I promised to post this recipe eons ago (if you follow me on Facebook) and I’m only now getting around to it. I think we have moved beyond the stage of apology at this point. One can only do as much as she can with the cards dealt to her, and mine include classes, research, interning, feeding the husband (hehe) and a growing number of extracurriculars as well. This is not to say I lay my excuses humbly at your feet, or my life has become monumentally more important than my blog. Nay, I cannot emphasize the degree to which I miss this blasted nook in my life, where I might seek escape and comfort amidst piles of books and heaps of spices. I think grandly day and night about the possibilities that reside in this modest corner of the internet. Not even a corner, more like a floor pillow, or a footstool. A step to lead thoughts and tastes into hard-to-reach places.
That is why I really want to alter what goes on here. The universe has finally delivered me to a place where books, text, and theory (really?? I have grown to appreciate and want to explore more theory!?) happily consume my daily life. I have a husband who happily and, dare I say, bravely receives battalions of constant critiques of culture, art and society that I bandy about in hopes that people will view Child Lit as more than CHILD Lit. Stress-packed but happy times. And I feel this needs to translate into something more. Yes, if I go down the PhD route, I can let it blossom there. But something more, something me, something of myself and my passions. So yes, I have slowed down on the blogging, because I am re-imagining it now. Nothing startlingly different, but… just more focused. That’s the word. Focused.
I know I have said this once a year I think, that I will be adding new features or changing the site etc. But maybe this time I’m serious. I want to focus more on the lit. Not just ChildLit, but yes there should more of that. We’ll see. I’m trying to combine my pleasures with other pursuits more seamlessly. The husband and his ever growing obsession with spices, for example. That is how the Cardamom Orange Cake came about by the way: the husband tinkering with spices. Can you imagine your cozy two-bedroom apartment infiltrated by the warm but stifling aroma of cardamom, clove, cumin, coriander, curry leaves… anise, mustard seed, chili, fennel… just all and sundry into stunning concoctions? Let me tell you, no matter how many windows and doors are open, the scents will live on for days… and days… and days.
*I apologize to any and all peers, professors, and persons of acquaintance if I have smelled unknowingly like an Indian market in Madras. I assure you I have bathed innumerably, to no avail perhaps.*
One particular afternoon I considered the Cardamom. A pivotal spice to many dishes, but a particular favorite. Especially in Pakistani/Indian foods where the pods intermingle with the sauces and curries and hide just enough so you bite down and BLEGH! That punch in the face, mouth, tongue, brain! Who can handle eating cardamom?? Except… if you remove the seeds from the pods, as Mr. G did, and grind that separately, the taste, while still strongly distinct, settles more like a pat on the arm than an uppercut.
As wafts of cardamom circled around my head, I considered its possibilities… and saw the pile of Cara Cara navel oranges I recently bought (I vow to you Cara Caras are the best orange. My favorite orange. They may not be cuties but their flavor is unmatched in my opinion). Shortly thereafter I found a recipe worth trying.
I also have to say my openness to the Cardamom is in part due to one of my professors, who recently proclaimed to me her own fondness for the less-than-respected spice, at least in this region of the world. Foods from the Middle East and South Asia are replete with cardamomish dishes, but it ain’t a big hit here. Thus the kindling for the quest was supplied, and G’s experimenting lit the fire.
I couldn’t possibly claim ownership of the recipe which I found on the Five and Spice Blog. I did make a few changes here and there though, including:
- Using half wheat, and half white flour (all purpose)
- Adding a little extra cardamom the second time I made it, just to up the ante a bit (not more than 1.5 tsp)
- Using regular low fat yogurt instead of greek (just because that’s what I had. I think the cake turned out super moist)
- Adding the juice of half a Cara Cara orange along with the zest. About 3 tbsp I would wager.
I have an obsession with strong flavors. I don’t need subtleties all the time. Plus the first time I made it, I didn’t feel the orange held up to the cardamom, so I added the juice the second time. Depending on the size of your orange, you might add the juice of all of it. It was heavenly I will say. Just delightful.
The recipe calls for a mini loaf pan, but I used a cake pan once and cupcake pan the other time. No complaints. Just keep in mind that cupcake tins will call for shorter baking time, so keep an eye on them (30 min mark thereabouts). Do try it, and let me know what you think!
The plan is to do more LiterEature blogs at this point, and over the summer redesign the blog entirely. We’ll see. For the moment I will go back to reading the zillion books and articles on my agenda, and coming up with some conference paper proposals… nerdy academic life. So wonderful.