spring

Chicken and rice


No one told me how much of life is just saying goodbye. 

Because I was in a plane today, and then on a bus, and somewhere in between the two, I saw the ghost of my face reflected back at me. And I thought. 

My god. 
I'm not a child anymore. 
I'm not a kid.
I'm not a even a teenager. 
I'm somewhere. 
Maybe close to being a woman, but still so, so far. 
(It is a long way, to being a woman.)

And I realized all over again, that my sandbox sand castle days, and the shallow end of the swimming pool, and pretend and not having hips and going to piano lessons with my brother and never doing laundry because my mom did it and dolls and falling in love with books instead of boys and not knowing about things like funerals and pain-- without knowing it, somewhere, I said goodbye. 
And maybe it's because of that very specific goodbye, that I cling so fiercely to second chances. 

Because I have to believe I will see you again. 
Because I have to believe I will come back. 
Because it's too hard otherwise. 
And because, the thought of not eating the chicken and rice I had at this little place in Portugal, the thought of never eating that again completely undoes me. 
To never eat that chicken and rice again would be tragic. 
It would be the worst. 
I cannot handle a reality which does not have a repeat of that chicken and rice. 

So I believe in second chances and third chances and returns and surprise encounters. 
I believe in circularity and the stupid/fun/funny part of life that makes for good stories and plot twists and romance and mystery. 
I have faith in this. 


I'm looking forward now.  
Looking forward towards maybe being a woman someday. Sort of. 
But more than that, I look forward to owning a long, rectangular kitchen table, that maybe I build myself. A kitchen table I build myself, with lots of candles on it. And there are all the people I love, who have come back and second-chance-miracle-surprised me, sitting at this table. 
And then we will eat chicken and rice. 


XOXOXO


Chicken and Rice
From SmittenKitchen.com who adapted from Gourmet 

This my darling, is the recipe I want to make when I get home. 


Chicken
3 large garlic cloves
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
4 chicken breast halves with bone, halved crosswise
4 chicken drumsticks
4 chicken thighs

Rice
3 ounces Spanish chorizo (cured sausage), skin discarded and sausage cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika, preferably the hot stuff, plus more to taste
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
1 lb. tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 12-ounce. bottle beer (not dark)
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups long-grain white rice (14 ounces)
1/4 cup drained rinsed bottled pimiento or roasted red pepper strips

Marinate chicken: Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 2 teaspoons salt, then transfer to a large bowl. Stir in vinegar and oregano.

Remove skin and excess fat from chicken, then toss chicken with marinade until coated and marinate, covered and chilled, at least 1 hour.

Cook chicken and rice: – Cook chorizo in olive oil in a 6- to 7-quart heavy pot (12 inches wide) over medium-high heat, stirring, until some fat is rendered, 2 to 3 minutes. Add onions, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add cumin, oregano, paprika, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and bay leaves and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add chicken with marinade to chorizo mixture and cook, uncovered, over medium heat, stirring frequently, 10 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, beer, broth, and rice and bring to a boil, making sure rice is submerged. [Deb note: I actually had a really hard time keeping the rice underneaththe chicken so that it would cook evenly. I'd suggest that you use tongs to temporarily remove the chicken from the pot, mix the rice in with the other ingredients in the pot, and then replace the chicken, pressing it into the broth a bit before going onto the next step. I will definitely do this next time.]

Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover mixture directly with a round of parchment or wax paper and cover pot with a tight fitting lid. Cook, stirring once or twice, until rice is tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Discard parchment paper and bay leaves, then scatter pimiento strips over rice.

Do ahead: Chicken can be marinated up to 2 hours in advance.


Turkish Coffee

Usually, I know what the story is. 
Life seems to segment itself sort of naturally, and so you collect experiences and anecdotes that define what's going on, with you, for those weeks or months. Little stories of who you are and where you're at. 
I've been thinking about March. 
And what a weird, potent, transition month it is. 



The March right after I turned nineteen was magic. I wore a red dress that was too short and too tight. Everyone lived for the weekend. I stood up and tried to hug the wind through the sunroof of Alison's station wagon, like they do in that book, only I had never read that book. And we got drunk and went swimming at three am and afterwards I sat, shivering and braless in the diner that played heavy metal, and ate hashbrowns and migas, feeling so happy it hurt. 

The following March was dismal. My heart was fragile as an egg. In an effort to un-slump myself I drank buckets of coffee, ate doughnuts every day, and rode my bike late at night. It felt like nothing was ever going to happen, and actually, that March nothing did. 

This March is like Turkish coffee. 
It tastes a little wild. 
The first sip lasts for only an instant. 
But in that instant, the coffee tastes like an ancient pine tree, or a whole cabinet of spices that sit soft and dusty on your tongue before melting away. 

The other night, I picked up two random German boys on the street, and then Julián came and we ate sunflower seeds and drank cheap beer and went to look for a party on a rooftop terrace, but got lost instead and knocked on a random door and ended up in the apartment of a group of Americans from Maryland. An experience that pretty much sums up my story of March so far, i.e., strangeness and spontaneity, the instability that comes from moving constantly, and always running away from and also sitting with, a specific deep kind of loneliness. 
That is what March feels like. 

I want to wring a story from all this randomness, and give it to you with a cup of Turkish coffee. 
And we'd taste the ancient trees and the dusty spices, but only for a second, and you would maybe smile, maybe cry while I told you the distilled version of this March, the one with a beginning, middle and end. 
But I can't. 
Because March isn't over yet. 

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

Xoxo

Almost Fudge Gateau

Dear one,

I'm in France, and I just drank a beer, and ate a crepe. 
Everything, intrinsically, by default of simply being, is beautiful.
I'm in Paris for several weeks, and am then cruising around Europe, for the next few months. 
Mostly alone. 
I'd be out of my mind excited, if I weren't so terrified. 
Doing what you want and being autonomous, it's amazing and necessary. 



And fucking scary. 

I've been spending a lot of time in my head and walking and looking at people.
I feel very quiet. 

Something I want to address: 

We are all aware, that this being a "food blog" is mainly a shameless charade that allows me to write about myself and growing up and love, etc. 
Because, somehow, this tiny space went from windy exposition about cake, to much windier exposition about things like feelings.
And I want to acknowledge this, only because, I'm going to be traveling, and I don't know if I can always promise you recipes, or that stories will tie back to the table, or that the state of things can be summed up in a few words that conclude with a flavor.
 I don't know if I can promise that.

However, I do promise to be hungry, if only for you. 
I promise that I will write you more, and soon. 


This is a cake I baked right before I left Austin. It's mostly chocolate and eggs. It is, apparently, a very French cake.

And finally, because it is long overdue, I want to thank you, you strangers who find me here again and again. The surprise, that anyone cares to return to this URL, it humbles me. 
Whoever you are, you're magic. 
And for my beloved family and for my tribe of beautiful people, thank you for all the hand holding and letter writing and sweet mornings and afternoons and nights and tequila and twinkling light.  
There are not words enough in this language to convey my gratitude. 

I love you. 

You make me feel fearless. 


XOXO



Almost Fudge Gateau

from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

5 large eggs
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons unslated butter, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons coffee or water
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt

For Glaze (optional) 
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 heavy cream
2 teaspoons light corn syrup

Center a rack in th eoven and preheat to 350 degrees F. 
Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, dust the inside of the plan with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or on a silicone mat. 
Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a mixer bowl or other large bowl and the yolks in a small bowl. 
Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add the chocolate, sugar, butter and coffee. Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are melted; the sugar may still be grainy, and that’s fine. Transfer the bowl to the counter and let the mixture sit for 3 minutes. 
Using a rubber spatula, stir in the yolks one by one, then fold in the flour. 
Working with the whisk attachment of the mixer, or a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until they hold firm but glossy peaks. using the spatula, stir about one quarter of teh beaten whites into the batter, then gently fold in the rest. Scrape the batter into the pan and jiggle the pan from side to side a couple of times to even the batter. 
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cake has risen evenly (it might rise around the edges and you’ll think it’s done, but give it a few minutes more, and the center will puff too) and the top has firmed (it will probably be cracked) and doesn’t shimmy when tapped; a thin knife inserted into the center should come out just slightly streaked with chocolate. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cake rest for 5 to 10 minutes. 
Run a blunt knife gently around the edges of the cake and remove teh sides of the pan. Carefully turn the cake over onto a rack and remove the pan bottom and the parchment paper. Invert the cake onto another rack and cool to room temperature right side up. As the cake cools, it may sink. 

To make OPTIONAL glaze:
First, turn the cooled cake over onto another rack so you’ll be glazing the flat bottom, and place the rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper to catch any drips. 
Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. 
Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water or in a microwave oven-- cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir very gently with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Stir in the corn syrup. Pour the glaze over the cake and smooth the top with a long metal icing spatula. Don’t worry if the glaze drips unevenly down the sides of the cake-- it will just add to its charms. (Sidenote: This is why I love Dorie. She’s all about the charms of cake related imperfection.) Allow the glaze to set at room temperature, or if you’re impatient, slip the cake into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. If the glaze dulls in the fridge, just give it a little gentle heat from a hairdryer. 

Coconut Bread


There's this song by Sharon Van Etten that I'm in love with called "All I Can" and at one point she howls,
"I DO ALL I CANNNNNN" and I love that.


I do all I can. 



I made coconut bread. 
It was really good, only I under-baked it, and so it was kind of like pudding on the bottom. 
Which was disappointing. 
It was because I fucked around with the pan size and was tired, and didn't pay attention. 
Whatever. 
It still tasted really, really good. 




This coconut bread essentially sums up how I've felt these past few months. 
The feeling of I just can't get it quite right.
I tell you this only because sometimes expressing these things helps clear the air. 
So I am clearing the air. 

Intrinsically, however, everything is okay, at least, according to Sharon Van Etten: 
"I DO ALL I CAN. WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES."



Anyways. 
April is a good month.
Things happen in April.
This time last year I went swimming at 2am and wore a red dress that was too short and too tight and I was out and about, and the conversations were long and weird and I ate tiramisu and things happened.
I'm hoping that things happen.
I'm hoping I bake my bread just right.
I think it'll be ok.

"I DO ALL I CAN."



Also, I just put out another little EP of songs. 

guts EP cover art

If you have a moment, please listen here and I'll love you endless. 
XOXO


Coconut Bread

via SmittenKitchen.com 

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups (295 ml) milk
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt (see Note)
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 to 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (Bill calls for 2 but I preferred 1, so that it didn’t dominate)
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
5 ounces (140 grams) sweetened flaked coconut (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted or melted and browned, if desired
Vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray for baking pan
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add sugar and coconut, and stir to mix. Make a well in the center, and pour in egg mixture, then stir wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Add butter, and stir until just smooth — be careful not to overmix.
Butter and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan, or coat it with a nonstick spray. Spread batter in pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, anywhere from 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cool in pan five minutes, before turning out onto a cooling rack.
Serve in thick slices, toasted, with butter and confectioners’ sugar.