adulthood

How to Hardboil an Egg

It's okay.
I mean, it's really okay. 


I failed at making hardboiled eggs last night.
But it's okay. 


Hardboiled eggs are only the easiest thing in the world to make-- but somehow, I don't know, I didn't cook them for long enough, or the water wasn't actually boiling, or something. 
The point is, I couldn't even make a hardboiled egg. 

Stranger things have happened. 


For instance, remember when I told you about how I was trying to plant my own garden, a la Jorge Luis Borges? 
Well. 
A flower grew. 
Who knew? 
I am so proud. 
I never knew I could grow anything. 

But back to hardboiled eggs. 
I love Nora Ephron, and Nora wrote this marvelous essay about living in New York City in her mid-twenties, and starting out as a reporter, and how she would go to work all day, and then come home alone and cook herself a full meal, something that made her feel brave and plucky, unlike other girls who were probably just eating pathetic cartons of yogurt in front of the television. 

 
Of course, she acknowledges, it never occurred to her that cooking and then eating a meal meant for four was probably equally pathetic. 
I think about this every time I cook for myself.
So brave! So plucky! 


And then, sometimes, you can't even hardboil the egg. 
And then you really have to muster some courage. 

Anyways. 


Here Is How To Hardboil An Egg From Better Sources On the Internet Just So You Know

Instructions from SimplyRecipes.com


1. Place the eggs in a single layer at the bottom of a saucepan. Cover with at least an inch or two of cold water. The more eggs that are crowding the pan the more water you should have over the eggs. Heat the pot on high heat and bring the water to a full rolling boil.
Adding a teaspoon of vinegar to the water may help keep egg whites from running out if an egg does crack while cooking. Also some people find adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the water helps prevent cracking as well as making the eggs easier to peel.

2. Turn off the heat, keep the pan on the hot burner, cover, and let sit for 10-12 minutes.
If you have the type of stove burner that doesn't retain any heat when turned off, you might want to lower the temp to low, simmer for a minute, and then turn it off.
Depending on how cooked you like your hard boiled eggs, the eggs should be done perfectly in 10-12 minutes. That said, depending on your altitude, the shape of the pan, the size of the eggs, the ratio of water to eggs, it can take a few minutes more. When you find a time that works for you, given your preferences, the types of eggs you buy, your pots, stove, and cooking environment, stick with it.
If I'm cooking a large batch of eggs, after 10 minutes I'll sacrifice one to check for doneness, by removing it with a spoon, running it under cold water, and cutting it open. If it's not done enough, I'll cook the other eggs a minute or two longer.
I also find that it is very hard to overcook eggs using this method. I can let the eggs sit, covered, for up to 15-18 minutes without the eggs getting overcooked. 

3. Strain out the water from the pan and run cold water over the eggs to cool them quickly and stop them from cooking further. Or, if you are cooking a large batch of eggs, remove them with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water.
The best way to store hard boiled eggs is in a covered container in the refrigerator. Eggs can release odors in the fridge which is why it helps to keep them covered.
They should be eaten within 5 days.

More soon. 
Ily. 
XOXO



Chia Seed Pudding

I go grocery shopping on Saturdays now. 
And I cook a lot on Sundays-- sometimes spiced sweet potatoes, always brown rice, once, a disgusting and heavy loaf of bread. 


Life is strange. 
I think about that a lot these days-- mostly because it's unbelievable that we are lucky enough to be alive at the same time-- but also how little control I have, really. 
Often I wonder, how it is that anyone gets so that they have work, babies, house and garden full of fireflies? 
Is it always just falling and falling into things and people?

I guess. 

I like making chia seed pudding on Sundays too-- it's so simple and luxurious-- like eating a sweet caviar, or frog eggs. 
I like it also, because when I was in New York, I would take the F train to Midtown, stop at the same quick breakfast spot and buy a banana and chia seed pudding and hope that the iced coffee would prevent me from sweating through my business casual. 
It was such a lonely, lonely summer. That’s the thing about loneliness --you think-- this is the worst it will ever be, and then, one day, you are lonelier. 
So I took the F, and listened to soul music the whole way there, and ate my chia pudding, surrounded by glass and iron and felt small but often good.  Usually, when the workday was over-- I would walk the long way home-- eat $3 Indian food and sit in a park. 
I wondered a lot about work. 
And how I don’t know how to add value to the world yet. 
And how I don't know how to get there.

I like to think it begins with going grocery shopping on Saturdays, cooking on Sundays. Eating pork-belly sliders and drinking vodka with your sister friends on Thursday night, and then going out on Friday and Saturday too. Or maybe staying in, tucking small children into bunk beds-- waking up early, walking. 
Maybe, after a time-- when the work is more done, and more years passed and everything more known, somehow maybe one day, you go home to a garden of fireflies. 
After just falling and falling and falling into jobs and people. 
And chia seed pudding. 
Ideally, hopefully, chia seed pudding is part of how you get there too. 


Chia Seed Pudding 
via TheHealthyFoodie.com 

1/4 chia seeds
3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
maple syrup to taste

In a small bowl or half pint Mason type glass jar, add coconut, chia seeds, coconut milk, coconut water, and vanilla. Stir until very well combined. 
Place in refrigerator and allow to rest overnight. 
Eat. 

Best Ever Yellow Birthday Cake with Best Ever Chocolate Frosting (and raspberries)



I first baked this cake on graduating high school. 
I baked it in two layers, frosted them as individual cakes for a party, drank a glass of champagne, went swimming, and then promptly went to college. 

I hadn’t made this cake since then. 
Recently, I made it for my father’s birthday. 
Here he is, looking mildly pleased. 

 

What I can’t get over, is how much has changed between then and now. 

My last year of university is about to begin. “Season four begins.” My friends and I joke, because somehow, the entire three, now four years, has managed to feel like a bizarre, high drama miniseries, or at least, one that’s heavy on the taco-eating/beer-drinking/library-gossiping side of life. 

Since I was a child, college has always the goal and the next “next thing.” Somehow, I’m now facing the beginning of the end of it, and panicking a little about what my next “next thing” is going to be. 

I’m hopeful that I’ll bake this cake again soon, because it’s such a perfect, perfect cake. But also, I’m hopeful that I’ll bake it again soon because I really want to celebrate all the tiny victories and birthdays and half-birthdays and weekends and Monday nights and people. Mostly I want to celebrate all the people. 

Everything is going by so fast. 

There’s a bizarre musical called Auntie Mame. The best and only memorable line from the whole show is when Mame shouts, “Life is a banquet! And most poor suckers are starving to death!” And then she throws on a different wig and dances on the table, surrounded by multitudes of her tap-dancing lovers. Or at least, that’s how I remember it. 


When I think about goals or dreams for the upcoming months, of course I want to work hard and study and graduate-- but more than any of this, I really want to bake this cake, throw on the wig, dance on the table, just for the hell of it. 
Because life is a banquet. 
Because it’s the beginning of the end, which means it’s a new beginning all over again. 
And I want to celebrate. 
Because I’m so excited.
I’m so wildly excited. 

Rosalind Russell as Auntie Mame

XOXO


Best Yellow Layer Cake
from SmittenKitchen.com 

In all sincerity, this one of the simplest and absolute best cakes you could ever wish that someone else would bake you for your birthday. 

Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, and, in theory, 22 to 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake (I have yet to audition the cupcakes, shame on me)
4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (480 to 530 grams, see explanation) cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
2 sticks (1 cup, 1/2 pound or 225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (400 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk (475 ml), well-shaken

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment. (Alternately, you can use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour to speed this process up.)
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just Incorporated.
Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. (I like to drop mine a few times from two inches up, making a great big noisy fuss.) Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.


Go-to Chocolate Frosting
from Allrecipes.com

Also this frosting makes me the happiest. It is so good. So so soooo good. 

1 cup butter, softened
4 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/4 cups baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter. Gradually beat in confectioners sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Add enough milk until frosting reaches spreading consistency.



21


I started this blog when I was 16. 

I'm about to turn 21. 

I keep thinking about what I would tell my naive and dreamy 16 year old self, or what I would say to my future daughter, if I had one. What I would want those girls to know. 


I want to tell them: 

Be hungry. 
Do not be afraid to be hungry. 


Because being hungry for your next meal and hungry to live a full life, these are basically the same thing. 
Because food is connected to love and lust and happiness and depression and every emotion and experience, all the weddings and all the funerals. 
Because eating is tangled into the fabric of being human.

And yet. 


There are girls who are afraid to eat. 
Who exist solely on salads and cigarettes. 
Who only eat a meal and a half a day.
Who starve themselves, or throw up what they've eaten. 
Who don't eat in front of boys, because maybe the boys will figure out that they are not made of air. 
Who say they were "bad" because they ate a cookie instead of an apple. 

I have known all of these girls. 
Maybe even been one or two of them. 

And I just want to tell that future daughter of mine, or my 16 year old self, that there is no shame in having a real appetite. 
That there is no shame in being hungry and then eating until you are full. 
That no one actually cares if you are a little fat or a little thin. 
That eating and drinking and enjoying it, and really owning the hunger, goes so far beyond the table. 
Because there is no better way to be present in the here and now than to enjoy a meal. 
And being present feels like the opposite of being dead. 
And what is the point in being anything other than fiercely, rudely, gorgeously alive? 

That's what I would say.


So I'm about to turn 21, and that thought makes my stomach curdle a little bit, because adulthood suddenly seems like a very imminent, and very near reality. 

But I can't think about that. 
I'm too focused on getting from city to city, bed to bed, meal to meal. 
But sometimes, like right now, I stop and drink a coffee and write to you and stare out a window and try to appreciate the beauty. 
And I want to cry and I want to kiss you and I want champagne. 
Because it's all so beautiful, and I am still so young and so naive and so hungry, and because I just ate maybe the best sandwich of my entire life.


It was an inspired sandwich. 

So I'm about to turn 21. 
How incredible. 

I love you. 
I love you. 
I love you. 

xoxo