Cooking for Love

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I have been up since the wee hours, cooking JJ comfort food in preparation for a couple lousy days on the sofa, post surgery.

Soup is my elixir for healing and comfort – something we all need quite a lot of on a regular basis, right?

Earlier in the week, I distilled potent broth by simmering a couple fresh chickens with lots of vegetables and herbs. This morning, with the broth all set to go, I prepared his favorite chicken soup. I refrigerated it while we were at the hospital, allowing it’s flavors to meld into something wonderful.

I also made up a batch of Ziti, see smittenkitchen.com.

It was as if I was preparing for a blizzard or the great flood. Surgery on a spouse requires preparedness and stamina. When under duress, I find peace in the measuring, mixing, chopping and sautéing of family favorites.  The aroma wafting from the kitchen makes us feel safe and comforted.

When we returned from the hospital,  JJ consumed five pieces of toast with jam and butter. Then he was ready for a bowl of soup. The surgeon definitely switched his appetite to the ON position.

Meanwhile, after facing down the battle of the day, I ate an unseemly amount of Ziti.

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A a new day dawned and I made his favorite pound cake – delicate and dreamy, slathered with a citrus glaze. This is special, relished on a day when we were on the healing side of a tough procedure, when we have much to be thankful for.

We are out of the woods!

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Buttermilk Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of fine salt
INSTRUCTIONS

MAKE THE CAKE Preheat the oven to 
325°. Generously butter a 10-inch Bundt pan and dust with flour. In a medium bowl, whisk the 3 1/2 cups of flour with the salt 
and baking soda.
MAKE THE CAKE In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the 1 1/2 sticks of butter with the shortening at medium-high speed until smooth. Add the granulated sugar and 
beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. At medium speed, beat in the eggs 1 at a time until just incorporated, then beat in the vanilla; scrape down the side of the bowl. Beat in the dry ingredients and buttermilk in 3 alternating batches, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. At low speed, beat in the lemon juice.
MAKE THE CAKE Scrape the batter into the prepared 
Bundt pan and use a spatula to smooth 
the surface. Bake in the middle of the oven 
for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until 
a toothpick inserted in the center of the 
cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool on 
a rack for 30 minutes, then turn it out on 
a platter or cake stand to cool completely.
MAKE THE GLAZE In a medium bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar with 
the lemon zest, lemon juice, butter and 
salt until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over
the top of the cake, letting it drip down 
the sides. Let stand for 20 minutes 
until the glaze is set. Cut the cake into wedges and serve.

This bundt cake is crazy beautiful and statuesque.

I found the recipe in the July 2014 issue of Food and Wine, and it has become a celebratory treat for us, after surviving particularly challenging health issues.

I doubled the recipe for the glaze, so if you too like lots of it, multiply the glaze ingredients times two.If you are not a fan of citrus, leave it out and replace with milk.

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