angst

beans (again)



From here until the end of May, I want to spend most of my time outside, and also drink a lot of beer.
I've been spending too much time in front of screens lately.

This is a strange time, like everything is simultaneously in hyperdrive but also limbo. With springtime, everything feels fresh and small and new. Especially when I look out my tiny bathroom window and notice all the still-unfurling leaves.

I keep thinking that I'm excited about everything, though every now and then, as I hear that someone else is moving, or figured something out-- I don't know--there's a lot going on.

Per the usual, I've been too busy to really cook anything. I read on the blog Orangette, her nice piece about doctoring up cans of beans with a little butter and spices. I've been doing this all week with cans of black beans. I add them straight to the pot with a sliver of butter, pinches of cumin and some chopped parsley-- then puree them until they're creamy and thick. I eat them plain and standing over the stove, sometimes with crumbles of feta cheese.


This last year hasn't gone the way I thought it would. Not that I had a clear idea about "how it would be," but all the same, it hasn't been the way I thought it would. And I guess I've been so in the present, that I haven't given much thought at all to what happens after May. When I think about "after May," I think about places. Visiting friends in New York and trying the city on for size again, or somehow going to Tel Aviv, where I'd  sit on the beach, with hands full of olives. I do not know if these are possible things, but they are still good to think about.

Right now, there are still six weeks until I graduate.
Even though I have difficulty listening to Father John Misty, there's a line off his new record, where he sings about the end of a relationship: "at least we'll both go on livinggggg!" Which is funny and sad and real and true/untrue. Which is the thing I keep reminding myself about the end of college-- I'll go on "livingggggg."

I will be so relieved, I think. To be done.

From here until the end of May, I'm going to spend most of my time outside, and also drink a lot of beer. And I'm going to think about the possibilities.



how to love yourself (beans)



I hate the weather. 
I talk about and blame nearly everything on the weather lately— all the moods, bullshit, inclement anything— it’s just the weather. 
In the land of near perpetual sunshine— I’m taking the cold very personally. 

I turned 22 last week, which is simultaneously something and also nothing at all. 
I had a lot of feelings, mostly because I realized and remembered how much everything has changed. 
A friend reminded me today that everything is always changing— but right now, it all feels very potent and more real. 
Mostly because I’m not a child anymore. 
And I was a child when I came to college. 
And suddenly I’m not. 

The other day, I went for a long hike in the rain with my father— we walked for about three hours and looked at the creek, which is full of clear, green water. My dad is full aphorisms and stories.
“This is real.” My dad said of the rain. 

This is real. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of “love yourself.” Which is one of those frustrating and vague things that people who are vexingly successful both at love and work like to say. 
“Love yourself.” 
Bullshit. It means so little. 
Here is all I know: 
On Saturday night, make a pot of beans. 
This is how you love yourself. 
You make the pot of beans with some garlic and onions, and then all week, whenever you are hungry, or don’t want to spend money, or are tired— there are beans to eat— all week long. 
This is the only thing I really know at this point. 
Make some beans.

This is how you love yourself. 

I love you. 
xoxo



Buttermilk Skillet Cake with Walnut Praline Topping


Right now I am lying on my bed with my shoes on. 
White sunlight coming in through the window. 
Two nights ago, I saw a band called Chipper Jones play. 
Of course the beauty of music, and the particular beauty of live music, is that it brings you into NOW.
Watching the drummer play, I thought he was so graceful. Even though I’m still not totally sure what “grace” really even IS. Internal peace? Quiet? Silent passion? 

So much of my time these past few years has been me struggling to find a rhythm that makes sense— trying to find the grace in motion. 
Like the kind of grace I thought that drummer showed, even if only for a moment. 

I don’t know. 


I realized the other day that from here on out, with only one semester of college to go, not that it hasn’t been real— but that the planned time is mostly ending. 
It’s like the feeling I get when I think about how old I’ll be in ten years. 
Or how I felt when I first realized that in the next few years many of my friends will get married, someone is going to have a baby, everyone falling in and out of love across time zones, working working working on their New Year’s resolutions for the rest of forever until 
The End. 
Of course, this is the beginning of the rest of forever.

I made a cake the other day. 



A buttermilk skillet cake with a walnut praline topping because I like it when things are tangible. Because making things gives rhythm to days that pass so quick/slow. 
And making things feels like grace. 

This year, I want to make things. 

One of my favorite people in the entire world sent me a mostly incoherent, very drunk email on January 1st. At the end of the message he said, “all my love. from a lost yet broken yet wonderfull soul.” 

“Lost yet broken yet wonderfull.” 

Somehow, I feel that this really sums it up. 

"Yet wonderfull." 

I love you I love you I love you. 


xoxo
m


Buttermilk Skillet Cake with Walnut Praline Topping
from The Joy the Baker Cookbook

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
For the praline topping:
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
generous pinch salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat your oven to 375F/ 190C, positioning a rack in the upper third of the oven.
Butter and flour the bottom and sides of an 8 or 9-inch cast-iron skillet (or a 9-inch cake pan).
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until blended and lighter in color, about 3 minutes. Add egg and yolk, beating for a minute between each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
Turn the speed to low, and add half of the flour mixture. Next, add the buttermilk, and when the flour is just combined, add the remaining flour. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and gently finish incorporating the ingredients with a spatula, taking care not to overmix. Spoon the batter into prepared skillet or pan, spreading evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
While the cake bakes, make the praline topping: in a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar, butter, cream and salt. Bring the mixture to a soft boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and nuts. Inhale.
Let the mixture rest in the pan for 20 minutes, to firm up. Once it has rested, and the cake has been removed from the oven, pour the praline mixture over the warm cake, spreading evenly. (If you chose to bake this in a cake pan instead of a skillet, remove the cake from the pan and place it on a cake plate, before pouring the topping over the cake.) Serve immediately, or at room temperature.
Cake will keep, well wrapped and at room temperature, for up to 4 days.

Swedish Meatballs

Life is good, mostly great. 



But today, and lately, lately being most of October, I've had the blues. 
I'm not alone in this, everybody I know is a little tired, or a little weary right now. A little lonely despite being a little too busy. 
I don't know what it is. 
Often, Barbarajo says to me, "You couldn't pay me to be 21 again." 
I think about this often. 

Maybe it's just the time of year. 
Maybe we all just need to drink more.  

On Sunday night, I stood in my kitchen, and made Swedish meatballs. 
I thought about everyone I know, and wondered where we are all going to go 
And the splintering effects of the final year of college, and how maybe you don't get some things back and other things you just pray and pray that you do, and also the hope that you can have a beer on a Tuesday night, and finish the thesis and everything else on time, maybe, if the magic happens, because I guess it's all happening all the time anyways. 
And I thought about-- it is so terrifying, and so good, to be this young. 

So I made Swedish meatballs. 
They are great. 
They are the flavor of comfort. 
Despite the October blues. 

I love you I love you I love you. 

xoxo


Swedish Meatballs
from The Gourmet Cookbook

3/4 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
1/4 heavy cream
1/4 club soda
3/4 pound ground beef round
1/2 pound ground veal
1/4 pound ground pork
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Stir together bread crumbs, cream and club soda in a small bowl. Let stand for 20 minutes. 
Put racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 400F. Oil two large baking sheets with sides. 
Combine beef, veal, pork in a large bowl. Ad onion, breadcrumb mixture, egg, salt, and pepper and blend with your hands just until well combined; do not overmix. 
Form level tablespoons of mixture into meatballs and arrange about 1 inch apart on oiled baking sheets. Bake, turning meatballs over and switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until browned, about 20 minutes total. 
With a slotted spoon, transfer meatballs to a platter. Set baking sheets on top of stove or a heatproof surface. Divide 1/3 cup water between pans and deglaze, off heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits with a wooden spoon.
Drizzle pan juices over meatballs.