Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Notes from the Field: Respect Your Mother

The Summer Day 
by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life? 

It might be the 40th anniversary of Earth Day today, but our little planet has been celebrating 4.54 billion rotations around the sun. Go green!
Organic Devil's Food Cupcake (Adapted from Martha Stewart)

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached organic flour
1 1/2 cups organic evaporated cane sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large free-range organic eggs
3/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup organic milk
1/2 cup organic greek yogurt
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.
2. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. 
3. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.
4. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes.  Let cool completely before frosting.

Italian Meringue Frosting

2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 egg whites (room temperature)
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla or other flavoring
2 tablespoons sugar

1. Mix 2/3 cup sugar and water together and bring to a boil until a temperature of 275 is reached on a candy thermometer.
2. As the syrup reaches its temperature, beat the egg whites with the
cream of tartar, 2 tablespoons sugar until the whites form soft peaks.
3. Remove syrup from heat add the syrup in a small stream while continuing to beat the mixture with the electric mixer
4. Beat about 3 more minutes. The mixture will form glossy peaks and thicken.
5. Add the vanilla and mix a bit more.  Frost the cupcakes immediately.

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