bitty thoughts + bitty tarts

My memory is strange one. I would not say peculiar or deranged or dysfunctional or manic. But it is strange.

My memory operates like it did when I was a child, with a slight overzealous capriciousness. My connections between the passings of time and color and light and season are often broken into little bits, pasted back again, and stretched into a strange taffy-like world.  But one should note, a surreal world is a real world still.

My memory, like most, is a collection. A collection of sayings, habits, rituals, ridicules, ramparts, ramblings, stars, skies, records, dreams, slumber, trees, songs, schoolbooks, triumphs, and honey cakes. They make me ache for them. I ache for these “other years”. Places I can never get back to. My memory is of lost ones, found.

 

I have a memory of living inside a tree.

It was a favorite game of mine. Pretending to live in a tree, in an abandoned wood, befriending the creatures, embracing a life alone.

As a child, that freedom, that solitude, is fantastical. It is an emancipation. To create a “self” through play, a “self’ worth being.  Doing things that are “good” and “kind” and “noble”.

As a child, I trusted in the rustic.

In the unrefined.

In the interesting.

In the woodsy.

In the farmy.

In the textural.

 

I trusted in things that were solid and confident in their singularity. Things that have a name, that have learned it, that embrace it—just as I was learning to embrace mine. Learning to love what “being,” meant.

I was drawn to burlap, to flour sacks, to spools of string, and tea towels. I was drawn to the weight of iron hooks, the patterns inside stained glass. The mouth of milk bottles, the smell of Beeswax tapers. I loved jam jars, and paper and salve tins, and my mothers quilt.

I trusted my judgment, as I trust children now. There is a wisdom and delicacy with which they handle the world. To them, it is a newly laid egg, still warm. They press it to their cheek and settle it into the pocket of their coat. They marvel at it with their fingertips. With the egg, the child does not weep to think it will become their breakfast. It is simple. They feel its weight cupped in their hands, and are swept up in the miracle. The miracle that something inside, something they cannot see, makes the egg warm. And keeps it.

 

And now, I wonder again what it would be like to embrace something for what it is, as it is. For children, there is no proper “sequence of time”. Their life consists of a string of absolute moments. A beginning and an end in each one. So the weight and dourness and blinding joys of the world are felt entirely, and kept in each one.

 

But it is strange, to think that miracles for children do not last forever. They float between them. Like mists in a wood. Play in them, like squirrels between trees.

i seem to write a majority of nostalgia posts.

i suppose there is something in that.

These cherry tarts are darling, delicious, and done. And the chocolate bourbon pecan? pshhh, fuggedaboutit.

seriously, my mom and i ate every one… 

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Pink Frosting, an Ode

When I was four, I was best pals with the Firemen of Canoga Park.

We met up every Sunday. Because Sundays meant Fosters. And Fosters meant donuts. And Donuts meant pink frosting.

Little known fact-Firemen have a tenderness for pink frosting.

My family patroned the same donut shop as Station No. 4.  It was the place. And every Sunday, my friends and I would high-five, donuts in hand, while they let me try on their fire hats. I thought I was the coolest.

I realize now, as a 23 year old, that Sundays were not grandiose prearranged play dates but more like a coincidence-esque type situation involving the fact that most people eat donuts on Sundays.

But I say, what a damn fine coincidence! After all, who doesn’t love pink frosting and chocolate cake? Stupid question. That’s like asking, “Who doesn’t like firemen?” Answer: Nobody. That is truth.

This cake is an ode to the Fosters of my childhood. I try not to think about how it’s now probably been turned into a ghetto paradise or burned down. No matter, this frosting is sweet, the memories are sweeter, but the sweetest of all is the magic of cookery.

Enjoy chilluns!

M

xxoo

Pink Frosting:

1 brick cream cheese (softened)

1 stick +2 T. butter (softened)

2 tsp. Beet powder (for color)

1 tsp. vanilla extract/or scrapings of vanilla bean

1 tsp. lemon juice

2 T. milk

4 cups powdered sugar sifted

Whip butter and cream cheese in a  kitchen aid until soft. Add vanilla and beet powder and lemon juice. slowly add sugar and milk until desired consistency is reached. Frost cakes, donuts, pancakes, or…you guessed it, a spoon.

How to Make the Perfect Guacamole

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Good Guacamole is a spiritual experience.

Everyone who likes it, loves it. Truth: if it was socially acceptable, I would try to eat it by the bucket.
But much like tuna, or peanut butter sandwiches, everyone has their own version. Their “favorite way”. Most Guacs come with a story involving a “great secret hole in the wall place that you found by accident One day with a magical abuela back in the kitchen making hand made tortillas”. Or not.
Mine does.
Heres how it goes down. I make my guacamole on a board. A cutting board. I scoop out the avocado and slice cilantro and jalepeno and then I go all Iron Chef America and start chopping and smashing with my knife. It is a super effective method.
Then I spread it out a little and season with lime juice, pepper, all seasoning salt, and garlic powder. Chop and smash, chop and smash. Donezo.

Perfectly blended Guac Attack. All on your cutting board.

Try it. You’ll love it. No more of this fork nonsense. That’s crazy.

Boardwalk Guac:

1 avocado
1/2 jalepeno, seeded and diced.
2 T. Cilantro
Juice of half a lime

Dashes of pepper, garlic powder, seasoning salt (all to taste)

* you can also substitute Chalula sauce for jalepeno. Sooo good. Or leave it out entirely. Choice it yours.

On a clean cutting board, carefully karate knife chop all the ingredients together. Put in bowl. Relish the fruits of your labored breathing….

Strawberries and Cream and Suncatchers

We have been blessed with a wonderfully sunny winter. Until two days ago.

It got cold. and it snowed. a lot. like a Ba-jillion inches. It was the heavy kind, too. and i had to shovel it. after, i was tired and sore and realized just how out of shape this ol’ gal is.

SO. i made some homemade butternut squash crab bisque (recipe soon!) baked some bread, made these:

and lamented the taste of fresh strawberries.

But this quicky dessert hit the spot. it’s light and lovely very UNLIKE snow.

To make Strawberry “ShortCakes”

12 pizzelle cookies. (you can buy any sort of waffle wafer like cookie you wish)

1 pint cream

1/2 a package of strawberries (frozen)

2 T. strawberry jam

splash of tangerine juice, or grand marnier

splash of red wine

WHip up cream with a dash of vanilla extract and sweeten to your liking using sugar OR agave. Stick in freezer to firm (about 30 minutes)

in a small sauce pot, combine frozen strawberries, jam, wine, juice, and a little water. cook on medium and stir to prevent “bubbling over”. when strawberries are soft, mush with a fork and continue to cook until the sauce is reduced to a slight thickness. take off heat and put in bowl let sit to cool.

To assemble. put one cookie on bottom, spoon frozen cream onto cookie. add syrup. (should be at room temp by now). add another cookie, dollop of cream, more strawberry. dust with sugar and drink with a simple white tea. Bliss!

How to Poach an Egg (*critical info!)

Poach up your eggs. Poach em up. keep that poacher poachin…

You still there? good. that was a test. i love you for it.

Do you love oozy yolks and crunchy toast and mustard sauce? weird. Me too!

Do you love sister time and wine for breakfast and brunch with friends! Rockin.

Do you love sunshine on your food? yeah, its a cool thing we do.

Do you know how to poach eggs? Properly? in a pot of water? hard. core.

Naaaaw, not true.

It’s actually easy once you get your grove down. TO BEGIN:

fill a medium sauce pan with cold water. add 1 tsp. of white vinegar. slowly raise the heat and bring to (and keep at!) a simmer. No more, No Less. This is important. Around the Medium Low range should keep everybody happy.

With a slotted spoon, or a wooden spoon, swirl the water. Clock or counter wise, you decide. just swirl it nice and good. Break the egg in the middle of the “whirlpool”. The current from the water keeps the egg all nice and together as it cooks. It takes about 2 minutes to soft poach an egg. Carefully extract from pot using slotted spoon and put on top of toast, english muffin, latke, carrot parsnip apple cakes, spinach and ham, or just in a bowl of Chalula would do the trick nicely.

Don’t cry over broken yolk either, its not a big deal.

*one laughs and curses a lot while poaching eggs. please, ear muff the children if this is disconcerting.

 

Honey+Pink Peppercorns

This is a lesson about bizarre things turning out right.

Instances:

I have a friend who wore a homemade duck tape tuxedo to his senior Prom. He was the coolest person there.

I put pink peppercorns and honey on vanilla ice cream for breakfast. I am the coolest person here.

Ice cream in winter?! she must be crazy.

No, no, no. What’s crazy is reading a book about cadavers at lunchtime and laughing out loud. weird AND gross.

This, this is just visionary, my friends.

Pink Peppercorns are milder, they lend themselves beautifully to the sweet and smooth. Its hard to describe the sensation of these flavors. So i want you to try it and tell me what you think.

Its almost February. we deserve this. Are you feeling good? i hope so.

ugh. real life.

eat ice cream for breakfast! we’re all grown now, we’re entitled.

xxoo

Megs

Honey Pink Peppercorn Sundae

1 scoop vanilla ice cream

drizzle of good honey

a few well crushed peppercorns

if you wanna get crazy, garnish with some cinnamon sugar “croutons” or feathery anise cookies. yum!