At my last Christmas party, when everything was just getting started, we were planted idly in front of the local news. The feature story was about a woman whose lover left her 6 years ago (I'm not aware that they shared the reason for the break-up). She was reminiscing about how they adopted dogs together and spent Christmas decorating the tree, etc. Even though they'd broken up, she still decorated the tree and put presents under it (presumably for the two of them), and set up mementos of the two of them together (a pair of Christmas angels). During the entire feature, there wasn't anyone else in her giant house. She said she did all these things in the hope that one cold Christmas night, she'd return and they'd live happily ever after.
"Oh man," I thought, "that is just too tragic."
She didn't say why she left. She didn't even know if she'd already found someone new. I'm not sure she has her phone number or knows where she is. It seemed like the one who left wasn't making any effort to be found anyway.
I started to think about old friends and infatuations, how there were these days I spent wondering if I was doing everything right in the friendship and thinking about them every single day. A few years pass and it's a miracle if I even remember their birthdays. (Well, sue me, I'm a guy...) It's sad to think about it but I guess amnesia is a built-in defense mechanism that allows us to move on with our lives and maybe someday find someone new. I wanted to give tv-person a hug and say that maybe in another six years, she'll have problems remembering what her lover sounded like, and with some luck, she'll probably only remember the things about her that pissed her off. Just kidding.
I don't know what she wanted to accomplish by allowing the depressing feature to be run. Did she want to be pitied by said lover so she'd come running back? I hope she does more than that to fill the void. No-one deserves to be alone, Christmas or otherwise.
ANYWAY (From now on I'm just going to use an all-caps ANYWAY as a marker to separate my silly thoughts from the recipe, hee hee.)
This recipe is again from one of my favorite cookbooks, Tartine. I recently reviewed it over at The Gastronomer's Bookshelf, finally!
How was the recipe? It was aggressively spicy, which I love, but I think the ginger I used was on the old side and slightly more pungent than usual. No heat rash here, but it was very heady. Also, please slice the knob of ginger as thinly as you can (1/8 inch or 3mm, or even thinner). If you look closely at the pic, you'll see there are quite a few fibers of ginger in it-- not good eats.
This was meant to be served with a hard sauce, but I just discovered that if you're not a fan of hard liquor, you won't be a fan of hard sauce, ha ha ha! Just go for unsweetened whipped cream if you ask me. Check out what Lisa's going to make from Tartine this month, or check out her version of the Steamed Gingerbread Pudding back from when it was cold in Australia!
Steamed Gingerbread Pudding from Tartine
Uh... I realize that the pudding isn't actually steamed. Prueitt says that the batter is so thin and watery that it "essentially steams itself." Okay!
- 105g (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- small pinch ground cloves
- small pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 50g (1-3/4 ounces or 1/3 cup) fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped (see note above)
- 100g (7 tablespoons) hot water
- 75g (6 tablespoons) sugar
- 72g (1/3 cup) neutral oil such as canola
- 117g (6 tablespoons) blackstrap molasses (I used regular)
- pinch salt
- 1 large egg
Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F). Spray the bottom and sides of a 23x12.5cm (9x5 inch) loaf pan with baking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper together. Set aside.
In a blender, add the ginger and enough of the hot water to cover and process until smooth. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the hot water to the blender to loosen any residual ginger and pour that into the bowl too. Whisk in the sugar, oil, molasses, and salt until well-blended. Sift the flour mixture into this and whisk until smooth. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. The batter will be thin. Pour into the pan and bake for 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.
If you want more gingerbread, be sure to check out my other recipes:
1. Claire Clark's Gingerbread (my fave)
2. Thick and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies (my other fave)
3. Rose Levy Beranbaum's English Gingerbread Cake
4. Spiced Pear Upside-Down Gingerbread Cake
5. Tartine's Soft Glazed Gingerbread