Comings and Goings

Archived | March 14, 2016 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I set, as always, the clocks ahead one hour just after dinner. I find it easier to reorient that way, if I have a few hours to do so before bedtime rather than wake up on Sunday morning all messed up and scrambling. I don’t have a problem with all the Daylight Saving changes. If nothing else, it’s something different, and I just go with the flow. After all, it’s not an hour lost. It’ll return, come fall, and we’ll all be giddy with that one beautiful bonus hour.

I spent most of the evening baking while I listened to the show. Got a little weepy, I must say, a few times there, listening to the News from Lake Wobegon. Hard to imagine no more stories of that little town. Feels like home to me, and that’s what I explained to my son when he came in for a gingersnap or seven, when he asked, “Are you okay?” The kids were home for ten days this Spring Break. I will say it was wonderful having them around and having a few meals together and taking walks and engaging in a few long talks about life and death and everything in between. I heard stories of long hikes in the woods, how the pork roast turned out really well, how dense is the fog on Lake Superior in the morning. Stories of oversleeping and barely making it to class, and how there was a deer outside the dorm just the other night.

It was less difficult to say goodbye this time around, and the ensuing quiet more solitude than loneliness. They’re so light and alive. Of course they are. As well they ought to be. They have time on their side, and the world before them, open, like a great good book, maps included.

This is all of everything, really. How time changes, how we meet and part and meet again. All comings and goings of people you love and the stories they tell and the hours between for the living. It is the best of life, and blessed are we to have each other, and may we each find the words to tell it just right when the hour for telling arrives.

Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day and here are a fine few recipes for a rainy day week. Invite some friends over for dessert and a mug and an evening of stories all ‘round. Slainte!

Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake

1½ cups finely crushed chocolate wafers (about 18 cookies)*
6 T butter, melted*
½ tsp ground cinnamon
3 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 8 oz container sour cream
1 cup sugar
1 8 oz package semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
3 eggs
½ cup Irish cream liqueur
2 T whipping cream (milk works, if you prefer)
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325. To make the crust combine crushed chocolate wafers, melted butter, and cinnamon; toss gently to mix, and press onto the bottom and up the side of a 9 or 10-inch springform pan. (*If you have a 10-inch springform pan, use 1¾ cups crushed chocolate wafers (about 21 cookies) and 7 T butter, melted, for the crust.) Set aside.

Combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and melted chocolate in a larger bowl for the filling. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high until smooth, and, using your favorite wooden spoon, stir in eggs just until combined. Add liqueur, whipping cream or milk, and vanilla. Pour filling into the crust-lined pan. Place springform pan in shallow baking pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until center appears nearly set when gently shaken.

Cool springform pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a small sharp knife, loosen cake from the side of the pan and cool for half an hour or so. Remove side of springform pan and cool for a good hour. Cover and chill no fewer than 6 and up to 24 hours. Makes 16 servings.

While the cheesecake chills, make some Irish coffee. While a fresh pot of coffee is brewing, whip the cream left over from the cheesecake, and add a bit of sugar for sweetness. Chill. Pour 6 ounces of hot coffee into a mug (you might go all out and buy some glass Irish coffee mugs), leaving a bit of room at the top. Stir in a teaspoon or so of brown sugar and an ounce-and-a-half of your favorite Irish whiskey (Jameson or Two Gingers), and drop a dollop of whipped cream on top.

If the day is warm, and you’re out on the porch, try a Whiskey Ginger with Lime. All you need is your favorite whiskey, some good ginger ale, and a wedge of lime. Fill a highball glass with ice, add a shot of whisky, and top it off with ginger ale. Stir it up, and before you drop in the lime wedge, give it a little squeeze.