about bliss

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

twd: nutty-chocolatey-swirly-sour cream bundt cake

These winter days—either brilliantly sunny and frigidly cold, or shades of white and grey and slightly warmer—dull the soul.

This nutty-chocolatey-swirly-sour cream bundt cake revives it.

As I sat at work today, the first day of Spring Semester classes, I watched heavy, melting snow slide off the roof and add to the growing pile outside my window obstructing my view. It's all sky, bare tree branches, and parking lot light posts from where I sit.

Imagine the comfort this fragrant, rich, hearty cake provided at 1:00, with a cup of vanilla green tea, and the Neko Case pandora station playing.


This cake baked easily for me. I used my rose shaped bundt pan, and remembered to adjust the oven heat down 25 degrees since the pan is so dark. Between the non-stick surface and my careful buttering and flouring, the surface was slick and the cake unmolded beautifully. Gregg and I have been chipping away at the cake since I baked on Saturday, and we shared a few wedges with his parents on Sunday, after watching the Green Bay Packers defeat the Chicago Bears and clinch their Superbowl spot. (I'm really a Detroit Lions fan, but will need a few more years to see them in the playoffs, so I'm forced to cheer for GB and that cute Aaron Rodgers:)) It was perfect with a cup of coffee at the end of an exciting game.

Jennifer, of the blog Cooking for Comfort, selected this recipe. Visit her blog for the recipe, and check out the Tuesdays with Dorie website to see who else baked this week.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

100 words: you can do anything!

I'm participating in a weekly writing challenge: 100 words. Each week, Velvet Verbosity posts a prompt, and participants write 100 words, in any form, that evoke the word. This week's word: credentials.

You Can Do Anything!
“Welcome to freshmen writing,” she said, standing behind the oak lectern. “I’m going to take attendance, and then we’re going over the syllabus,” she glanced down at her notes. Make a joke. “I won’t make you write just yet.” Her eyes peered over the tops of her faux tortoiseshell glasses. A few smiles, no laughs. Try harder. “So, please tell me what you want to be called. You can even make up a name! I did!” And credentials, too. Laughter, finally. A Master’s in positive psychology easily became one in English. Now, take out your pencils and write,” she smiled.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

twd: lemon (poppyseed) muffins

A crystalline winter night, with piles of freshly fallen and plowed snow lining the roads. Stars illuminate a blueblack sky, and the temperature plummets. Gregg and I drive home with the taste of citrus in our mouths: lemon pie with towering meringue, margarita tea cookies, and glasses of viognier. I clasp a small pie pumpkin, crudely halved (to check the integrity of its innards), on my lap. My coat pockets bulge with small heads and miscellaneous cloves of Roja garlic. Two dozen farm fresh eggs nestle on the floorboard.

We just enjoyed an impromptu visit with friends T and J. A quick succession of stories, video clips, book and movie synopsis filled a few hours on this stark winter's night.

And now, I suppose, I must talk about these muffins. Readers, I didn't bake them long enough. They're pale and rather doughy. They're missing poppyseeds (mine smelled rancid) and slicked with just a hint of glaze. But! I used a fragrant, floral meyer lemon in place of traditional lemon, which alters the flavor somewhat. Gregg quite likes them. I think they're okay, but my execution could've been much better.

Still, there's something about citrus these days—a form of sunshine and warmth—that fortifies the soul. A ruby red grapefruit, which cuts through the muddledness with alacrity. The sweetness of a navel orange, or, better yet, a cara cara, tasting like summer fun.

These moments bring me out-of-season and bring me joy.

Just like eating pie and drinking wine with friends, on a cold January night.

Betsy, of the blog A Cup of Sweetness, selected this recipe for the Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) baking group. Check out her blog, and the TWD website for more muffins.