We stepped off the plane in Anchorage a month ago. The sun was shining brightly; the air crisp and cold. Our clothing, suitable for 75°F weather we left behind in Greece, left us shivering in Alaska.
We were one of the last to pass customs; our suitcases, fully packed with delicious Greek ingredients (including 30 pounds of cheeses), attracted intense governmental scrutiny. We helplessly stood by while a neophyte customs agent mauled delicate cheeses, sticking his thumb through their centers. Puzzled, he gave the cheese to a more senior agent for scrutiny, who immediately approved its entry. At long last, all our food passed muster, albeit a little worse for wear.
Because of the customs hold up, we missed the normal 30-people-fighting-for-10-taxis that happens after every international flight lands in Anchorage. Tired and relieved, we stepped into a waiting taxi and headed home.
Anchorage was awash with color: the sky, brilliant blue; the trees, gloriously gold. The mountains surrounding the city were deep green and snowless. Since we’ve been back, supermarket produce sections have been overflowing with fall fruits.
With all the fall fruit that’s landed in my kitchen, I’ve been doing a lot of baking. So far, my favorite treats are a pair of simple to mix, one-bowl cakes that are packed with fruit and wonderful flavor.
Bev’s Apple Cake is moist, has lots of apples, and isn't overly sweet. When fresh from the oven, the top crust crackles, nicely contrasting with the moist crumb and juicy fruit.
Plum Torte is one of the New York Times most requested recipes of all times. First created by Lois Levine and popularized by Marion Burros in her New York Times column, Plum Torte is moist, buttery, and absolutely delicious. Like Bev’s Apple Cake, it takes minutes to put together, but seems as if it took a lot of effort.
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