Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Jan '10

New Year’s Gripes

I know it’s January and everyone’s making New Year’s Resolutions. But frankly I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. I look at my life and see a lot of fantastic things I’m really happy with. But I also see what’s lacking. Instead of determining to change these things I’m just going to gripe about them for a minute.

1. I wish toys and clutter and dishes didn’t multiply faster than rabbits in my house. I feel so awesome when my house is clean, but it lasts about five seconds and then it’s gone. Cleaning and re-cleaning gets exhausting day after day.

2. I feel jealous sometimes of other wives and moms who effortlessly make meals every night for their families that involve actual cooking rather than warming and that feature vegetables that get eaten. I do prepare every meal for everyone in my house every day, but I am no cook. And vegetables are not a frequent visitor at our table. If my family dies early of poor nutrition it will be all my fault.

3. Teaching aerobics and Zumba is one of my great joys and accomplishments in life, but the fact is that it requires hours and hours in prep time, travel time, and teaching time that adds up to 10+ hours outside the home every week in addition to hours spent at home working on aerobics-related stuff that takes the place of more domestic-type things. Which likely partially accounts for my frustrations with #1 and #2.

4. My car is never clean and I wish it were. It accumulates tissues (from me) and pretzels (from Wes) and other random things that I don’t have enough time/hands/patience to deal with when I’m removing Wes and/or groceries and/or other things from the car.

5. My garage door is broken and I really wish it would close on its own without me having to get out of my car and go back in to manually shut it every time. I also wish new garage door motors weren’t $300. But inconvenience is cheaper than a new motor.

6. I wish I ate perfectly all the time. And that it was easy and natural like it seems to be for some people. Like, “Of course I eat broiled salmon and raw spinach for lunch and fruit for dessert and never crave the taste of sugar. Doesn’t everyone?”

7. I wish I felt like reading the scriptures for longer than 10 minutes a day. But I am happy I open them every day, period, regardless of how long I read. It brings every uncertain thing into quick perspective.

8. Sometimes I think I should be more interested in reading the type of “deep” books I read in college as an English major. But honestly, I like a quick, pleasurable read that makes me laugh and feel fuzzy inside and that’s pure entertainment.

9. I wish the news didn’t make me sad. I would watch/read it more if it didn’t.

10. I hope in spite of all these things I’m still a decent person that leaves a positive impact on some of the people I meet. I think happiness doesn’t require perfection–thankfully.

Jan '10

You can thank me later

Today I made something fantastic: Molten Chocolate Cake. But I can’t take credit for it; it was just good ingredients and a good recipe. And it was SO EASY!

John and I both have this thing for Scharffen Berger chocolate. We had never heard of it until we were in San Francisco several years ago and took a tour of their factory. It. Was. Amazing. My favorite memory is the chocolate tasting where they gave us bits of different percentages of dark chocolate and helped us recognize features like “fruity undertones” or “smoky finish.” I felt like a true chocolate connoisseur.

For a long time I couldn’t find Scharffen Berger chocolate in Utah but now it’s sold at Albertson’s (or “Fresh Market,” as some of stores have been bought out). I get a 6 oz. bar of 70% Bittersweet Fine Artisan Dark Chocolate in the baking aisle.

The recipe for molten cake is on a recipe card inside the package. Here’s exactly how I made it.

Scharffen Berger Molten Cake

6 oz. Scharffen Berger 70% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate, coarsely chopped
8 Tbsp (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1/4 cup white sugar
pinch of salt
1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and move rack to lowest part of the oven.

Put the chocolate pieces and butter chunks in a microwaveable bowl and microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Don’t overheat; the chocolate will melt more as you stir it.

In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment combine the eggs, yolks, sugar, and salt and beat on high speed for 4-5 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and pale. When the whisk is lifted and the batter is run back and forth over itself, it will hold a slowly dissolving ribbon.

With the mixer on low speed, sprinkle the flour over the batter and mix until combined.

Fold the egg mixture one-third at a time into the chocolate mixture.

Generously spray four cavities in a jumbo muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. (The recipe calls for 5-6 oz. ramekins, but I don’t have ramekins. A jumbo muffin pan does the same thing. Or, you can use the regular size muffin pan; you’ll get more than four cakes and you won’t need to cook them as long.) Fill muffin cavities with batter within 1/4 inch of the top.

Bake 8-10 minutes until the sides of the cake are firm. Centers will be soft to the touch but set.

Let stand for 1 minute, then unmold each cake onto a serving plate. Serve immediately topped with a custard sauce or ice cream.

I’m not kidding–this stuff is so good. Perfect chocolate flavor, not too sweet. Try it!