I woke up to winter this morning. A few inches of snow dust the ground and sugar-coated trees hold up a shock of blue Colorado sky. I’m finally sleeping deeply again after the long hot summer so the arrival of cold weather and chilly mornings wrapped in Greg’s arms is pure pleasure.
I’ve got a few days away from teaching and the demands of college freshman to sit and watch the world go by from my window, to read books and take naps and long hot baths, and remember what it’s like to romance my man and the people in my life with food. Because cold mornings mean cozy mornings, my heart has been skipping down a list of breakfast sweets that conjure words like indulgence, luxurious and naughty:
|The “big” pancake|
As the snow began to fall last night, I thought inexplicably of the baked pancake that Greg and I shared the first fall we were together when the foothills and 55 miles of road separated us, and the weekdays yawned wide before the weekend when we’d see each other. It’s the only thing he’s ever asked me to make. So this week, I’ll add the lovely berry-filled oven-baked cake puffed with homemade lemon curd and sprinkled with powder sugar to our Sunday ritual of The New York Times and coffee in bed. Lemon curd registers high on my naughty list, with equal parts egg yolks and sugar, but if we want to be really bad, we’ll drink so many mimosas, we’ll need a nap.
Once I’ve allowed my brain the idea of sugar, I think of donuts, which, let’s face it, are heroin. The space between my ears shimmers with pleasure and a palpable tingle when I bite into them. Sunday mornings on the prairie when Greg and I are feeling hedonistic, he hops in the car for maple bacon long johns (for me) and chocolate-covered custard filled donuts (for him). Thinking about the jolt of pleasure I get from a mouthful of hot and puffed glazed dough, I decide we’ll indulge my sister, her husband and my niece Ava, along with Greg’s son with homemade donuts when we host a post-Thanksgiving brunch. And yes, there will be chocolate and bacon.
|Lemon Souffle pancakes with blueberries|
Last, I’m dreaming of lemon soufflé pancakes, a recipe that’s delicate and light and like eating little lemony clouds. You fold whipped egg whites into a batter made from ricotta cheese, lemon zest and yolks with just dusting of flour and sugar. The soufflé-like batter is dropped gently by the quarter cup-full onto a hot griddle and turned carefully with a cake spatula. If the angels could eat, this would be their dish. Think Bruno Ganz closing his eyes in appreciation over a loving and luxurious bite. Dust the hot cakes with powdered sugar and serve with maple sausage. When done right, the pancakes retain their lift and you walk away from the table feeling as virtuous as a saint, having eaten something that registers as “bad” but without the requisite gluten or sugar load. Now, that’s my kind of breakfast.
Let me proclaim this week to be austerity free. Let pleasure and the tingle on the tongue reign. For Thanksgiving, I’ll be forgetting the turkey to write about pie instead. Indulge, I say. And let the party begin.
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