Thursday, February 23, 2012

happy birthday to me

I am 19 years old today.

Think of all the breaths I have breathed and candles I have blown out, and people I have met and tears that I have cried. Would anyone ever have a baby if they really thought about all the hurt, and all the love, and all the pain, and all the sorrow, and all the joy, and all the delight that one person could experience, in the short/long span of just 19 years?

I think it's going to be the best year yet. 
I really do. 
And I'm going to share a secret with you. 

I want to make music.
I want to sing. 
I want to write. 

And I don't know how, and I don't know why. But it's what I want. And need. And this year I am going to claim it. I'll let you know how it works out. There is so much to do.

I want to think
again of dangerous
and noble things.
I want to be light 
and frolicsome
I want to be 
improbable beautiful
and afraid of 
as though I had 
-Mary Oliver 


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Raspberry Coconut Cake

The question is, ultimately, how much do you say? 
Do you say too much?
Too little?

And I watch people conduct these elaborate dances around themselves. I do it too.
We talk and we text and we tell and we photograph every moment, because this youth we're living is so effervescent. 

And there are a million mediums to communicate through and with. And sometimes it is too much. Too many heys and howsitgoins and whatareyoudoinglaters and holdonsomeonetakeapictures. 

I want to just stop. 
I want to stop. 

I want to wash some dirty dishes in a real sink. And I want to take a long bath. I want to knead some bread. Or go swimming, arms pulling in long front crawls.  Or wash my dog, only I can't because she's dead. I want to sweep a floor. Or paint. I want to water a garden and smell the wet dirt. I want the real things. The tangible things. The holding, touching, clinking, breathing, sandwich-making parts of everyday life back. Because no one told me that college would make me forget what normal living and life is like. 
I wanted to bake a cake. 

I wanted to bake a cake and talk to myself.

So I did. 

And I combined sugar and butter, and listened to the steady hum of the mixer.
And I measured out flour and baking soda and powder with the little silver spoons. 
And I mixed in raspberries and blackberries and coconut. (Beautiful words!) 
And then I frosted it with cream cheese and sugar.
And then I ate that cake. 
Life is so good. 

It is the sweet simple things in life that are real after all. -Laura Ingalls Wilder

But really. 


Raspberry Coconut Cake
adapted from

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 grams) 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
3/4 unsweetened shredded coconut
1 to 1 1/2 cups raspberries or blackberries
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. Using a spatula, gently stir in coconut and raspberries. 
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.

Cream Cheese Frosting

5 ounces (142 grams) cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces or 42 grams) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (4 ounces or 120 grams) confectioners sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy. Sift confectioners sugar over cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until incorporated. Spread frosting over top of cooled cake.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Perfection In Your Mouth Chocolate Chip Cookies

The thing is, every day I feel so endlessly overstimulated by so many people and professors and reading and walks and phone calls and avoidance of homework that I just... Feel empty. A little obliterated actually. I wake up raring to go and collapse into bed at the end of the day, sleep like the dead and then do everything all over again the next day. Don't get me wrong, these days are great. Truly wonderful. I love love love them. 

Also, right now I feel like I should be in a band called SO MANY FEELINGS. 
Because that's how I've been feeling lately: there are just TOO MANY FEELINGS. 

Anyways, to fill this pit of exhaustion and Too Much Feelingness I've been eating a lot of chocolate chip cookies. It's not stress eating because I am always genuinely hungry. That's another thing. I'm never full. 
Anyways, basically the point of all this is to say, I am completely and utterly besotted with these cookies. My roommate is too. We eat eat eat them. We are at the point where we don't even try to rationalize eating them. We just eat them. I had a cookie with breakfast today. It's all part of balanced meal. I try and start my day right. Because these chocolate chip cookies are perfect. And when I say perfect I mean, PERFECT. They are crisp, they are soft, they are sweet, they are salty, they are chocolatey, they are wholesome, they are home.  

Basically, the point of all THIS is to say that these cookies honestly have curative powers or something. Because I always feel better after eating one. Or three. 


Perfection In Your Mouth Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

P.S. I already wrote about these forever ago, but I've fallen in love with them all over again and I just wanted to remind you how good they are. 

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips or 2 cups store-bought chips or chunks
1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Whisk together flour, salt and baking soda.
Working with a stand mixer w/paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed for about 1 minute until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until well blended. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. On low speed mix in chocolate and nuts.
Spoon on tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls.
Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, for 10 to 12 minutes. Until light brown on edges and golden in center.
Allow cookies to rest for one minute. Then using spatula transfer to cooling rack.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

life lately

Darlings, I miss you so much. I miss cooking. I miss frying eggs. I miss perfect vegetables. Despite these trials though. I think maybe I am the happiest I have been in a long time. These days are so long. They are like Carole King songs. With lots of ache and love all at the same time. 

 I try and talk things through a lot.

 Everyone has so many interesting things to say. 

And even though I never think about being old, or ever really believed I would get old, the other day I discovered that my childhood is behind me. And that is the most bittersweet feeling. 

The other day I imagined living in a beautiful quaint house with windows that had wide sashes and bowls of irises and wide white beds. I'd never imagined that before. I have literally never thought about being a grown up before. I have thought about the privileges that came with being a grown up, but never the actuality of being a grown up. 

I don't read the news anymore. I'm okay with that. I am okay with living in a bubble, because how long can you live in a bubble of youth and homework and wondering what you'll do on Friday night? 

Not very long. 

I'm trying to appreciate all this beauty and weirdness around me, and simply be exuberantly young. 

The point of all this is to say that  I'll have something delicious for you next time. I just wanted to stop by. And say hi. And wish you well. xoxo