Tonight, because I happened to have taken forethought over the weekend, and it happened, therefore, that there were vegetables in our refrigerator, we had roasted asparagus with slivered garlic, olive oil, and salt, and linguine with zested Meyer lemon, pecorino, and sliced cherry tomatoes. Oh, was it ever good. It tasted fresh and lively and not tired.
The procurement of the Meyer lemons, whence the zest came, happened awhile ago. Weeks, I'm quite certain. I kept them refrigerated and miraculously they were still good. The zest on our linguine got me thinking about Meyer lemons, and that thought got me thinking about things you can make with Meyer lemons, things like lemon curd, or lemon bars, or Meyer lemon cake.
I'm not sure if the Meyer lemon cake of 2006 was the last Meyer lemon cake I made, but it might have been the last time I made that Meyer lemon cake. That recipe was delicious but also super involved. It made me tired to think about it. I knew where it was--in what cookbook, it was a Chez Panisse cookbook--and it made me tired to think about standing up and going to the cupboard to retrieve the book. It made me tired to think about looking up the page number and actually reading the recipe.
Let me pause to say this: it has been quite some time since I baked a cake. Or cookies, for that matter. It has probably been since Christmas. It would be one thing if I had taken a stand, or had issued a manifesto: "I shall bake no more forever!" Or if I had taken vows against flour and sugar and whatnot. None of which I have done. I am just busy and ergo tired. Things have arrived at the point wherein I can barely remember what it's like to feel moved by, you know, ingredients to make something delicious for dinner.
[further note: tonight I had this chat with my son, the one who lives in Tempe:
Well, anyway, it feels like something is out of balance because of this non-baking phenomenon. Like the universe or something.]
Not tonight, though. No. Despite the specter of an overly precious recipe for Meyer lemon cake casting a brief but temporary pall over the entire affair, I roused myself from my torpor--literally, I was laying on the bed when I roused myself from said torpor--and sought a new and unprecious recipe, on the internet.
The recipe did require grating the peel off of a load of lemons, some of which I might not technically have "had," so technically, there was "less" zest than the recipe "called for." But you know, that's not a deal breaker, when we're talking about Meyer lemons, because their zest is so much more beautiful and floral and special and, you know, lemony, that you probably can get away with less of it. As, in fact, I did.
Fast forward to two beautiful loaves of lemon cake tumbling practically tear-free from their pans, getting a light soaking of lemon syrup (made with Meyer lemon juice, obvs), cooling on a rack while we took Bruiser for a walk.
"I can't wait to get home so I can eat cake," I said. And just like that, order was restored.