Of catching the plague & happy clouds.

Posted: March 27, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I’ve been floating around on a veritable cloud of joy the past two weeks, and I honestly think it’s largely due to the fact that it’s been sunny! Even though the weather hasn’t exactly been cooperating, temperature-wise, I’ve ditched the hobo clothes in favour of legging & dress combos and actually caring about how I look…and for the first time since we moved to Canada, I am fully OVER winter and its accompanying coldness. I’m done with you, winter. Seriously. It’s over.

To perk myself up further, I’ve been listening to Anberlin’s Dark is the Way, Light is a Place. The entire album is extraordinary, but this song, in particular, just puts a smile on my face:

So, I’m the happiest because of school working out, sports and the weather being reasonably nice, but then the plague comes along and shacks up in my body. Ugh. Every time I laugh, I start to make alarming hacking noises and subsequently lose a lung or two. Ugh. When I am sick, all I want to do is consume everything that I can, especially if it’s bad for me. This is the opposite of good news, as I’m working on losing weight to be a VOLLEYBALL MACHINE. So, how do I deal with this? Basically, I just made myself some healthy comfort food (?!), the recipe idea courtesy of Serious Eats: French Lentil & Barley Salad. I switched it up by removing the tapenade, lemon and oil, and by adding roasted cherry tomatoes and a few tablespoons of 5% sour cream to make the whole shebang super-creamy. I think I successfully fooled my body into thinking that I consumed total garbage. That, and the grilled pineapple I had for dessert was so incredibly sweet that it couldn’t have possibly been healthy. Mmm. Well-fed and happy!

Apparently, my plague cure is cooking? I don’t know. In any case, I made some coffee cake for the whole family, too:

Yeasted Chocolate Coffee Cake (recipe adapted from The Pastry Affair):

Dough
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup plus a pinch of granulated sugar
3/4 cup warm milk (I nuked it on high for about 70 seconds)
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick salted butter, room temperature

Fillin’
8 ounces chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used an assortment of chocolate found in my house)
1/4 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon heavy cream, for egg wash

Instructions:
In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of granulated sugar over the warm milk. Let stand until foamy (i.e. sit over the bowl like a creeper and watch the Saccharomyces get ‘er done).

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar, the whole egg, and the egg yolk. Stir into the yeast mixture. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined. Add the salted butter and mix until the dough is soft and sticky.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, which is approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours (I cleaned my room in the meantime). I actually just threw my dough into our bread maker so that it’d mix the dough & knead the life out of it, so I avoided the mess that was to be Battle Dough, and I combined two steps into one.

In a small bowl, mix together the chocolate, brown sugar, and a cinnamon. Using a pastry blender fork, cut in the butter until the mixture is uniform. Reserve 1/2 cup for later use.

The next part is my favourite: punch down the dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is an 18-inch square. Brush the egg wash around the edge of the dough to make a 1-inch border. Spread the chocolate mixture (minus the 1/2 cup) evenly throughout the dough, leaving the border clean. Starting at one end, roll the dough tightly like a jelly roll. Pinch the edges closed. Fold the dough in half and twist 2-3 times. Place the dough into a greased loaf pan. Brush the top of the dough with egg wash and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of filling over the top of the dough. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow the dough to double in size, 20-30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake the loaf for 55 minutes, or until the top is deeply golden. Transfer the masterpiece to a cooling rackplate and allow to cool completely. Make yourself a nice espresso, slice a piece off, and enjoy the sunshine on a lovely Saturday afternoon 🙂

NEXT TIME: Job hunt panic & more real life things.

Bis später!
-V

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