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The normal routine of our household is that I do all the cooking during the week while the older goblins and  Big Goblin Daddy are at school and work.  But on the weekends, Mama gets a break and Daddy rules the kitchen with an iron….spoon.  We love his cooking for all of its spicy personality and concoctions that are so uniquely HIM, but, alas, he is an angry chef.

A kitchen confrontation

He begins calmly enough, searching through the pantry and fridge for his main ingredients.  But slowly, the kitchen begins to heat up, the sweat starts to bead on his brow, and his fury begins. We have learned to stay away at this point, to taste when asked, to give gentle criticism and enormous praise, and to never, ever be late to the dinner table or he will take it as an unforgivable insult.  Almost 17 years of marriage and I still wonder what makes him cook with such ferocity. Maybe the intensity builds because he is putting all of his love and generosity into his cooking – cooking for your family in a hot kitchen is one of the biggest acts of everyday love – and he gives so much that he has nothing left to give for the time being.  Or maybe it is the aggravation of trying to find where “those damn kids” put his strainer and having to search for the garlic when it should be just right there on the shelf.  All of us parents know the tremendous frustration that stems from an unorganized kitchen that was undone at the hands of the very children we are trying to feed.

He's not always angry...

Whatever the reason, we don’t really complain too much about it when the Angry Chef makes his appearance because we all know what the results will be – a sumptuous gourmet meal, delighted taste buds, and satiated stomachs (and probably an extra pound or two on the scale the next day which sucks but is totally worth it).

Yesterday was no exception to  this routine except that it included dessert.  Dessert so sweetly divine, that not one of us could resist.  Dessert so good, it made our son drop to his knees in a tantrum when he was denied thirds (sugar really screws with his attitude).  I have to give the Angry Chef mad props on this one and admit that each lemony, sugary bite was worth putting up with his preceding kitchen melt down and the horrendous kitchen clean-up it necessitated.

 Daddy’s Lemon Doughnuts w/ Clove Infused Syrup

For the Doughnut Batter:

2 cups flour

¼ cup sugar (a little less if you don’t like it sweet, a little more if you want it to make your teeth ache)

½ teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

Zest of one lemon

Warm water (about 90 degrees)

Mix dry ingredients together and slowly add warm water (while stirring) until batter takes on a pancake batter like consistency and texture.

Cover and set aside for about 45 min. in a warm area, allowing the dough to rise.

Fry the doughnuts in hot oil, using about ¼ cup of batter at a time.  To cut down on the volume of oil, heat oil in a small saucepot and cook one doughnut at a time.  When you drop the batter into the hot oil, it should immediately start to cook and form a disk.  Gently turn the doughnut over in the oil as the bottom turns golden brown.

Remove from oil and set on a rack in a 200 degree oven until ready to eat (this prevents your doughnuts from falling and becoming soggy while you cook the others)

For the Dipping Sauce:

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

Zest of one lemon

5 whole cloves

Combine ingredients in a medium sauce pan, simmering gently until the mixture has cooked down by about half and becomes a bright, rich syrup.  Remove cloves before serving.

For plating:

Dip the doughnuts to coat in the syrup.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and lemon zest.

Sit back and enjoy the ecstatic ooohhhs and aaaahhhhs  coming from your family.