Now Playing – “The Show Goes On” – Lupe Fiasco / “Black & Yellow” – Wiz Khalifa
There are many things I loved about my college experience. Food was never one of them. I had great friends, went to awesome parties, took some life-changing classes, but I never really had a great meal in our dining hall. But let me just say, it never really bothered me. After about a year, I became content with the fact that I would probably be spending quite a bundle on fast-food and off-campus eateries for the next three years. And as our late night taco-bell trips proved, my poor stomach and wallet eventually accepted this as well.
I’ll admit that this past summer, it did take some adjusting, seeing as after graduation and leaving Wooster, the chances of my spending money on late-night snack and junk food would dwindle, now that I was back home in Chicago, eating home-cooked meals. After just a few days of being home, the sight of a Taco Bell made me queasy, as I remembered how often I frequented and devoured their food, eating as if that cheesy gordita crunch would be my last. With the exception of a 2 a.m. trip, much to my friend’s displeasure (I was drunk & desperately needed a quesadilla with mild sauce), I haven’t been to Taco Bell since being back in Wooster. So, in planning for my most recent trip to visit Wooster last weekend, I had spent the previous days preparing my body for one long weekend of not only heavy drinking, but what I figured would be, heavy eating as well.
My first test came Friday night when we went to Lowry, our main dining hall for dinner. I think I was too excited to see people I hadn’t seen in months, that it took me about twenty minutes and five trips back and forth to actually figure out what I wanted to eat. I finally settled on a sandwich with pepperoni, lettuce, onions, banana peppers & pepperjack cheese that wasn’t too bad. I should’ve gotten it grilled, but I was in a hurry, I was hungry and in typical Allana fashion, I was the only one of my friends who hadn’t sat down to eat yet. My paranoid self was worried, especially because I didn’t want to spend the whole night drinking on an empty stomach, because all the smart kids know that’s a recipe for disaster, as I’ve learned many, many times. So, when we all headed to Leroy’s, a local bar, later that night, I knew what I needed to do.
The next night, Saturday, was my sorority’s initiation. In annual Zeta tradition, it’s the alumni’s job to buy and mix together 15 different bottles of liquor, a few cases of beer, some sprite, water and 10 bottles of fruit punch that eventually blends together swimmingly, into what I like to call, Zeta Punch.
Those two pictures epitomize perfectly what I ate and drank all weekend long. The time flew by – I really forgot what it’s like to sleep in till 12:30, stay in your pajamas till 2 p.m., and not really start your day till about 5. Oh college, I sure did miss you. I guess I didn’t miss Taco Bell as much as I thought – we never made it there once all weekend. My stomach is thanking me now.
As we drove back to Chicago on Sunday, I kept daydreaming of nutella, the luscious, chocolate-hazelnutty spread that I would eat by the spoonful when I studied abroad in Florence a few years ago. I returned home to the states four months later, a little worse for wear, a few pounds heavier, but nonetheless, with four jars of Italian Nutella stuffed in my suitcase. Lucky for me, I had one jar left and one great idea of what to do with it.
The ultimate indulgence – buttery, chewy, vanilla poundcake infused with swirls and chunks of Italian nutella. As a friend exclaimed after having a bite, “it makes me want to punch-and-dance!”. It’s that good, everybody.
Nutella-Swirl Poundcake (Courtesy of Lauren Chattman & Food & Wine Magazine)
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 13 oz jar nutella
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, tapping out any excess flour. In a glass measuring cup, lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 cups of flour with the baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer or stand mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer at medium-low speed, gradually beat in the egg mixture until fully incorporated. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, beating at low speed between additions until just incorporated. Continue to beat for 30 seconds longer.
Spread one-third of the batter in the prepared pan, then spread half of the Nutella on top. Repeat with another third of the batter and the remaining Nutella. Top with the remaining batter. Lightly swirl the Nutella into the batter with a butter knife. Do not overmix.
Bake the cake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack, turn it right side up and let cool completely, about 2 hours. Cut the cake into slices and serve.
A final shout out to my Zeta gals – I love you all, thanks for a bomb weekend! Becca Moreci, thank you for blasting these two songs all weekend. I now have them permanently stuck in my head.