Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fixing Today

Honestly, I should have known. I should have foreseen just how today was going to go, how many instances of bad luck and general craptasticness (yes, craptasticness) could occur in a 6 hour window. When the first bit of dread hit this morning after I realized I had been driving my mom's car for 10 minutes with the emergency brake on, I could have cut bait, gone home and gone back to bed. But I didn't. Ohh, no. That would have been too easy.

Instead I went about my morning, innocently forgetting about that early blip. It could happen to anyone, I told myself, it's no big deal, and the car's fine. No one has to know. But as I was consoling myself over that, I was also merging onto the highway. My poor judgement and depth-perception on that on ramp meant I began merging into a lane where there was an SUV humming along in my blind spot. I realized as I was moving over and so avoided any contact, but my nerves were rattled and my heart was racing - not helped by the fact that the other driver seemed to lean on his horn with enough force to push his steering wheel through the windshield. As if things couldn't get any better along that stretch of road, the same driver pulled up alongside me while his passenger whipped out her cell phone and began taking pictures of me and my license plate! I spent the rest of the drive, and the majority of the day, in an anxious fog peppered with panic attacks, my mind racing as to what they would do with those pictures. Would they call the cops? Could they charge me? What would my fine be? And how the Hell would I explain it to my mom if I got called into traffic court?

My sister told me to calm down. So did my confidants on Facebook and Twitter. But I couldn't. I hate the overbearing feeling of the unknown, especially where the law (and potentially money) is concerned. Once I got home my bad mood continued thanks to a myriad of complications on a reservation site I was using to book a night in Niagara on the Lake. I was fed up with the day. I needed something... anything... concrete that would prove to me that I wasn't a complete failure at life today, and that the bad moments were, in fact, moments. I needed to do what I knew how to do. I needed to bake.

I started off by prepping a simple sweet dough tart shell and baking off a thin sponge cake in anticipation of assembling a fruit flan for one of my mom's co-workers later this week. With both applications done without major complications, and my self-confidence gaining a little stronger footing, I turned to another "pet project" I had wanted to try... chocolate avocado cake. I was able to pick up three super, almost to the point of too-overripe avocados at the Asian grocery store today as part of a "quick sell" bag, and having had Joy the Baker's recipe saved for ages I finally had an excuse to try it out.

Looking at the recipe anew, though, I realized that it made more cake than I would easily be able to part with... and since I had no intention of making the frosting (which I'm sure is delicious, but I suck at frosting manufacturing and I wasn't about to push my luck that far today) I knew some bastardization modification was in order. I cut the original measurement of flour to two-thirds of what it started with, halved the sugar and used a banana that was beginning to lure an alarming amount of fruit flies in place of the 1/4 cup of oil. As I dug into the depths of my cupboard for my cocoa powder, I also came across my stash of wheat germ, so in went some of that too, as well as some toffee pieces that were languishing with the vanilla (I don't attempt to rationalize my pantry organization). To bump up the flavour of the chocolate I tossed in the dregs of that morning's vanilla-hazelnut coffee too. I poured the batter into a loaf pan, wondering for a moment if maybe it was just a bit too full, but barged ahead anyway and popped it into the oven, setting the timer for roughly what I baked my banana breads for.

Lo and behold, the mischief making gods were at it again - as I was cleaning up (this will sound familiar...) and typing the re-worked recipe into the nutritional calculator, I came across my note for 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (Joy's calls for white, but I dont actually have any). Vinegar. Um, why don't I see that on the counter? Right... because I never took it out. So I never put it in. Damn. Well, it was too late, so there was nothing left to do but cross my fingers, wait the hour and hope for the best.

In the end, chocolate was the one thing today that didn't let me down. Even with all the snags and snarls the rest of the day, there was comfort wrapped up in a blanket of dark cocoa, velvety fruit and golden, melting toffee. Did it look like the cover of a Gourmet magazine? Was it going to be the next Food Network star? Well, probably not. But you know what it was? The best cheap substitute for Valium ever.

Choco-Cado Cake with Toffee
Makes 1 loaf, 12 slices
1 cup flour
1 cup barley flour
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 small, over-ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup soft avocado, well mashed, about 1 medium avocado
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup water
1/3 cup strong brewed coffee
1/2 cup toffee bits, divided

  1. Preheat oven to 350F, grease a loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, wheat germ, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl beat together sugar, banana and avocado. Add vanilla and beat well.
  4. Add half the dry mixture, followed by the water and coffee, then stir in the remaining dry ingredients and 1/3 cup of the toffee bits, blending gently but thoroughly.
  5. Scrape into the prepared pan and top with remaining toffee pieces.
  6. Bake for 55 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 231.9
Total Fat: 5.9 g
Cholesterol: 6.7 mg
Sodium: 43.2 mg
Total Carbs: 42.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.1 g
Protein: 3.5 g

2 comments :

Chow and Chatter said...

don't worry I got pulled over by a cop with my mum in law and lil one in the car we had let our registration lapse!! I just went to the DA's office and it should be dismissed you will be fine lol Rebecca

David T. Macknet said...

OK, see: Avocado should be eaten 1) at room temperature, or 2) chilled. Next up, it should be eaten as 1) guacamole, or 2) plain avocado.

There are no other uses for avocado.

Period.

This is evil.