I say this at the beginning of every year, but this time, I really, really mean it: LAST YEAR WAS THE MOST EXCELLENT YEAR OF MY LIFE.
Really. It was.
2011 brought me to the fearless art of red lipstick. It took me camping. 2011 popped my Battlestar Galatcia cherry. 2011 employed me as innkeeper of a quaint Seattle bed & breakfast, the most bitchin' awesome job ever. It re-arranged my furniture. It took me on some great dates before finally setting me up with a man whom I do not wish to brutally dismember. 2011 and I totally baked this log-shaped cake:
|Yes. Yes, those are gumdrop/marshmellow toadstools.|
And yes, my pretties, 2011 brought me the publication of Vessel. I cannot tell you how it felt to see all that dreaming and work come to fruition--and what an unexpected excess of fruit! But I can tell you that seeing your book in print pales in comparison to reading the first review by some stranger who doesn't realize that they have the power to crush your trembling spirit indefinitely. You see that--gasp!--a review has appeared! You recoil in horror, you check to make sure that it's your book's GoodReads page, not some other book, and then you stop breathing and scroll down and zip up your alligator skin and tell yourself that Mom and Dad will always love you no matter what and . . . she loved it? She loved it. Holy crap. Oh, wow. Oh God, Moses, Mary, and Nicki Minaj. Laugh. Cry. Skip all the way home. Repeat.
That was January 18th, when I apparently deemed the feeling superior to "riding a white stallion bareback through the ocean surf with Cillian Murphy". It never stopped. That feeling has not gone away.
And so this is my advice for you in 2012. That thing you've always wanted to do? That thing you can't put down, or forget, or not yearn to do? Do it. For the love of all beings, do it. Maybe everyone will tell you it's a so-so idea. Maybe it wasn't your major in college. Maybe you never went to college and you want to build a kinetic sculpture, or a molecular telescope. Maybe you're in college and you secretly want to be a stripper. Do it, do it, do it, do it. Everything in your way is just imagined. You want it, you can do it, and once you've done it there's no way it can be taken from you. And you'll wake up every morning feeling like some almighty golden-scaled she-beast sex eagle ready to melt the world with your world-melting powers of rock. But instead of melting the world, you'll sit down, quietly, and work on what you love. Do it.
But wait until tonight to do it, because you're going to need about three hours to make this chocolate yule log cake. Here's the recipe:
Buche de Noel (which is apparently French for "christmas cake shaped like a log") from allrecipes.com. It's flourless!
2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. powdered confectioner's sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
6 egg yolks
1/2 c. white sugar
1/3 c. more cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. salt
6 egg whites
1/4 c. more white sugar
Gumdrops, mini marshmellows, toothpicks, and a little tube of white icing if you want to make the toadstools.
(And unless you are the Flash, you will also need an electric beater.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a 10x15 inch jellyroll pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whip cream, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until thick and stiff. Refrigerate.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar until thick and pale. Blend in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, and salt. In large glass bowl, using clean beaters, whip egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, and beat until whites form stiff peaks. Immediately fold the yolk mixture into the whites. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched. Dust a clean dishtowel with confectioners' sugar. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and turn the warm cake out onto the towel. Remove and discard parchment paper. Starting at the short edge of the cake, roll the cake up with the towel. Cool for 30 minutes.
Unroll the cake, and spread the filling to within 1 inch of the edge. Roll the cake up with the filling inside. Place seam side down onto a serving plate, and refrigerate until serving. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.
Happy baking, happy doing, and happy new year!