Where oh where have I been? The thing about an internship, as opposed to online classes, is that it takes me away from the house. And the computer. And the ability to procrastinate by blogging.
I just got two new cookbooks, and they’re making me bewail my lack of free time more than ever, because I feel baking-deprived. I finally used my giftcard and got How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson and the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking. I’ve been flipping through both and drooling ever since they arrived in the mail.
I’d heard of Domestic Goddess before but I think I was always put off by the pictures of Nigella Lawson – she doesn’t look like someone I’d want to bake with or eat with. But then Babelbabe (or Babelbake, as I just typoed) recommended it, and I suppose it’s a lesson in not judging a book by the author photo – I adore her tone and the recipes look delicious. My first attempt – and the first recipe in the book – was the Madeira Cake. It’s a simple loaf cake with a hint of lemon and a lovely golden color. Not too sweet, but a lovely buttery flavor.
She says, “this is baking at its simplest and most elegant. There’s no folderol or fancy footwork: you just feel humble and worthy and brimming with good things.” To which I say, amen. I love to eat baked goods – I could happily live off of them – but it’s just as satisfying, if not more so, to bake. It’s as much about the process and activity as it is about the end result – although Nigella’s right in saying that people are much more impressed by a simple, home-made dessert than a fancy dinner.
And the process is still satisfying even on my most scatterbrained day – I started to add cornstarch instead of baking powder, my lemon wouldn’t zest, there was flour all over my shirt, I almost dumped an egg into the compost instead of the bowl, and my waxed-paper lining smoked like crazy in the oven. Even if the cake had flopped, it was worth it for the sweet, lemony smell of baking filling the house.
The only whole grains I have on hand are whole wheat, cornmeal and amaranth, so I might need to make a trip to Bob’s Red Mill before I try some of the recipes from Whole Grain Baking. I want to make a whole-grain bread, and the cornmeal-blueberry pancakes, and the orange cloud pancakes, and the coconut scones, and and and…I’ve always found my King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion reliable and thorough, so I’m excited to dip into the whole-wheat version. There are a handful of duplicate recipes (like Morning Glory Muffins) but a ton of new ideas and flavor combinations.
Now I just have to pick a recipe for the 4th of July…