about bliss

Friday, October 14, 2005

hip hoppin', joggin', and improvin'

I have high expectations for a day when I don’t have to set my alarm clock. This morning I reveled in a lazy morning, lingering over my coffee--the last of the Zingerman’s special Indian import--and the last of my organic half-and-half. I looked outside for my *New York Times* and once again on a Friday it wasn’t there...ugh. Instead I finished reading yesterday’s paper, and called in a pledge to our local NPR station. I updated my iBook to run the latest version of iTunes so I can finish my mix CD for my class. I kicked off the semester playing music while students are writing and doing group work, and I’ve played Jack Johnson, Billie Holiday, Samuel Barber, and, of course, Dave Matthews. A week or so ago I mentioned making a mix CD and students started listing artists/songs and running to their rooms for their CDs. So now I’m trying to compile this random list by importing some music from CDs I borrowed from Dad, my own collection, and the few songs that I need to purchase. I was saddened to discover that iTunes doesn’t have “Stairway to Heaven.”

So between grading neverending student essays, I finished the bake sale cake. I decided to make cinnamon buttercream to go between the two layers and on top, but skip frosting the sides (I didn’t feel the level of patience needed to flawlessly frost the sides with buttercream). I topped the cake with a single cinnamon stick, placed it in a pink-wrapped box, and slipped a handwritten copy of the recipe in before I covered the box with saran wrap. Despite my moment of laziness re: frosting the sides of the cake, I find I must attend to the aesthetics of food as well as the taste, especially when I'm sharing my creations with others.

When I was at the cafe dropping off the cake I bought a house pour, which is 3 shots of espresso, to make the second cake for myself, as I used up my espresso powder on the first cake. I then went to the health foods store and bought spinach, noodles, ricotta, and mozzarella for the lasagna, and organic whipping cream for the ganache for cake number two. I came home, deposited the groceries in my tiny galley kitchen, and headed out for a run.

I run the same sidewalk everyday, which might sound boring, but isn’t really, because I notice the tiny changes that each day brings. Today, a few more leaves line the sidewalk, and now they’re crinkly and dying, turning brown. When I ran down the hill by the first stop light and between two barns, I smelled Nag Champa incense wafting out of the abandoned barn that’s painted with “Animal Liberation Front” graffiti...what’s going on in there?!? I continued running down the sidewalk, enjoying the warm air and the fact that I had my shorts and tank on with my fleece tied around my waist! In October! As I ran across the bridge I passed two smiling Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I smiled back and giggled because at that very moment Usher’s song “Yeah!” was bumping on my iPod...now for those of you not familiar with Usher, he writes confessional rap/hip-hop songs, often about how he likes to keep company with the ladies, yes, ladies plural. I continued running, and Nelly came on next, singing about how hot it is and how he’s WAY overdressed for the heat;)

I made my lasagna from the bottom up, and, well, it’s disappointing. I didn’t have enough garlic and I used a tad too much sauce...such is the danger with improvisation in the kitchen. I’m hoping it tastes better tomorrow. And my second cake, well, let’s just say it has some issues, in that the centers sunk and the bottoms stuck to the pan when I tipped them out. Ah well. Nothing a little/lot of frosting and ganache can’t repair, and since this one is for me, I’m not quite as worried about the aesthetic factor.

Tomorrow I’ll tell the history and share all the intimate details of my chocolate cake...Now I’m off to rescue my sad layers.

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