Plum Tired

Things I am loving right now…

The fact that it’s cool (finally) and rainy, which makes me very cozy and lethargic and in the mood to bake, apparently.   (Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies the other night and Marian Burros’ famous plum torte – today)

How not only I am in bed in a room that smells like beautiful fall air combined with the way my bed smells but I am also wearing a sweatshirt and dunking oreos in milk.

Giada De Laurentiis’ chicken milanese with fennel and tomato sauce

This blog, because I just stumbled across it this morning and Stephanie’s photos are stunning, because I love the name of her blog and because I am dying to make that ooey gooey caramel apple blackout cake as soon as humanly possible.

The idea of having (and making) soup.  Preferably something with a lot of beans like cannelloni and lentil, with sausage or kielbasa of some kind and lot’s of vegetables and probably kale.

This coat because I’m pretty much in love with it and feel as though it is essential that I have it.

“The Bagman’s Gambit,” by The Decemberists, off the Picaresque album.  Listening to this album during rainy weather is somehow very satisfying.  Over the past couple days, I’ve become increasingly infatuated with this song, since for the first time, I actually stopped to listen to the lyrics.  Colin Meloy is such an oddball lyricist and I can’t think of anyone like him.  I love how his songs (and this one in particular) tell stories.  I guess that’s just the old actress in me…guess she’s still in there somewhere.

So this morning I braved the rain to attain some eggs so I could make the plum torte and see what all the fuss was about.  I’ve never been one to gravitate toward plums – in fact, I rarely ever pay them any mind and sort of feel indifferent about them.   Lately though, I’ve been curious to try the unknown in the kitchen.  There’s a laundry list of new and different things I want to make.

I used red plums instead of Italian and I was skeptical at first because there didn’t seem to be much batter.  But I situated the plum halves overtop the batter and much to my surprise, they sunk down and cozied into the blanket of batter, which then rose up to meet them.  In turn, the house smelled of cinnamon and sugar, which is ever so comforting on a rainy day and the plums bled into the cake with their vibrant rosy shade of purple.  The cake yielded a crumb and a taste very similar to that of a sour cream coffee cake (although there was no sour cream in it).  It was light and simple and the cinnamon sugar helped tame the slightly sour tang of the plums.  I don’t quite understand all the hype, despite the cake’s gorgeousness, but it will make for a fine breakfast with a glass of cold milk tomorrow morning.

In other news, my pie didn’t make the contest but it was one out of six that got made and was chosen as an “editor’s pick!”  Not only that but Merrill Stubbs actually made my pie and had this to say about it:

The crust is like the best cheese straw you’ve ever had—my whole apartment smelled incredible while the pie was baking. The pear and apple combo is great and I also loved the spice and vanilla in the filling. This pie is a savory-tangy-sweet flavor explosion. – Merrill

Needless to say, I was elated.  Tomorrow, I will enter the contest “Best Bag Lunch” but I will not tell you the recipe until after!  I’m having a lot of fun with this and love how the concept Merrill and Amanda have successfully executed is so inspiring.  For the first time, I’m undertaking the challenge of developing my own recipes and it’s not an easy task but I’m finding myself growing more and more creative and fixated on the process of drawing from all different sorts of inspiration, altering and adding and tweaking and subtracting so I can create something to call mine.  And it’s fun.

Good Rain Songs:

  • “Raincoat Song” – The Decemberists
  • “Record Year” – The Decemberists
  • “Raining in Baltimore” – The Counting Crows
  • “Buckets of Rain” – (M. Ward and Beth Orton’s cover)
  • “Row” – Jon Brion


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