Sunday, May 27, 2012


                                        my sweet city


I am writing you because I can't sleep. That's a lie. I don't even have my pajamas on. I just have this intense fear of trying to fall asleep. Sleep itself is great. But trying to fall asleep? Don't even get me started. I hate hate hate trying to fall asleep. I spend a lot of time pregaming sleeping- I attempt to coax my brain into quiet, so I watch movies, read, stretch, listen to music, clean. But mostly I write. That's my explanation of what I'm doing here right now. 

I like it in movies when someone says, "HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM." Actually, the only movie anyone has ever said that in is Apollo 13 with Bill Murray, I think, which was actually a very traumatic film for me because being lost in space ranks among my greater fears. 

I was never meant to be an astronaut. 

Anyways, I'm telling you "HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM," because I have just not been feeling the food love lately. 
We call this Problem City. 
And I supposedly write a blog about food, which is ridiculous, because for the past year I have not talked about food at all, mostly I've written about MOI. 
We call this Oversharing. 

Anyways, I know it is summer (a fact I frequently repeat to myself) and I am trying to ease back into the life of being a normal person who goes to bed at normal times and eats regular foods. And I have been returning to the old things that gave and still give me joy, things such as cooking that I wasn't able to do very much this year. But my hunger to truly EAT has kind of died since coming home. Don't get me wrong, I eat all the time and enjoy it greatly. But the desire and excitement to try new recipes and to really spend time in the kitchen is kind of gone right now.

That said, here are some pleasantly summery things I plan to cook for you:

Doughnuts, pref. jelly filled or cake
Healthful smoothies that are green
Ice Cream
Something grilled
Homemade pasta

SO. That's all. Just so you know. I have to go to bed. I will sleep now.
I will tell you more about everything later. 


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Raspberry Rhubarb Summer Dream Cream Pie

When I was younger, I had a mild obsession with Audrey Hepburn. 

Audrey Hepburn
And I read a biography of her. 

And I became rather depressed, because Audrey Hepburn was absolutely perfect. Absolutely perfect. 
She was a lady
She had eyebrows that I will be envious of forever. She was gracious, charming, delightful, positive, humble, generous, lovely, loving, lovable, classy, beautiful, friendly, romantic, exquisite, kind, vivacious, witty, starry, inspirational, inspired, poised, wise, spiritual, and many other adjectives with positive and/or uplifting connotations. She had fabulous taste, was a muse to untold legions, had The Longest Neck, chewed with her mouth closed, was a ballerina, never farted, and walked a billion miles a day so that she never ever gained weight ever. Did I mention her eyebrows?

Audrey Hepburn

Only Audrey Hepburn can be that many good adjectives at once. 

But you know what?
That bitch never made a Raspberry Rhubarb Summer Dream Cream Pie, or else we would have all heard about it.
If she had made this pie, we would all be worshiping at her sainted alter. 

You know who makes Raspberry Rhubarb Summer Dream Cream Pie?


And you should too. 

Show that dead starlet a thing or two. 

Oh I am being slightly morbid and very vulgar today. I do apologize. 

 It's just because I'm so envious of those eyebrows. 

Anyways, the thing is, this pie is so flamboyantly delicious it deserves a string of adjectives even longer than Audrey's. Because it is really that good. Tart and sweet and rich and not rich and comforting, toothsome, delectable, super fine, lip-smacking, melt-in-your-mouth, thrilling, marvelous, splendid, BOFFO, dreamy, peachy, ducky, colorful, crisp, soft, warm, cold, flaky, tender, delicious, deliriously good, gone-in-three-minutes, yum, fabulous, excellent, heart warming, soul warming, practically-a-spiritual-experience, summery, blissful blissful blissful goodness. 

My eyebrows will never be counted among the splendors of the world. But this pie certainly will be.


Raspberry Rhubarb Summer Dream Cream Pie

I love this so much. A new favorite. We ate the entire pie in less than a day. 

One half recipe Best Pie Crust 

5 eggs
1 scant c. sugar
4 T. melted butter
½ t. vanilla
1/4 t. cinnamon
1 pint raspberries

1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb, plus an additional 1/3 cup sugar

1 t. sugar
¹/8 t. cinnamon

Position an oven rack to the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°.

Lightly butter a 9-inch pie plate. On a well-floured surface, roll pie dough into a circle large enough to cover the pie plate and hang 1 inch over the sides. Fit the dough into the pie plate, crimp the crust and place it in the refrigerator to chill while preparing the filling.
Combine the chopped rhubarb and 1/3 cup sugar and cook over moderate heat in a medium size saucepan, just until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. 

Beat the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla and cinnamon in a mixer, or with a whisk, until completely combined and pale yellow. Remove the pie shell from the refrigerator, pour rhubarb/sugar combination  and raspberries into shell making an even layer. Pour filling over the fruit.

Combine sugar and cinnamon for topping and sprinkle over entire pie. Place pie on baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the filling has set and the crust is light brown. Allow the pie to cool. Eat.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pasta with Creamy Tomato Sauce

Here is the true story of me and this pasta:

I just finished my freshman year of college. Talk about VICTORY. 


Talk about time to de-stress,time to sing really loud 100% of the time, time to go to the pool, time to dance again, time to read a real book, time to sleep in, time to work, time to contemplate and party and not think at all, time to adventure, time to clean my closet, and perhaps most important, time to eat real food again. 

As my first meal back at home, it seemed appropriate to make pasta. I'd been envisioning it for several days. I wanted to make a bowl of pasta that was thick and rich and a little heavy, the sort of bowl of pasta that would take me half an hour to eat. A bowl of pasta I could luxuriate in. The kind of pasta I would want to take a bath in. I mean, it would be a sludgey bath, but a bath, nevertheless. 

I do not believe in many things, but I believe in kindness and more than 6 hours of sleep and dessert first and indulgence and comfort food. 

And for me, comfort food is this kind of pasta. It's flavorful but not overwhelming, not exactly healthful but there are vegetables in it so you can feel mildly virtuous, and  as with most foods, it's very filling if you eat a lot of it. 

This pasta heralds the depths of summer we're about to encounter, barely hints at all the homemade pasta and fresh tomatoes and salads I plan on eating, all the watermelon that I can't wait for, all the mangos that I'm going to devour, all the pies I'm going to make. 



Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

I added some fresh tomatoes and bell peppers to my sauce, but ended up blending them in, because sometimes I just can't handle vegetables. I topped the pasta with some arugula, because I like it, and some more cheese. I was very happy. 

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 whole medium onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic
2 cans (15 ounce each) tomato sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup heavy cream
grated parmesan cheese
1-1/2 pound fettuccine or bowtie pasta

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.

Heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for a minute or so. Pour in tomato sauce and add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Stir and cook over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and stir in cream. Add cheese to taste, then check seasonings. Stir in pasta and chopped basil and serve immediately. (Thin with pasta water before adding basil if needed.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake

Right now, what I really want to do is cry. 

Not because I am sad. 

I'm not. I'm calm. I'm joyous. It's summer. 

I want to cry with tiredness. 

I keep thinking about all the places I've been and all the people I've met and hugged and laughed with and in my mind I see all the paths I've taken, as if every place I've been this year is crossed and zig-zagged with red threads, all finally leading back to where I am now: home. 

Like this song, I'm home again. 

And home is the same, the doors and chairs and books and rugs are all the same. But I have changed. 

My mind is flooded with ideas and people and places. It's just too much. 
I am so grateful for all of it. Even though the past few months are incomprehensible to me, even though I have no idea what just happened, I know it was good. All of it. All the joys and all the aches. It's all been so FUCKING GRAND. I would do it again in a heartbeat. All of it.

I am just so grateful.

But the strangeness of being home again, of listening to my parents talk and eat dinner and drink beer, and the sound of my brothers playing basketball and shouting to their friends in the front yard, and here, me alone again, in the room I am trying to reclaim as my own, the unreality keeps coming at me in waves. 

Where have I been? What have I been doing? 


I need to stop. 

What does it matter? It's the past. 

There is only now. 

And in my now, I want lots of strawberry shortcake. 

As a sign of gratitude I give you a recipe. Finally. 


Strawberry Shortcake
From The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

I'm actually a cheater, I know Strawberry Shortcake is supposed to have whipped cream in the middle and all that jazz, but honestly I only had ice cream. So I just skipped all the extra steps that Alice write about involving the whipped cream and I felt very decadent and super simple. Which is a very good thing. After all YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE. But for those of you who are fussy and like whipped cream more than ice cream I've included the rest of recipe. Also, my mum suggested I make this, so I have to give her credit for the idea. Because I wouldn't have thought of it on my own. She's a genius. 

For Shortcake:

Preheat oven to 400 F. 

Stir together in a large bowl
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons sugar (optional)
2 teaspoons baking power

6 tablespoons (3/4 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces

Cut the butter into the flour with your fingers or a pastry blender until they are the size small peas. Measure: 

3/4 cup heavy cream

Remove 1 tablespoon and set aside. Lightly stir in the remainder of the cream with a fork until the mixture just comes together. Without overworking it, lightly knead the dough a couple of times in the bowl, turn it out onto a lightly floured board, and roll out about 3/4 thick. Cut into eight 1 1/2 inch circles or squares or whatever your heart desires. Reroll the scraps if necessary. 
Place the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and lightly brush the tops with the reserved tablespoon or cream. Bake for 17 minutes or until cooked through and golden. 

The The Other Stuff that is On Shortcake:

Hull and slice about 4 cups of strawberries (roughly 2 pints)
Stir in about 1/4 cup sugar (or to taste

Puree one quarter of the strawberry mixture. Stir the puree back into the sliced strawberries and let sit for 15 minutes.
Combine in a bowl:
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste

Whip together, until the cream just holds a soft shape. Slice in half:

6 baked 2 inch shortcakes or biscuits or whatever

Place the biscuit bottoms on serving plates. Over each biscuit, spoon strawberries and a DOLLOP of the flavored whipped cream. Top with the other biscuit half and dust with powdered sugar if you so wish. Serve immediately.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

i never post recipes anymore

You know what is amazing?
The fact that I have any friends at all. 
I think about this sometimes. 
Because I am so weird. 
So fucking weird. 
So distinctly not normal. 

But then, the hilarious thing, is that whenever I talk to someone else, I am almost immediately convinced of their distinct abnormality. 

I have never met a normal person in my life. 

We are all so fucking messed up. 
Nothing is black and white. 
Nothing is clear. 
Everything is shades of gray.
Everything is messy. 
Everything is complicated and complex and confounding. 

And I have always thought that things could be clear, that people could be normal, that the world was simple. 

It's not. 
Not at all. 

And I am learning to be okay with that. I am trying to love the shades of gray, the loopholes and frustrations and exaggerated twists and turns of being alive and being young and being foolish and doing foolish things and feeling and thinking both not enough and too much at the same time. 

And within this foolish, exaggerated, emotive world, food has taken on this ridiculous importance. 
I have had some wild and glorious and weird times this year, I remember them thusly:

That Night I Embarrassed Myself but the Milkshake Beforehand Was Excellent
The Night of The Best Tiramisu Ever In the History of Mankind
The First Chocolate Malt I Ever Drank with My Brother with The Rolling Stones Blasting
The Eve of the Sad Gelato That Made Me Dislike Tuesdays Less
The Slightly Awkwardly Confessional Thai Dinner
The Disgusting Pizza Eaten at a Ridiculous Hour in a Not Good Place to Eat a Disgusting Pizza
The Insane Potlucks
The Noon of the Delivery of the Apology Cookie
The Afternoon of the Angsty Macaroni and Cheese That Was Surprisingly Good
The Carton of Ice Cream, Eaten in The Rain
The Afternoon of Aloneness and Jasmine Green Tea and a Mysterious Chocolate Confection known as a "Tippy Bar" 
The Night of The Greatest Apple Fritter of My Life On The Way to the Beautiful Park
The Morning of the Regretful Egg Sandwich 

I would say I've been living fully. 
I would say that it's been great. That it's been grand.
That I'm ready for summer. 
That I bet you are too. 
That I bet you're ready for a real recipe. 
I am too. 

But in the meantime, cheers to more shades of gray, to more blessed foolishness, to more meals. 
To more eating with the friends you've got. 
To more weirdness. 
To more bewilderment. 
To more wonderment.