Let’s talk about Bucket Lists. Everyone’s got ’em, big or small, some things attainable, some completely unrealistic. I’m a firm believer in having a bucket list, if only to have something to dream about. What’s on your list?
My list? Well, it’s pretty steep. I’m fast approaching my 26th birthday (oh god, late twenties? WHAT) and there are still a lot of things that I haven’t gotten around to doing yet. I am lucky that I’ve been to Hawaii and Mexico, but aside from that there’s still so much I need to do.
– Swim with a manatee (yep, you read that right)
– Eat a baguette on the Eiffel Tower
– Hike Machu Picchu
– Have brunch in Santorini
– Do a winery tour of the Naramata Bench
– Visit the Salt Flats in Chile
– Backpack Europe
Climb some Mayan ruins check
– Learn how to knit
– Ride a hot air balloon
– Mush a dog sled
– Buy a couch that’s not from IKEA
– See the Northern Lights
Own a place check
– Go on a safari
Own a Frenchie check (miss you, Lola)
– Create a cookbook
– Road trip across the deep south
– Have an entire wall of books
– Declutter. Everything.
– Picnic in Provence
– Rewatch The Wire
– Rent a houseboat in Amsterdam
– Buy a large world map and pin all the places I’ve been
– Restart running (again)
– Read 100 books in a year
– Go to a drive-in theatre
Start a food blog check 🙂
Life gets in the way. Time passes. How do you find a balance between starting a career, saving for the future (the major one), and following your heart?
Sometimes I think I follow my head more than I should, and should give my heart a chance. I’ve always been very practical and ‘safe’. I started working at 16, paid rent at a young age, went to school, started a career, bought an apartment with Matt. All very practical, grown up things, which, yes, are impressive, but not very exciting.
So why can’t I throw caution to the wind and be spontaneous? That 6-week trip to Europe I’ve been thinking of doing in 2015, why can’t I fully commit to it?
I don’t know. Money, probably, and my inability to just let things go and be completely frivolous.
Remember when you were little and you grabbed a globe, closed your eyes, spun it around and landed your finger where you were going to go? How fun would that be to actually do that in real life. No questions asked, no doubts, no worries.
I compare my way of thinking to that of a recipe. Calculated, step-by-step, practical, follow-the-rules-to-get-what-you-want. Maybe I should scrap that entire bucket list and replace it all with just one thing: Stop over-thinking and just go for it.
When life gives you lemons, as the cliche says, rant about it and complain about your ever-expanding Bucket List. Kidding, kidding. When life gives you lemons, make a lemon cornmeal cake. Even better, use tart and sweet Meyer lemons to make a Meyer lemon cornmeal cake.
It might not make sense to post such a spring-like cake in the middle of January, but believe it or not Meyer lemons are actually in season right now, and I think we could all use a little pick-me-up to get us through these dark and gloomy winter months. (Seriously, it’s dark when I go to work, and dark when I get home. I feel like a vampire.)
Upside-down cakes are wonderful ways to use up any leftover fruit. If you’re not sure what an upside down cake is, well, it’s basically a cake that you bake upside-down. Crazy, eh? If you layer the fruit on the bottom of the cake pan, then top with the batter, the fruit soaks up all the juices as it bakes. Then when you flip it around, you have a delicious and beautiful cake.
This cake uses Meyer lemons, which are smaller and sweeter than the average lemon. This recipe lets the lemons bake in a bed of butter and brown sugar, which almost caramelizes them and is really quite delicious, especially when atop a grany, dense, moist cornmeal cake.
I left the rinds on the lemon slices, since it’s actually acceptable to eat lemon rinds (who knew?!). If you prefer, you can cut the rinds off, but I think they really do add to the texture and flavour (and look!) of the cake. If you do keep the rinds on, be sure to slice very thin slices, as biting into a thick rind isn’t always appealing.
|Upside-Down Meyer Lemon Cornmeal Cake|| |
- ¾ cup butter, softened
- ⅔ cup packed brown sugar
- 3-4 Meyer lemons
- Zest of 2 large Meyer lemons
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup cornmeal
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup milk (I used skim)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spray the inside of a 9-inch springform pan with oil and line the bottom with parchment paper. Spray the inside of the paper; set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring brown sugar and ¼ cup of the butter to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour mixture into prepared pan and spread evenly.
- Thinly slice Meyer lemons*, removing any seeds and discarding the ends. Layer lemon slices in pan, starting with one in the centre and working outwards. Slices should overlap by about half.
- In a small bowl, mix together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- In another small bowl, combine milk and vanilla; set aside.
- Add ⅓ of flour mixture to butter mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add half the milk, mixing until well combined. Continue alternating adding the flour and milk all mixed. Pour batter into pan and spread evenly.
- Bake until cake has browned and springs back to the touch, 50-55 minutes. Let cool in pan for about 2 hours before running a knife around the edges of the pan and releasing the cake.
- Flip, cut with a serrated knife, and serve.
Recipe adapted from myrecipes.com