February 3, 2009
Winter blues no more
Now here's something that makes me happy. It's a chocolate-raspberry ganache cake that I made recently for my boyfriend's mom's birthday. Composed of two layers of moist chocolate cake (the secret ingredient being sour cream), with a layer of raspberry jam and ganache in the middle, smeared with more ganache and dotted with fresh raspberries, it was a heart-warming thing to make. I'm not talking about how it made me or anyone feel when eating it (that was good too). No, I'm talking about what it does for me to bake a cake.
Nourishing the soul and calming the nerves. These are the direct results of baking for me. Or cooking. Or anything that involves me in my kitchen alone or with my best guy and our sweet dog who likes to assist from her perch on the floor in front of the sink.
In this, the middle of winter (6 weeks to go until Spring!), when we've had very cold weather for weeks and weeks, and the days are short and often dark, it's baking and cooking that lift my spirits, not to mention filling our bellies.
Take this weeknight mac n' cheese, for example. It took nothing to prepare. Just cook some macaroni. Toast some bread crumbs. Melt some butter, cheese and milk. Add a little nutmeg and salt and pepper and combine with pasta. Throw in some wilted kale for green, fill a baking dish with this goodness, sprinkle the top with the toasted bread crumbs, more cheese and bake for about 20 minutes. Oh, it's yummy and warm and sure, it'll cost you some calories. But whatever. It's the middle of winter, like I said.
Here's something else that warms my soul: a simple roasted chicken over roasted root veggies for an easy and delightful mid-winter meal.
And, for something to pick me up in the afternoon when all I want is to curl up with a good book next to the fire but work keeps me at my desk: a shot of espresso with a homemade biscotti.
It's all good. It's winter. And it'll soon be Spring. So stop complaining and get in the kitchen (I tell myself) and don't forget to breathe.
PS: Happy one-year anniversary to me and to the Joy of Cooking!
Two things I'm thankful for: 1) I still have this blog name and no lawsuits and
2) this song: "the times they are a'changin" (bob dylan, covered by mason jennings on "I'm not there" soundtrack).