Some days it’s so lovely to have nothing planned on one’s agenda. Nothing to do but curl up on the sofa with a good book or movie. Then there are days when I must have something purposeful to do. I guess it’s that desire to create something. It doesn’t matter what it is: a meal, a design or pictures. Sometimes I have the need to feel busy and purposeful. I drove to work pondering the question of what is my purpose. I know what I enjoy doing and when I do those things I feel satisfied and happy. Fulfilled.
A life coach one of my friends encountered began the introduction of her coaching program with these three questions.
1. What are you good at?
2. What do people say that you do really well?
3. If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?
If I had to boil my intentions, wants and goals for my life down to one sentence it would be something like this: I want to make pretty things and help people find happiness/be happy. It’s not an eloquent statement, but there it is.
On one particular day when I had to need to be busy and create something, I went to the kitchen and baked this amazingly delicious Chocolate and Almond Torte. I wish I was the genius who came up with the recipe, but alas, no. I found it on epicurious.com; it was featured in Bon Appetit magazine (May 2002). What made this torte absolutely lovely was the method. Without first reading the recipe I thought the process would involve melting the chocolate and butter in a double boiler and incorporating it into the beaten eggs and sugar mixture. Same old, same old. Ha! Not so. Rather…
One takes the blanched slivered almonds with some sugar and grind it in a blender (since I don’t own a food processor). Empty that into a bowl. Then one takes the chopped chocolate with some sugar and grind that in the blender. Empty it into bowl with ground almond sugar mixture. One then beats the egg yokes with remaining sugar for about five minutes until the mixture falls in a heavy ribbon. (It’s beautiful.) Then combine the almond extract, lemon peel and almond-chocolate-sugar mixture. In separate bowl one beats the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Finally, one folds the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
The result is a lovely torte that on the outside looks almost like a brownie. But when you cut into it, you discover that the top is so delicate (thanks to the egg whites) it breaks; the inside is warm, dense and airy at the same time. Like a custard but firmer, although not as firm as a cake. The texture is lovely. You can taste and feel the bits of chocolate and almonds. Superb!