embarrassing

trendy vegetables

I cook at night these days. Mostly when I’m too tired, or so sick of staring at a computer, that washing dishes and making simple pastas and vegetable dishes feels like the only thing to do. 


Brussel sprouts are having a really irritating moment right now, they might even be trendier than kale. Honestly, there are few things more annoying than a really trendy vegetable. The point is, brussel sprouts are really wonderful when you cut them in half, and sauté them until they’re browned, and then add a little wasabi mustard, if you can find it. 
This is the real deal. 
As I made the brussel sprouts I thought about my parents, who STILL refuse to eat them due to retained childhood loathing. It was on their list of things that “Our Family Does Not Eat” which included beets, cabbage, brussel sprouts, margarine, and especially cauliflower, which my father has such a fierce hate of, that the one time I tried to cook it he actually yelled at me, “OUR FAMILY DOES NOT EAT CAULIFLOWER.” 

One of my friends said recently, “the weeks are hurling by.” And I don’t know what it is about that specific adjective that really says it all, but there you go. 
Hurling

I also made pickled mushrooms tonight. Back when I worked at the restaurant, after the initial dinner rush, I would hover over the deli case, and spear pickled mushrooms with a toothpick when I thought no one was looking. 
That was maybe the best part of that job. 
That and taunting the chefs, who were behind a counter, and so were forced to talk to me, primarily because they were all so sick of each other. 
I used this recipe, but it’s not at all like the ones I would eat at the restaurant. 



The other thing is, I’m trying to get my thesis together right now. I don’t mind writing it nearly as much as I mind the feeling that I should be writing it every single hour of every single day. 
I try not to think about it all too much.
And Valentines Day came and went, I went grocery shopping at 11pm that night, and bought discounted chocolate covered strawberries. 
And I wore my bell bottoms recently and felt cool for about two minutes.
And also, aren’t you glad that tomorrow will be tomorrow instead of today? 

Even though tomorrow is just further proof that the weeks are hurling by? 

Anyways, I love you. 
More real things soon. 
XOXO
m




Tiramisu


I spent several hours last Friday with Luca and Piper, making a tiramisu. 
It was so beautiful. 
I accidentally dropped a entire bowl of whipped cream on the floor.
We dunked ladyfingers in rum and espresso, stirred custard, and layered everything with architectural precision for hours. 
I thought to myself: There is nothing else I would rather be doing. 



I don’t know quite how to explain to you, but sometimes I so strongly feel the unbearable brevity of life. 
Dessert is a perfect metaphor for this feeling: you eat it, and it is gone, living on only as a picture and a memory of a flavor. 

These days, there is so much to love, to hold on to, to learn, to do. 
There is so little time.
These nows do not last forever. 



I don’t know what to do with this feeling.
But it makes me want to make more tiramisu and sing louder and hold you tighter and tighter.
Because tomorrow is uncertain. 
Because life is too short to not do these things. 

Now does not last forever. 

It is all so short. 


It is just so very, very short. 



(We made it for a birthday.) (Also Luca took most of these pictures.) 

xoxo


Tiramisu
from allrecipes.com

6 egg yolks
3/4 cup white sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee at room temperature
2 tablespoons rum
2 (3 ounce) packages ladyfinger cookies
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder


-In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Whisk in milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Boil gently for 1 minute, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Cover tightly and chill in refrigerator 1 hour.

-In a medium bowl, beat cream with vanilla until stiff peaks form. Whisk mascarpone into yolk mixture until smooth.

-In a small bowl, combine coffee and rum. Split ladyfingers in half lengthwise and drizzle with coffee mixture.

-Arrange half of soaked ladyfingers in bottom of a 7x11 inch dish. Spread half of mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers, then half of whipped cream over that. Repeat layers and sprinkle with cocoa. Cover and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours, until set.

Coconut Macaroons.


This is a painting I love very much called Christina's World: 



When I saw it in person I gasped. 
That is how much I loved it. 

I found a postcard of it in an old journal I'd kept last year. 
It struck me as particularly relevant now. 
So much yearning. 

I read that the girl, Christina, had polio and the lower half of her body was paralyzed. 
And one day the painter, Wyeth, saw her crawling through the grass to get to the barn. 
And he painted what he saw: 
So much yearning. 

That's how I feel right now. 
Like I'm crawling into a future that I can't quite reach. 
My own barn. 

I'm trying so hard to begin the process of creating a life for myself. 
I don't know how to do this. 

My dad likes to tell me, one day at a time, one step at a time, one bite at a time. 
Slowly crawl to the barn. 

I'm surrounded by so many beautiful people right now. 
People like my friend Margaret, who dreams her own gutsy dreams, and has started to realize some of them. 
I want to be like that. I want to realize dreams.  

But right now I'm still figuring out what the dream is. 






I don't know. 


So I go swimming with Murphy, and I call my brother. 
I go dancing when I am sad sometimes. 
I write my name in chalk in the middle of the street, in the middle of the night. 
I try and reason these mistakes and misunderstandings, make them into digestible lists and lessons. 
And I try to be inspired and I try to enjoy this sun and these days and these people, for what they are. 
I stumble. 
I make coconut macaroons that melt in the mouth. 
And I eat every single fucking coconut macaroon because they are so so good and I am so so hungry. 

I don't know. 

So much yearning. 

I am Christina. 
But I am building the barn and trying to get to the barn all at once. 

At least, on the way, there are coconut macaroons. 

XOXO


Coconut Macaroons


via JoyofBaking.com

4 large egg whites at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cake flour (I used regular flour) 
3 cups shredded or flaked coconut

You can do what I did, which is completely forget to follow directions, hastily combine all ingredients, and just bake them until brown. I was happy. Please note that these are quite sweet, decrease sugar if you don't like desserts that are borderline saccharine. 


OR YOU CAN ACTUALLY FOLLOW DIRECTIONS: 


In a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the egg whites, sugar and salt. When this mixture is warm to the touch, and nice and creamy, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, flour and coconut. Cover and refrigerate for about two hours, until firm. 
Preheat oven to 325 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
Place small mounds (heaping teaspoons) of the batter onto the parchment lined baking sheets, spaced several inches apart. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes and then place on a wire rack to cool. 
Makes about 2 dozen. 


Dark Chocolate Brownies with Raspberry Goat Cheese Swirl


I keep comparing myself to who I was two years ago. 



Because when I was 18, I was pretty certain I knew what was up. 
I knew what I liked, and what I didn't. 
And I had a certain way of being and speaking and seeing. 
I thought I knew myself. 
Now two years have passed and I'm different. 


Go figure. 



And the only reason this is exciting is because I've surprised myself. 
I mean, actually really surprised myself. 

I've done a lot of things I never thought I would do or could do or was even capable of doing. 

I think I'm braver. 
I think I'm also quite a bit dumber, but maybe that's the tradeoff for being "vulnerable" or "impulsive." 
I now appreciate Taylor Swift, who I was definitely too much of a snob for at 18. 
I've gotten better about saying thank you. 
I now have a very long list of things I've learned since 18 called "Life Lessons." 
It has some absolute PEARLS of wisdom on it such as, "Always keep tums on hand" and "Save money." 



Whatever. 

However, what brought about these scintillating ruminations, is that at 18, other than Taylor Swift, I had absolutely no interest in cheesecake or cheesecake related edibles. 

Oh how the tables have turned. 

These are raspberry goat cheese brownies. Basically cheesecake's cousin. 
And they are really fucking good, especially when frozen. 

What I am trying to tell you is, you don't have to wait two years to become the new, improved you.
 You can start right now. 
With these crazy cheesecake cousin brownies. 


"To change one's life; start immediately. Do it flamboyantly. No exceptions."
                                              - William James

You're welcome. 

XOXO 

Dark Chocolate Brownies with Raspberry Goat Cheese Swirl


via thekitchn.com



Makes about 30 small brownie squares
Raspberries
2 cups raspberries, lightly mashed
2 tablespoons brandy or Kirsch
Brownies
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup milk
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Raspberry Goat Cheese Swirl
8 ounces goat cheese, softened at room temperature for an hour
4 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature for an hour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for an hour
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Heat the oven to 350ºF and lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking pan (or any 3-quart dish, like the gratin dish I use here) with butter or baking spray. Place the raspberries in a bowl and stir in the brandy or Kirsch. Set aside.
Melt the chocolate and butter until liquid in a 3-quart (or larger) saucepan over low heat. When the chocolate is completely melted, remove from the heat, whisk in the milk, and cool for about 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar and vanilla. Stir in the eggs one by one. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and fold in until just combined. Fold in about half of the raspberries and spread this brownie batter in the prepared pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with hand beaters, or by hand with a heavy whisk) beat the goat cheese with the cream cheese, butter, egg, sugar, and almond extract until light and fluffy. Gently fold in the other half of the raspberries and their juices. Drop the goat cheese mixture on top of the brownie batter in spoonfuls, then swirl it through the batter with a knife. Bake for 30 minutes or until just barely set. The top will be just turning light brown. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
Store at room temperature, well-covered. The flavor and texture of these brownies really bloom when you let them rest overnight.