Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Goodbye Sumi House & Ricotta Polenta Rosemary Cake

Today my real estate agent called to tell me my house had been sold. My voice cracked as tears gave way and I thanked her for the call. She has heard me shed many tears over this parting in my life these last few months. A while back I thought it was going to be foreclosed, but in the 11th hour it went into short sale mode. An old neighbor bought it, and now the community treasure that was our land, is back in the hands of the community. A deep sigh of relief. It was quite the feat with environmental easements, first rights of refusal and the sheer high profile of the whole project that kept things tied up along with the bank dragging its feet.

And so I say goodbye. So many things happened in my home. I soaked in the ofuro looking at the manzanita's gnarled branches, memorizing every one. M had chicken pox. M proudly walked me into her pink room and showed me her name she had scribbled in permanent black marker on the wall the size of a bowling ball. The financial markets crashed. Obama became president. I watched the hawks fly over the meadows and heard the squawks of their babies. Years of hearing May Day festivities that spilled late into the night as I lay restless in bed worried about fire, drugs and what it all meant. The pain of my husband and I dissolving like a big rig wreck in slow motion over the course of months. Moths every march while driving down the dirt road. June bugs descent in june that got inevitably caught in my hair. The smell of kitkitdizzi and pine needles baking in the sun that I could smell from my front porch. Giving lost folks on my dirt road directions based on names of those they were visiting and not the address of their destination. Seeing a rare lightning storm come down from the north in July. The smell of fire on an August night from the river canyon that jolted me out of bed. Years and years of New Years Day waffles at Bruce and Holly's house. The seasonal creeks that weaved its way through the meadow every spring. The ancient oak that fell over in the big meadow that became the symbol of our family's dissolve.  Pizza parties that smelled the whole house of burnt flour that took days to disperse. Taking trash to the dump. Bonfires and the smell of smoke in my clothes.

It is my heart today feeling the expansion and contraction of putting this to rest. Expansion of letting change take me on its merry wings, to fly to a new place. Contraction of how much I can feel resistance in myself to change and my mind that wants to know what it will look like. My heart has dove so deep into this process that I feel now saying goodbye to this life has been more powerful than the journey to it. And tears come today of equal parts love for myself and how I have let this carve me as it has, becoming more present for life and open-hearted for my humanness, and grief that a beautiful thing has been let go of.  I go inside myself then, where the only thing that matters is waiting like it has been since the first spark of sparks. The love of loving everything carries me beyond the illusion that there has been loss when now I know I am only finding myself. And this is what it always has been, a journey into love. Farewell Sumi house, old friend.

A month or so back a local farmer, friend and grain producer asked me to make some dishes to showcase his polenta for an event he was attending. I wanted an almost savory cake that would hold up for the traveling and sitting on a table while keep the ease of serving to hundreds of people. I found Dorie Greenspan's Ricotta Polenta cake recipe and decided to change it around to be more suitable for a hot summer day. It turned out really well.

I halved the sugar, substituted olive oil for butter, skipped all the fruit, added rosemary and added pine nuts to the top. A barely sweet, herbaceous, nutty summer cake.

Ricotta Polenta Rosemary Cake
Makes one 9x9 cake

grease your baking dish....

1 cup polenta
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup ricotta
1/3 cup lukewarm water
3/4 cup honey
zest of one lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon rosemary
2 large eggs
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

With a hand mixer or standing mixer, beat eggs, zest, honey, ricotta, water and olive oil. Slowly add cornmeal, salt and flour, baking powder and rosemary.
Do not over mix; just mix until everything comes together.
Pour into a greased pan and sprinkle pine nuts on top.
Bake at 325 for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean


Becky said...

Jess it's time for you to soar. Love you!

Lisa Marie said...

Thank you, for the recipe and the heartfelt message and reminder.

Jessica said...

Thank you Becky and Lisa Marie xxxoo

Joseph Meade said...

my heart is also swelling and aching just reading this.....i love your courage to share.


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