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Monday, September 17, 2012

peach polenta cake

Peach Polenta Cake

this week i picked up yoga again. i have races looming in the very near future, i have some strengthening to do, but more importantly, i have some stretching to do, because it seems once again i've stretched myself thin. what i find most useful in yoga, other than the lengthening of my limbs and the cobra stance that does wonders for my back, is the breathing. seriously. the very act of consciously breathing is magical to me.

did you know that we don't use up all the oxygen we take in and we hold onto the air longer than is necessary?

for some reason, the advent of autumn every year sets me on edge. my entire body reacts: i break out. i get sinus headaches. i am neither cold or warm, but rather, uncomfortable in both. i sleep in fits. in defense of all this, i usually take up yoga again, to help me remember to take it easy, to be kind, and to breathe.

this cake is like yoga in that the number of steps it requires forces you to take stock of your surroundings, of your available ingredients, of your time. i baked it with fresh peaches, not yet ripe, but tart-sweet. the kitchen was a mess from the previous evening's dinner preparation, but i found a corner on the counter for the mixer. i did each step carefully, painstakingly, breathing in the fresh polenta as it simmered gently on the stove, breathing in the heady perfume of the peaches as i sliced them thinly, and finally, breathing in the cake fresh out of the oven.

Peach Polenta Cake 2

this is my contribution for this week's The Food Matters Project, hosted by Jen of Prairiesummers. the original recipe calls for the use of dried apricots, i chose instead to use fresh fruit, not juicy ripe to keep the integrity of the batter. this is not gluten free, but i don't see why fine almond flour couldn't be used in lieu of the AP flour. i opted to stay close to the recipe because this cake was shared with fellow coworkers who do not follow the GF diet.

26 comments:

  1. Love the idea of peaches with polenta! Beautiful cake.

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  2. Isn't wonderful that preparing food is often a metaphor for how to approach life? Yes, yoga is wonderful (especially if you're short), and this polenta cake is beautiful, and refreshing, and probably very therapeutic. :)

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    1. Very well said, Valerie! And Lan, I almost used fresh peaches in mine too and it looks like it came out beautifully. I love getting lost in a cooking project when I need to relax.

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    2. Valerie, yes, extremely therapeautic!

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    3. meg, cooking and baking really are the best ways to combat stress and relax!

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  3. This looks lovely and I can almost smell this coming through my computer screen. I love how you equate yoga with a dish here -- I often cook something that requires repeated steps when I need something meditative or soothing to do (although I should get my butt over to a yoga class some of those times!)

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    1. erin, it's amazing how something that nourishes our body also is a soothing balm for a troubled spirit/mood.

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  4. I've also been feeling the need to do some yoga since Fall snuck up on us here. I have been practicing a lot of conscious breathing lately and it is definitely a powerful technique to bring our awareness back to the body. Your cake looks beautiful by the way!

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    1. it's great how autumn is making us slow down a bit, transition our minds and bodies in preparation for the cooling weather...

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  5. My word! That cake is gorgeous. I can only imagine the smells coming out of your oven as it baked - there's something special about fruit in baking. Magic...

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  6. Beautiful post, Lan. I also love yoga and was getting out of my typical routines due to business travel. The last week was a wonderful week for me to get back into regular yoga classes and I feel the difference. I just signed up for an October Challenge--30 classes in 30 days! Very excited and curious to see how I will feel at the end of it.

    Your cake looks wonderful and I loved how you put into words so well what cooking is to so many of us. A chance to stop, breathe, and take stock of our surroundings

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    1. aura, that is so interesting! i just don't think i have it in me to go everyday! and i know it's not a competitive sport but sometimes i see the more advanced yoga participants doing a beginner's class and i want to ruin their day by pushing them over. i obviously need to work on my breathing.

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  7. I was reminded today (during my yoga class that started up again after the summer break) about living in the moment. Here in your post, I'm imagining you living in the moment in your kitchen, creating with peaches! I think that's one of the reasons I love to cook so much. I can block out the rest of the world and simply focus on one thing--the food I'm preparing for people I love.

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    1. simply focus on one thing--the food I'm preparing for people I love. perfectly said!

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  8. I hope the yoga helps! It's crazy how such a small activity can do wonders for all of us! This cake looks delicious, love the addition of peaches and wish we had some in our kitchen so I could have added to it!

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    1. thank you so much. i gripe about the amount of time it takes to make it thru a class but i never leave a class regretting going...

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  9. this is such a lovely cake! just gorgeous!

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  10. Your writing is so great Lan, suddenly i am tempted by yoga, which has never happened to me before. and this cake? definitely happening!

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    1. thank you for your kind words, as always! definitely give yoga a try, it's kinda hippy, it's kinda free-spirited but there's something to be said about a peaceful demeanor!

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