Thursday, February 17, 2022
I'm trying to nudge February on. Normally, I love the calm after the storm of January - holidays are over, things settle down, no baking, wrapping or cooking for anyone. I like the lull of January. February can get old, though. The weather can be nasty or nice and sometimes both in the same day. So we find ways to be busy.
I have been helping at the museum with the third grade immersion program. All of the third graders in the city come and spend two full school days at the museum immersed in our local history. They learn how to design their own museum, they learn mapping skills, they learn about the people, the Native Americans, the fur traders, settlers, the immigrants, the way a museum works and why, they learn about archives, they choose an object in the building they want to know more about and write their own artifact labels for them. It's an intense full, full two days but is so much fun. In January we had an 8 day group, this week and next there is a 10 day group, in March a six day group (each group is a school, each school has certain number of third grade classrooms, each classroom is there for two days.)
Thus not a single needle has been picked up so no stitching has been done. Not on museum days.
Sunday, February 6, 2022
We were going to do dinner last night with friends. We celebrated three of our birthdays that all converged. I made a cake. You have to have a cake for birthdays, right?
My friend thinks everything that comes from my kitchen is magic. I can do no wrong. It's all wonderful and she said she wants to live in my freezer. Well. No pressure there, right?
I decided the cake would be a cake I made before and it's delicious and moist and chocolate and made with lots of malted milk powder - in the cake, the filling and the glaze. It's a winner.
But not this time. I spent ALL DAY Friday on this cake, the steps are many, cooling time is needed, but it's worth it - usually. This time I couldn't get the filling right. I spent hours trying to make it right, to fix it, to fiddle with it, to figure out what the problem was. I knew mostly the problem was something called Clear Gel from King Arthur Baking and I didn't have any this time. It's expensive for the amount you get and I didn't reorder after I ran out so, as usual for me, I tried to improvise.
I improvise ALL of the time when I cook but generally know not to try it when baking. Usually. But I had to this time. I tried everything in my magic box of tricks and nothing could or would fix this.
But you know what? I served it anyway. I spent just too much time on this thing, it still would taste great, and above all I wanted to prove to my friend that not everything that comes out of my kitchen is magically perfect.
There are times, well, most times, I DO improvise and change things up. When baking that can usually only mean change things up with flavors. In the midst of the baking of the cake I had it in my mind to make cinnamon rolls but not cinnamon rolls. I thought lemon instead of cinnamon would be nice. Lemon and blueberry. So I made some lemon curd and opened a small jar of home made blueberry jam