The only thing blue about this coming Valentine's is that Husband and I won't be together. And this Valentine's will be our 10 year wedding anniversary, which is why we got these. I think it's a very big deal, don't you? Ten years? Especially how he still blows my hair back. Not that it should surprise me, I guess, but I couldn't have planned to be this happy for so long with someone. I told him that last week, that is was . . . electric to love him so much still, even more than when we first fell for each other. I said, "Because there aren't any guarantees, really, are there, that your partner will still float your boat this much after ten years?" Judging by the look on his face, maybe I shouldn't have said that out loud. I laughed a little, "I mean, right?" He laughed and said, "Jesus, no guarantees?" I said, "I'm saying the good news is that I am head over heels for you." He said, "Good thing it turned out that way." I said, back pedaling now, but not able to contain the laughing, "I'm not saying we wouldn't be married if it wasn't this great. . ." Ah man, maybe I should've just shut the hell up. "All I'm saying is that you are perfect for me. I didn't know perfect really existed." You can't know that, really, until 10 years in; 20, 50 years in.
We went on a day-date Saturday together as a mini celebration. We went to the Newsroom Cafe for lunch. The restaurant is on Robertson Blvd which is a ridiculous stereotype of L.A. living. I'm sure this is what the rest of the world thinks of us. I thought the scene would be amusing, but it was flashy-tired and big-yawn lame. The food was good though. I had a vegan spinach quesadilla. After lunch we went to the Design Center to see an exhibit on Emory Douglas, the Minister of Cultural Affairs for the Black Panther Party, which means he illustrated all of the artwork representing the movement. It was very powerful to see a revolution channeled through pen and lithograph. I learned a lot, and say what you will about taking violent measures to draw a line, but civil change and awareness was most certainly expedited because of them. There were also tons of evidence of programs that the party set up in poor neighborhoods to feed and clothe communities. I was mostly inspired by how much women were acknowledged as an equal force to promote change. It was the 60's & 70's; that was revolutionary unto itself.
My heart pangs about not being with Husband on our anniversary, but there's a good reason. I fly to New York on Valentine's, alone, to attend a vegan baking program offered at the Natural Gourmet Institute. It's an intensive workshop, all day, every day for five straight days conducted by Fran Costigan. She's the diva of dairy-free desserts, everybody! I'll be learning everything from gelled desserts and sauces and glazes to elaborate cakes. Check out Day Five's itinerary:
The Layer Cakes: Versatile Vanilla Cake; Coconut Cloud Layer Cake; Chocolate Layer Cake To Live For; Carob German Not Chocolate Cake; 24-Karrrot Cake. The Big Cakes: Orange Cranberry Bundt Cake; Cinnamon Streusel UnCoffee Cake. The Frostings, Fillings and Creams: Ultimate Chocolate Frosting; Chocolate Ganache; Coconut Pecan Filling; It's Like Lemon Curd; Custard Filling; Berry Cream; and West Indies Coconut Cream.
Doesn't West Indies Coconut Cream Cake sound worth the price of admission? And dude, Cinnamon Streusel . . .?
I'm excited in way that makes me light headed. I'm nervous in a way that questions why this is important. But I can hardly hear the nervousness. It's next level stuff. It's professional stuff. I'm trying not to think so much about it. I'm just Doing, for a change.
I'm rooming with my friend and spectacular baker Emilie who is attending the workshop too. She has been a huge inspiration to me because her baking is so intelligent and thoughtful and loving and interesting, all in an effortless way. I first noticed her stuff because it glowed. It beamed out and touched me. I knew that was the level I wanted for myself: Mindful baking. We can all eventually learn the techniques, but I too want to bake in a way that is an expression of my very specific and layered personality. I want my stuff to drip with energy too. I can't wait to spend time with her.
Wish me luck, my friends. And Happy Valentine's Day.
The look of the cupcakes above was inspired by lovely British baker Peggy Porschen. Half of the cupcakes were vegan jelly-filled almond cardamom, an experiment. The others were rich vegan chocolate. Both are topped with fondant icing and royal icing with edible shimmer. They were a blast to make. I surprised myself how they came out though I'm still not fond of the taste of fondant. For the record, these took longer to make than any cupcake I've made before. Wow, does pretty take forever. More blue portraits