Dude, Ethel, where ya been?

Sunday, 15 May 2011 § 2 Comments

Anyone still here?

Hi!  I’ve been neglecting this space because I spent the past week trying to figure out what to do with myself.  The answer hovered between “painting at the Rooster’s new abode” and “absolutely nothing.”  I haven’t read a book in over a week.  I think this is the longest I’ve ever gone in my life without reading.  I have watched an ungodly amount of really, really bad internet television and Netflix streaming. I’ve gotten a haircut that I’m starting to regret.  I was in a mood where I felt the need to get rid of things, you see.  There just needed to be less, as though that would counterbalance the too-much-ness of the past several months.  I don’t have a ton of clothes, and certainly not a lot that I don’t wear, so a closet purge wasn’t really an option.  And while I have a surfeit of books, I can’t exactly get rid of them.  So I got rid of a lot of hair.  It was longer than it had been in years and years.  Now I look like a cross between Rachel Maddow and a Bunddeutsches Mädel.  Ah, well.  Barring catastrophe, hair tends to grow back.

Also, I made Exam Jam as a thank-you gift for my committee.  One batch was the also freshly-minted Master Garrett’s strawberry and wine jam (not pictured).  The other was a sublime strawberry-rhubarb from Kaela; with relatively little sugar and a healthy dose of lemon juice and zest, you can really taste the fruits.  Yummm.

Rollin' in the deep cast iron pot

Secret Ingredient: O+ Blood.

Our local farmer’s market is bursting with beautiful, crisp rhubarb.  Swoon.

The really exciting item on the agenda now is planning the wedding cake for my aunt’s wedding.  I’ll be traipsing back below the Mason-Dixon line next week and baking the cake for her 100-guest wedding.  It’ll be three tiers, with three layers each:  almond-hazelnut with white chocolate mousse filling; lemon poppyseed with lemon curd filling; and lavender-rose-vanilla with lavender-rose-raspberry jelly filling.  And a swiss buttercream frosting.  I’m super-excited.  I’ve baked two wedding cakes before, but they were both smaller, so this will be the largest one yet.  Since I need to take my heavy-duty kitchenaid mixer to do it, I’m taking the train — a 17 hour journey!  But I love train travel, and the immediacy of the experience of space and time.  As a double-plus bonus, I discovered that the mixer fits in my smallest suitcase!

Yeah, I can't imagine getting this one through security.

To give you a sense of the epic scale of this project, check out my shopping list for when I’m down South (there are other things I’m buying up here, like Rosewater and lots and lots of nuts, since I’m not sure I can find them down in my Natal Village):

US Butter : 24 sticks (6 lb)
APF: 10 lb (?)
Cake flour: 2 boxes
Sugar  (10 lb bag)
Eggs: 4 doz plus 2 c whites
Brown Sugar
Vanilla Extract
Whole Milk (7 c)
Cream (8 c)
Buttermilk (1 ¼ c plus ⅓ c)
Baking powder
Creme fraiche (2.25 c)
Cornstrach

White chocolate (3 lb)
10 lemons + 15 (or bottled juice?)

So, stay tuned for those misadventures!  Also, I found out a friend is expecting, so baby knitting projects to come!

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