Tuesday, August 16, 2011

On...and off...the Road Again

The Setting: A hovel of a whole 'nother sort.

The Soundtrack: My daughter's adorable snoring.

Steaming up the Oven: Peach Cobbuckle.

The Scenario: With South Florida in somebody else's taillights, I'm setting up house in the land of corn.

Wow. It's been a while. To get you up to speed, let's play a little game called "In the last two months."

In the last two months I...

...gave birth to my incredible daughter, Oia.

...packed up our apartment.

...quit my job,


...moved across the country.

All of this, actually, went down over a span of about two weeks. The few weeks before and after were dedicated, as much as expectant- and new-motherly possible, to sleep.

It's been a bit of a tailspin, butcha gotta do whatcha gotta do.

I hated leaving my job.

But Hoosband's two-year commitment in Miami was up, and with a full-ride-plus-living-stipend offer on the table from a top school up north and nothing promising on the sunny, South Florida horizon, I'd never be able to work enough hours to justify staying.

And looking at my precious baby now, I wouldn't want to.

I thought I'd never go into labor.

A couple of weeks before my expected delivery date, my doctor said I looked so ready to pop I might not even leave the office that day before I gave birth.

Two visits later I was a day past my due date and praying the baby would come out before she got too big to deliver (I'm a pipsqueak 5'1" to Hoosband's burly 6'1", so yes, I was afraid).

To my delight, my doctor said we could induce that day if we desired.

We desired.

My contractions were hitting high peaks on the monitor from the first drop of Pitocin, but I felt nothing.

Hoosband thought I might be one of the lucky ones who feels little pain during labor. I knew better.

As soon as the doctor broke my water, my dreams of a drug-free childbirth were hanging out on a farm somewhere with my childhood pets who peaced-out long ago.

The following several hours were some of the most simultaneously horrifying and gratifying of my life.

The Stadol I took made me loopy--literally--and a bit paranoid. I remember feeling like I was riding a carousel of consciousness, physically going around in circles, always just about to get off before the loop swept me around again. Hoosband had his computer out at one point, and I could just make out its black, rectangular figure as the carousel neared the real world.

I guess I found it offensive.

"Bad computer," I managed to say, as I willed my finger to point accusingly in its direction. Hoosband, supportive coach that he was, shut it down and stowed it away, no questions asked...that I was aware of.

By the time I dismounted from the Stadol carousel, the contractions were still taking me for a ride. It was time for an epidural.

Right as the anesthesiologist was being summoned to my room, an emergency C-section called her away, and my peace was put on hold.

An hour later, however, I was sinking slowly into slumberland, and happy to be there.

Unfortunately, the epidural slowed my contractions too much, and the Pitocin drip which had been off for several hours had to be re-initiated.

I worried an emergency C-section could be in my future as well.

When the nurse came in to tell me we would start pushing soon, I was beyond elated...and incredibly intimidated by the visions of silver-screen labors dancing through my head.

It was 3 a.m.

At 3:16 I held my daughter for the first time.

Watching her drift in and out of dreams (of eating, I am positive) as I type, I can't wait to hold her (and make her dreams come true) as soon as I hit save.

As for my dreams, right now they are to make my new apartment feel like home. Since unpacking and setting up house can only occur between feedings, burpings, changings, and mommy's naps, we must turn to food.

And nothing says home like peach cobbler, right?

I admit I'm a bit of a cobbler snob. I jump at any chance to eat peach cobbler at a restaurant, potluck, or dinner party, but I'm often disappointed.

A can of peaches topped with a flavorless and textureless pie crust will not do it for me. Neither, I regret to say, will a rusticly appealing but generally dense and pasty biscuit topping dropped haphazardly over the top of the fruit filling.

After years of clamoring for cobbler and sighing with regret when I took spoon to mouth, I've discovered that the kind of cobbler I crave is in fact a buckle, or a cake-like topping that rises though the fruit to the top during cooking, creating a "buckled" appearance. It is incredibly easy to make, and even easier to inhale.

So buckle up 'cause you don't have to buckle down to make this Peach Cobbuckle...but you might have to unbuckle your pants when your done.

....I know...I'm a mondo nerd....

Peach Cobbuckle
I find that one fresh peach, thinly sliced with the skin on, brings the taste and allure of fresh to the ease of pre-sliced frozen, but you can definitely go all-fresh or all-frozen if your prefer. Canned peaches tend to bear little if any resemblance in taste, texture, or visual appeal to actual peaches, so use only if you prefer canned peaches to the real thing.

1 lb frozen peaches, thawed at room temp for 30 min
1 fresh peach, thinly sliced, skin on
1 1/3 cups light brown sugar, divided
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp plus a pinch salt, divided
1 stick (1/2 cup unsalted butter)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk

1. In a large bowl toss together peaches, 2/3 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, and a pinch salt. Cover with plastic wrap and let the mixture marry at room temp for about an hour.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place butter in a 9"x13" baking dish and place in oven until melted.

3. In another bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt and remaining brown sugar. Add milk, stirring till just mixed.

4. Pour flour mixture over melted butter but do not combine. Give peach mixture a final stir and pour right over flour mixture. Pop into the oven and bake at 350 for 40 minutes or till light golden and bubbly. Serve with your favorite vanilla ice cream.