AuntieKH was a part of my life since I was 6. I still remember when UM brought her to Hilo and introduced the family to his fiance. It was the first time I ever heard that word. It was also the first time I saw someone with long, beautiful, polished nails. AuntieKH was a teacher (my dream job at the time) AND had long polished nails, cut straight across. Wow! I knew my uncle hit the jackpot!
That was more than four decades ago, and over the years, auntieKH has always been there for me. When my ex-bf had no car, UM and auntieKH gave him their Toyota Corolla wagon. When I needed a computer to write my master's thesis, UM and auntieKH came through and bought me my first Apple computer, a Mac Color Classic, and color inkjet printer. When I moved out of my Honolulu apartment, auntieKH showed up to help me clean (for those of you who know me, you can probably imagine the coat of dust on the bi-fold closet doors!). AuntieKH provided guiding words of wisdom when my friend's mom discovered she had pancreatic cancer...how to get a wig, oncologist in Honolulu, etc.
Being related to auntieKH was an unexpected perk when I went to work for a state office on Oahu. I was being treated rather nastily by this bitchy lady. She happened to be signing in for a workshop at the same time I signed in. Just by chance, one of the resource teachers at the sign-in table saw my name. She said, "you're____ _____! I'm ____ _____(my sister-in-law) cousin." I recognized the lady from auntieKH's wedding photos...she was the friend who got the bride's bouquet. I told her she hadn't changed in 30 years. Then she turned to the boss sitting next to her and said, "you know whose niece this is, right?". The boss knew auntieKH well. The bitchy lady had heard the entire exchange and then said, "what, you're _____ ______ niece?". Ever since then, the bitchy lady was a lot less bitchy to me. When I shared the story with auntieKH, she just laughed and said that I should excuse the bitchy lady because her teaching career had a rough start...her students set fire to her room! No wonder she was a bitch.
I still find myself tearing up, not wanting to believe she is gone. AuntieKH took good care of herself. She and UM attended exercise class at the Y several times a week. She was also careful (most times) about what she ate. The last time she visited Hilo, she ordered an egg white omelet at Hawaiian Style Cafe. I still remember watching her fry an egg, using only a drop of oil in the non-stick skillet.
As I think back to the good times with auntieKH, I am reminded to take better care of my own health. My cholesterol is a little higher than it should be. I don't take medication, and I'd like to keep it that way. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats and have the power to lower bad cholesterol. While this week's recipe has butter and eggs, it make me feel a little better to think the almonds will cancel out the cholesterol. Did I mention I am sometimes delusional? The best almonds to use are natural, sliced almonds. Nuts.com offers both natural sliced almonds and organic sliced almonds. Even better, they don't charge a ransom for shipping to Hawaii.
And don't be fooled by the pictures. This dessert is very easy to make. The Help was shocked at how quickly it came together. Apparently, this dessert is also a great traveler. The Help mailed this to daddyHelp for Father's Day. He said it arrived in great condition. I wish auntieKH came to the family New Years party this year. My contribution was a tray of Easy Almond Danish Puff slices. I think she would've loved it. And maybe she would have looked at my nails with approval as I served her a piece . . . or two.
click on recipe title for printable recipe
Base: 1 c flour
1/2 c butter
2 tbsp water
Cut butter and flour together until pea-size pieces form. Add water and stir until dough forms a ball. Divide dough into 2 parts. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, press each dough half into a 3" x 12" rectangle.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Puff: 1 c water
1/2 c butter
1 tsp almond extract
1 c flour
Heat water and butter in a medium saucepan until boiling. Stir in almond extract and flour. Reduce heat to low and stir constantly until dough forms a ball. Remove from heat and add eggs, beating until fully incorporated. Divide mixture in half and spread over base, covering base completely. Bake for 1 hour. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Glaze: 2 tbsp butter, softened
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp water
Beat all ingredients together in a small bowl. Spread evenly over puffs. Sprinkle with slivered almonds. When glaze is dry, slice into 1" strips (for finger food) or 2" strips (for plated serving) with a serrated knife.
Makes 12-24 pieces.