to save cookies to serve to Christmas Eve visitors and any of Santa’s helpers who might stop by.

Pt Peace Bell c egbert copy 314x305 Cinnamon Toast for Santas Helpers

Out of time, frosting and cookie-baking energy, I wondered if the adage, “less is more” was true and then I remembered my breakfast in bed at the Colony Club twenty years earlier.

Pt Four girls c egbert Cinnamon Toast for Santas Helpers

The Colony Club, established in 1902, was the first social club for women in New York City. It is an elegant and very private club with members whose last names range from Astor to Whitney. I spent a weekend there as the guest of my friend Jean. She was my guide in the culinary world and to the rarified dining of the Colony Club. As we planned my trip to New York, she took me under her wing and insisted that my day begin with “perfect Colony Club cinnamon toast” served on a tray in my bedroom. Perfect cinnamon toast? I had my doubts but Jean was a Manhattan matron with a sophisticated palate who was not to be denied. She ordered my breakfast, it was perfect and I’ve never thought of cinnamon toast in the same way since. Inspired by that memory I decided that Colony Club Cinnamon toast would be perfect Christmas Eve treat. Here’s how I made it: … read more

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