Friday, December 17, 2010

Unexpected Snow Day

We've already had two snowfalls in Durham.  This is rather unusual for us.  I missed the first falling snow.  I was in Charlotte watching high school-age son play basketball.  No snow there.  But it was still on the ground when I got home.
Snow #2 just happened this week.  We missed a day of school.  And lucky me, I had already given my exams and could goof off all day!!  Did I grade those exams?  Absolument pas!  I didn't even take them home.  One little angel (you know who you are!) asked if she could email me over the break and get her grade.  To which I sweetly replied (did I not, little angel?) -- "You may email me to wish me Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Have a Great Break, madame.  But do not email me to discuss grades, please.  I will ignore you."  I will grade those things at some point.  But not yet.  I want to have some fun.
I started my winter break fun early since there was no school following the snow.  I finished my next article for the Durham Herald-Sun (it will appear Wednesday, December 22, I've been told) and I baked the recipe included in the article, Chef Amy Tournquist's (of Watts Grocery) Pineapple Pecan Pound Cake with Rum.
The recipe makes enough for two cakes (at least!), so I brought one in for my buddies at school.  Thank you, Amy!  And Ann Prospero for writing about the great chefs we have in this area in your book Chefs of the Triangle.  The Ex-Ex has forbidden me from bringing home leftovers... so eat up, mes collègues! We have lots of goodies on our counter at home right now, including the second cake.
We also watched a French movie I had rented from Netflix, A Very Long Engagement or Un long dimanche de fiançailles with Audrey Tautou.  WWI war scenes.  Young woman searches for her fiancé who is court-martialed during the war.  The Ex-Ex likes war stories.  I like French stuff.  Jodie Foster was in it, speaking impeccable French.  We both thought we recognized her as an American actress but didn't know for sure until we watched the credits.  How cool is that??
And late in the afternoon, the BFF and I got caught up at Foster's Market.  A very nice day indeed.
To further put you in a good mood, watch Uncle Kracker and Kid Rock's latest video-- Good To Be Me. (It's like I've caught some crazy happy disease...) Just makes you a little nostalgic for high school days, even if you didn't ride a skateboard or drive a Cutlass Supreme (I did neither.  Nor did I hang out with boys who did.  I was what my own children would call boring... were skateboards even around in the '70's?)

The Ex-Ex and I shopped for cowboy boots one day with Kid.  Yes, we did.  The Ex-Ex comes from a line of real cowboys from out in Nebraska.  And he wanted a pair of boots for Valentine's Day.  We went to The Bull Chute in Raleigh to buy them.  When we got out of the car to go in the store, we thought it was kind of weird that a couple of guys wearing dark glasses (it was a cold, rainy February day, I think) were standing near the entrances to the store.  Lo and behold, we discovered they were guarding Kid who was in town for a concert and was doing some shopping himself.  I stood right next to him in the check-out line.  I tried hard not to stare, but couldn't really help myself.  Bless his heart, but he is no better looking in person than he is on TV or on YouTube. 

I just can't help liking some of his music, though.  Listening to his song All Summer Long takes me back to the Monoprix in Arles, of all places, because that's where I first heard the song!  True story.

Pineapple Pecan Pound Cake With Rum

(From Chefs Of The Triangle:  Their Lives, Recipes, and Restaurants by Ann Prospero; John F. Blair, Publisher; 2009)

Yields 2 9-inch round cakes or 2 tube pans (would also be good in loaf pans, I think)

Pound cake:
2-1/2 cups oil
4 cups sugar
6 eggs
1-1/4 cup fresh pineapple, finely chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons Myer's rum
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups North Carolina pecans, chopped

1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup cream
1 to 2 teaspoons rum

Preheat oven to 325˚F.  Prepare pans with butter or oil.   Cream oil and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.  Add pineapple, sour cream, and rum.  Blend until mixed.  In a separate bowl, add flour, salt, and baking soda, blending well.  Slowly add flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time to egg mixture, beating in each addition until thoroughly blended.  Stir in pecans, mixing by hand.  Pour into baking pans.  Bake for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes until done (round cake pans will take less time than tube pans).  A tester should come out clean; sides of cake should be slightly away from pan.

For the glaze, mix all ingredients well.  Spread onto baked cakes (while warm!).

Bon appétit, Snow days!

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