Monday, October 12, 2009

Tat, as I mentioned, does not consider herself to be domestic.

Know what? I'm not, either. Outside the kitchen I take a museum approach to the domestic arts, both visual (decorating) and performing (!#$!@ing ironing!). And by museum approach, I mean I look and appreciate others' advanced skills but don't actually participate.

Not that I haven't tried. And in a remedial way I can pull some of it off - assuming, of course, that getting paint color right on the fourth or fifth try counts as "pulling it off." In fact, it really was a museum approach when it came to painting our living room. We were at a party at the home of an interior designer, agreed that we loved her paint, and asked her for the details. Done.

After that I'm a little lost. We visited another friend recently who did AMAZING things with her new house. It's bold and creative and it all works perfectly together. I'm envious of people who can look at an empty space and immediately know that it needs columns, a vintage telephone, and a big-ass bird cage.

For some reason I'm nesting in a huge way and I'm tearing this house up with an orbital sander, drill, screwdriver, and multiple cans of spray paint. Things are definitely looking different and - hopefully - better. Heaven knows I'm trying.

So I've been thinking about gifts lately; the talents we're given with the intent to share. Cooking is one of my gifts. On occasion it is truly shared as a gift, as when I made six or seven sour cream poundcakes for my poundcake-loving friend's 40th birthday party. He recently married a wonderful girl who is blessed with an artistic eye, excellent taste, and the ability to make a house a home.

Chef Nancy once said, when I invited her over for lunch, that she rarely gets invited to anyone's home for a meal because people are intimidated by the idea of cooking for someone who cooks professionally. "How surprising!" I said as I ladled soup and sliced cornbread.

Know what? I'm terrified to have my friend and his wife over, even though she has become a good friend, too. They like us just fine, friend has certainly seen our home at its low points, and my lack of window treatments (how do people DO that???) will not change her opinion of us one iota. I need to get over it. Just as soon as I do something about these windows... and the garage sale coffee table... and....

Sour Cream Poundcake

This is a classic poundcake. It's wonderful served with fresh fruit and/or fruit syrup... or on its own.

1/2 cup butter
3 eggs
1/2 cup dairy sour cream
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Allow butter, eggs, and sour cream to stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Really. Have I yet made you jump through hoops? No. This is an important part of good poundcake prep.

2. Grease and lightly flour an 8x4/x-inch or 9x5x3inch loaf pan; set aside. FYI, keeping an old-fashioned powder puff in the flour canister makes this a breeze.

3. Combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

4. In a mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, beating about 10 minutes or until very light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition and scraping bowl frequently.

5. Add dry mixture and sour cream alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low to medium speed after each addition, just until combined. Over-mixing will lead to a less tender poundcake. Pour batter into prepared pan.

6. Bake in a 325-degree oven for 60 to 75 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.

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