Dove and Syrup and the Powerful Temptation of a Chocolate Bundt

I love that right now I smell of a combination of the new package of Dove (beauty bar) soap I just opened in the shower today and maple syrup from the southern brunch I just devoured at Smith Street Diner.  The Dove always reminds me of my granny, since she’s used that soap for as long as I can remember.  It conjures up memories of me visiting her adorable, southern house in Nicholasville, Kentucky, that is so filled with various antiques that its practically a museum.  You can barely maneuver a corner without elbowing an old barrel or stubbing your toe on a little toy wagon or stool.  I’ve always loved that house and how it smells and will forever associate Dove beauty bar soap with the house and my granny.

I read Luisa Weiss’s (of The Wednesday Chef)  latest blog post this morning and literally sighed out loud after I completed the last sentence.  Her prose always seems so effortlessly whimsical, lovely and honest.  I then realized that even though I may peruse more than a few food blogs during my daily web surfings, there are four that I check like clockwork each day, when it really comes down to it.  These are the four who, when upon checking their blogs each day, my heart lurches and flutters every time I find they’ve revealed a new piece of their world in a post.

  • Molly Wizenberg’s Orangette : because she is first and foremost my favorite food writer.  The first food blogger/writer I was ever really exposed to.  Who’s words I was transfixed by and who’s recipes and photos I was inspired by and salivating for.  She is humble and funny and extremely gifted and both her blog and her book – A Homemade Life have left such an important impact on me.  Lately, I’m especially enjoying hers and Matthew’s  Spilled Milk podcast because it’s pretty much just 15 minutes of solid, hysterics and laughter between two friends who discuss the most random food-related topics a little in the middle.
  • Joy Wilson is Joy the Baker and boy is she funny.  I love her because she’s so relatable (at least to me).  She’s honest and hilarious and real and she has a serious sweet tooth.  Her writing is so brave and candid and delivers a strong sense of what type of person she is – one frankly, I’m sure I’d have a blast hanging out and baking with.  She also makes me feel better about eating dessert every day.   I had the lucky opportunity of interviewing her over the phone a few months ago and she was incredibly kind and helpful and this little old article/interview was what came out of it.  (Unfortunately my byline is no longer there, since the site has recently turned over, but hopefully it will re-return soon, as it is still being worked on).
  • Ree Drummond is The Pioneer Woman and what I love about her is that she too is hilarious and very candid.  She also has an affinity for humble comfort food dishes that I am such a sucker for.  I’ve made quite a few of her recipes now and always consult her blog when I need something unpretentious and more on the simple side.  Something that will warm and feed my stomach and my soul.  She seems like a rosie the riveter type.  She’s got balls.  Also, I think she looks like Malin Ackerman with auburn hair.
  • Luisa Weiss – The Wednesday Chef,  is also one of these women food bloggers I admire most.  She makes me feel adventurous and inspires me to want to cook out of my comfort zone.  She’s also the one who posted Marcella Hazan’s recipe for tomato sauce with onion and butter, which I have become obsessed with.  Luisa is humble and writes such elegant, honest, personal prose.  Reading her blog is almost like reading a letter to a long lost friend.

Reading any of these four inspires me to be a better writer and for that, I am eternally indebted – which is why I decided I had to blog today.

This past week was a mildly ambitious one for cooking and baking.  I was consumed with work and slapped in the face with a cold, which I am still in the process of nursing out the door (a nightly dose of spicy Indian korma and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo seems to help).  Last week was the week however, that I spent $6 on a very petite package of mushrooms.  Dried porcini mushrooms from Oregon to be exact.  They smelled heavenly when I let them steep in a hot water bath and made Jamie Oliver’s version of chicken tetrazzini.  I adore mushrooms that way.  Just to clarify, I am that type of girl who spends $6 on mushrooms instead of getting a manicure.  Manicures are a frivolous expense; dried gourmet mushrooms for my dinner are necessary.

Last week was also the week I was experiencing an intense chocolate cake craving  and came straight home from a long shift at work, to make a chocolate cake from scratch.  For some odd reason, it was a chocolate bundt that was haunting my thoughts.  I swear, whatever my last meal on earth would be, it would have to include some chocolate cake.  We’re a very contented pair.  I was eager to try this recipe from The Big Sur Bakery cookbook.  It looked lush and sinful and seemed like it would live up to the craving.  Believe me, it did.  It was incredibly moist and flavorful, due to generous measurements of buttermilk, vegetable oil and coffee.  I had no intention of icing it with that beautiful sour cream ganache concoction, though I’m sure it’s fabulous.  What I had in mind was more simple – just a happy dusting of powdered sugar.  But then I cut myself a big hunk and whipped up some awesome (and quick) hot fudge, which I then doused it in, and topped it with vanilla ice cream, to make hot fudge cake.  I take my cravings seriously.  Apparently.

This week, I plan to make some adaptations to develop my own recipe to enter in Food 52’s latest contest for “Best Autumn Pie,” and make an apple pear pie with gruyere crust.  Exciting and intimidating!

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