Tag Archives: baking

Wrapping things up: Part I

2 May

My time left in Italy has dwindled to two weeks. It’s actually a fair chunk of time if you’re talking about being in Italy for a vacation or waiting for the results of a fellowship application. And though, in a way, I’m doing both of those things, ultimately I’m moving away from this temporary home that I’ve come to really love.

Some family are on their way here and will likely arrive before many of my West Coast readers find this post. I had time to tell them that the forecast says rain, but not the time to say the last day and a half have been absolutely beautiful.

As a result of their visit, Colin has been telling everyone that even though I’m not actually leaving for two weeks, it’s really as though I’m leaving the moment my family arrives. I feel as though I have some affliction: Well, she’ll be here, but it’s the time of year she turns into a werewolf. Maybe it’s true (not the werewolf bit—definitely not true), but I hope not; though I do realize it will be difficult to be present in any aspect of the SAIS social scene while showing off Venice to the fam.

And the fellowship application? Before I leave, Colin will know if he’s received the Boren to go study in Morocco next year, and I’ll have to figure out my plan.

There are some people I really won’t see again. I said goodbye to my Italian teachers and my language exchange partner, as well as to the kids I tutor. I worked my last shift as a nanny, though they’ve had such an important role in my time here that my family will meet them. Everyone’s curious about the other.

Making chocolate zucchini cake with Mati.

The father of the girl I tutor gave me a lift home, as usual, but for the first time it was on his scooter—my first time being on one in Italy! I know it’s cliché, but it really is a totally different way of seeing the city. I quite liked it.

At this very moment, I’m waiting to go meet my friend Leah for maybe the last time in Bologna, since she leaves even sooner than I do. Then we’ll go together to yoga; then I’ll rush over to the train station to meet Mom, Craig, Uncle Rick, and Cousin Melissa. As I wait, though, two beautiful loaves of oat-wheat bread are baking away (adapted from Radishes and Rhubarb, I added about a cup of oats), and the smell is absolutely marvelous.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

14 Feb

Chocolate Zucchini Cake adapted from Tracy’s Culinary Adventures

1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Kahlua (or vanilla)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (4 ounces) sour cream or yogurt
2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounce) Dutch-process cocoa
2 teaspoons espresso powder (optional)

2 cups shredded zucchini (about one 10″ zucchini, about 12 ounces)

Preheat oven to 325 F. Lighlty grease a bundt pan.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, oil, sugar, Kahlua, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the eggs.

Stir in the sour cream or yogurt alternately with the flour. Then add the cocoa and espresso powder, mixing until smooth. Finally, fold in the zucchini.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack.