vanilla-cupcake-_2.jpgHas it really been almost two months since my last post? I guess so, since I was deep in my annual hamantaschen conundrum and now we’re more than three weeks into counting the omer. Yeesh.

It’s not that I haven’t been baking. A lot. At one point, I had an entire case of parve margarine, now down to about five pounds, in my freezer. There have been cakes and brownies, challah and meringues served at home, in shul, and overlooking a gorgeous lake in the snow at 7000 feet.

Not to mention several dozen nonpareil-festooned, Frosted Vanilla Cupcakes created specially for a small friend and everyone else on hand for the communal celebration of her 4th birthday.

I’ve also learned a few things these past eight or so weeks that might have been helpful to others had I shared in a timely manner. Like don’t even try making the Italian custard sauce, zabaglione, for Pesach with blackberry Manischewitz. Oh, what was I thinking?! Macerating fresh mixed berries in a little superfine sugar and a fizzy muscato wine to serve with your sponge cakes is always a wiser, delicious choice.

Why haven’t I been writing? All excuses aside (and there are quite a few of them ranging from the upper respiratory virus that kept me low for a full month to what to do next after completing an entire year of posting a new Torah Morsel every week, more recipes and less kosher baking advice than I ever expected), I probably just needed a break. I feel a little guilty since my great friends in the old Upper Westside neighborhood, Naomi and Pearl, tried valiantly, but unsuccessfully to get me back on the path before Passover. Pearl even sent me her nonagenarian mom’s recipe for frozen strawberry fluff and her blessing to share it! Since I’ve spoken to them since, I know they love me anyway. This is why they’re my great friends.

So what got me moving? My sister’s friend, Matthue Roth wrote wonderful things about The Parve Baker on Mixed Multitudes, MyJewishLearning’s blog last week.  Jen let me know, but then I got an e-mail about it from another great friend, food writer and blogger Leah Koenig. Then Patti posted her note…That did it.

When you get a chance, check out Stephanie Rosenbaum’s The Astrology Cookbook: A Cosmic Guide to Feasts of Love which was recently published by Jen’s company, Manic D Press.  And if you’re in the Bay Area next week, come and enjoy as the Mission Minyan welcomes its first Torah with three days of parties and other events. Wanna guess who’s baking dessert for Shabbat dinner?