Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Sitting and being.
It has been nearly four years since my first (and last) visit to Paris and I feel the itch bad. At that time, I had traveled to several European countries before, and was studying abroad in Siena, Italy for a few months, but France had still eluded me. Maybe we were trying to be non-traditional when in 1994 my family and I took a jaunt around central Europe with other family friends, visiting Italy, Austria, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia -- those just aren't the typical countries one visits their first time in Europe. I'm so thankful for the experience though, however we may have spent more time staying up late in hotel rooms and sleeping on the tour bus than relishing in the magnificence of the Innsbruck ski jump.
At 22 years old, it was time. I decided not to walk at commencement, and instead planned a trip to Greece right after the program in Siena ended, followed by a stop in Nice for a couple days just to see what the South was all about, and finally, nearly a week's stay in Paris. It was as wonderful as can be imagined, indulging in breakfast pastries daily, sitting at a cafe for hours, wandering the narrow streets of le Marais. With my host who was an old co-worker friend that was then teaching English in the city, we avoided the tourist path and did what I have grown to love when vacationing anywhere -- just sitting and being.
This week's Tuesday's With Dorie assignment was chosen by Liliana of My Cookbook Addiction and it is just the kind of cake that tastes best on a Parisian sidewalk with an afternoon tea and a blanket of sunshine. I made Girl Scout cookies all last week, so not having to pull out the mixer again was also so appealing. Like many other bakers, lemon marmalade was nowhere to be found (although I did find lime and lemon-lime marmalade, but was not turned on by the idea of lime) so I went with the King Kelly orange marmalade of my childhood. Maybe not the best of the lot, but it reminds me of my dad's buttered wheat toast (Wonderbread was forbidden in our household) with marmalade every time. I only have a 9 x 5 loaf pan, and as early reports said, the loaf didn't rise much anyway, I thought it would have looked a little flat in my slightly-larger-than-the-recipe-called-for pan and switched it to two mini loaf pans instead. I tented the loaves with foil as they darkened quickly so the coloring ended up quite nice.
The result is simply lovely. Not heavy to begin with, but the citrus and yogurt cut any greasiness the cake may have (I reduced the oil to 1/3 cup anyway). And the almond flour adds a little something to the texture that makes you want to eat every tiny crumb that falls loose from each slice.
I just went to the kitchen and had another slice. It is even better today than yesterday, just as Dorie said it would be. God bless her heart!