Dearest blog readers,
I'm still here! I'm still alive! This blog has been suffering from a dearth of desserts (sadly!), and I wanted to just thank you all for your continued patience as well as ask for it a little longer.
So what have I been up to that's so important that I haven't been in the kitchen, dreaming up new ways to use butter, sugar, and chocolate? My dissertation proposal! which is due this week. As in Friday. as in *yikes*! So in my free waking moments, when I'm not teaching or preparing to teach or doing other departmental obligations, I have my head stuck in piles of books and printed pdfs and pages after pages of my own handwritten scrawl to try to make sense of the universe (okay, or a weeeeeee small tiny portion of it) and distill my understanding of it (or lack thereof, to be completely honest) into a single Word document for my committee's appraisal. In all fairness, part of me has really been enjoying this time for intellectual focus, how I can just think and concentrate on solving one problem twenty-four hours a day (yes, I'll even wake myself up in the middle of the night, my brain buzzing from the ideas). But, I don't think I'm the type of person who can keep up this pace forever and ever.
It also hasn't been the case that I've been completely out of the kitchen these past few weeks. We've had a slew of visitors in the department last week and a big dinner at one of our professors' houses one night for them. I couldn't let go of the tradition of bringing dessert for that event (it's an annual thing--this is what I made last year), so I managed to jump in the kitchen quickly and whip something up. That's when I learned that it is possible to make a big batch of mini cupcakes in less than an hour and a half! I love having recipes in my back pocket that I can just pull out and tweak and combine at will for things just like this, and what I ended up doing were these dark chocolate cupcakes with lemon mascarpone frosting--adding about one and a half tablespoons of instant coffee in the cupcake batter--and then I drizzled them on top with salted butter caramel (use this recipe for caramel brandy hard sauce, but omit the brandy and add 1/2 tspn of coarse salt to the butter).
Anyways, trust me when I say that I'm looking forward to jumping back in the kitchen and getting back behind the camera after I send off my first draft of this dissertation proposal. I've been keeping a stack of post-it notes on which I've scribbled all of the food ideas and projects that I want to do, and I can't wait to start tackling them. In the meantime, thank you so much for sticking around and, for those of you on Twitter, your friendly and positive chatter there that keeps me going.