Way back in June, our dear friend Brooke urged a group of friends to block out a certain early August weekend, protect it from the mad summer rush and spend it at a storybook cottage tucked away in a quiet little inlet on the Chesapeake Bay to celebrate another year of her life.
The weekend was magical. Brooke, who is my almost birthday twin, is basically a super-woman. She’s classy, hilarious, bubbly, and from Texas (Mark would here interject that that fact alone is enough evidence of certain greatness).
The foosball and air-hockey tables discovered at the house provided us with hours of entertainment. We dragged the foosball table out onto an upstairs deck and had an outdoor tournament that will live into history.
We walked and talked and read on the sand. Brooke even somehow managed to convince Mark, for the first time in his life, to read a magazine on the beach. Although our plans for swimming were halted by the abundance of jellyfish, the hike along the driftwood-and-dead-jellyfish-laden beach was lovely and provided lots of material for vacay photo-shoots.
Brooke also knows the importance of delicious food on a weekend retreat. Brooke showed up on Friday afternoon with enough groceries to feed an entire Texas brigade. She brought tea cookies (made from a secret family recipe) that were the color of the ocean on a bright summer day (I think I ate 50).
She made a sweet tea/lemonade mixture that tasted like Southern sunshine.
She taught me how to perfect an omelet by putting it under the broiler for 30 seconds. The sangria was worthy of its own blog post. The crab dip was out of this world.
And then there was the shrimp boil. The whole nine yards. Snowy white potatoes and crunchy corn on the cob and spicy sausage and bright shrimp all covered the table that had been carefully covered in newspaper by the cooperative guys in our group. We ate and laughed for hours as the sun set over the bay.
Of course, no birthday weekend is complete without a birthday cake.Although the actual cake recipe is a family favorite, the frosting was my own. It was a mad success. The coffee added just the right touch of bittersweet to a decadent buttery frosting.
The weekend was one of those memorable treasures that you savor as the summer light begins to fade into fall. We won’t be able to re-live the weekend (at least not outside of pictures), but you can definitely enjoy this coffee-cinnamon frosting while I go try to pry Brooke’s secret family tea cookie recipe out of her (and maybe even the recipe for the sangria). Stay tuned.
Coffee Cinnamon Frosting
1 cup softened salted butter (2 cubes)
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tbl. Crisco
8 tbl. milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh coffee grounds
1 tsp almond flavoring
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
Gently whip softened butter and powdered sugar together until smooth. Slowly add milk and additional powdered sugar until desirable consistency is reached. (Remember that the frosting will soften a bit as the butter warms, so stop adding liquid before it is quite soft enough). Add cinnamon, coffee grounds, and flavoring, whipping occasionally. Add more milk or powdered sugar if necessary.