It is a dreary, wet and totally iced-over Sunday. Today is one of those “Yeah-I’m-taking-a-shower-then-putting-my-pj’s-back-on” kinda day. I got the roller-set working (btw, this roller set will be a part of tomorrow’s posting on female hair loss), and the face cream slathered all over my face. My little Chippy doesn’t even know quite what to make of the way I look–Yikes!
Anyway, a bad-weather day is all you need to take a step back and snuggle up on a sofa, a comfy throw blanket to warm you up, with a good book or a magazine. It’s a hot tea or cocoa sorta day. Later on, I plan to sit in my favorite part of the house–the sunroom off the kitchen. It’ll be nice to cozy up and read “My Father’s Glory and My Mother’s Castle” by Marcel Pagnol. Pagnol wrote about growing up in France at the turn of the century, among other subjects and his books are just mesmerizing. A total escape into a slower and more genteel way of life.
Today is also a great day for baking. You know, when my kids were really young—before they started school, I would bake everything from scratch. I didn’t want them eating pre-packaged cookies or brownies or even cupcakes–I even went as far as to make my own tortillas! Yeah..that idealistic way of thinking didn’t last too long!
When they started going to school, even though they still loved home baked Chocolate Chip cookies, Duncan Hines became my go-to baker! I mean, come on now—with the hectic schedules the three kids had, it was much easier to open up a box of cake mix and whip up a few dozen cupcakes for classroom events rather then to bake from scratch. Although I must add, the Barefoot Contessa “Outrageous Brownie” recipe was a huge hit at the post-prom parties so there were a few instances where I did go back to baking from an actual recipe!
These days with everyone out of the house, I have made a return to baking from scratch. I promised Vincent that I would make a batch of his beloved Madeleines! A do-nothing day like today is a perfect day for baking these fluffy, lemony, delicate little tea cakes that Proust made famous in his prose. It’s a timely process because after you make the batter, the batter needs to rest. There are many schools of thought on the proper way to make Madeleines, and after much trial and error, I use Dorie Greenspan’s recipe. Here’s the link:
Feeling ever-so-productive, I had egg yolks left over from a soufflé that I made last week, so I made lemon curd. Now, I dunno about you, but I’m not much of a “jelly and jam” person, after years and years of PPJ sandwich making, my tastes have turned more to lemon and fruit curds–they are more custardy and buttery than jams and jellies and curd is great spread on a scone, or toast, or in my case, rice cakes. (I’m constantly counting WW points, but my count is way too high!) Basically, the lemon curd recipe is as follows, take 4 or 5 egg yolks, 3/4 of a cup of sugar, the zest of one lemon, 1/2 cup of lemon juice, a splash of vanilla, a pinch of salt, and place all these ingredients in a heavy pot on the stove. Then get a stick of butter out of the fridge, slice it into about 8 pieces, and put it back in the fridge. Then put a medium low light under the pot that you have the ingredients in. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixed ingredients become thicker and coat the spoon–around 7 to 8 minutes. Turn the flame off. Take the butter out of the fridge. Stir the butter into the mixture, one piece at a time. Pour into jars. Let cool then place in the fridge. Easy peasy!
Enjoy your day and remember each day brings a wiser and better us!