You guys…these are the pop-tarts of my dreams. My dreammzzzz.
I was that kid who would sleep over your house and eat all of the pop tarts and watch tons of television. I grew up deprived of fun things so now that I’m an adult, I make pop tarts whilst watching trashy television. (I can see my mother doing her famous eye roll right now.) I’m just making stuff like this to recover from my structured childhood.
For the recipe (the crust is my favorite!) and more pictures, head over to PBS Food.
It was the day before Valentine’s day and I was contemplating what I should make for Josh as a present. I settled on doughnut ice cream and was taking Amelia for her right-before-evening walk. I started contemplating the execution: soaking the doughnuts, infusing them in the milk vs. pureeing them in a blender with the milk and cream and then straining them.
We walk past the elementary school and out walks Sebastian. He’s six-ish, wearing a backpack that’s filled with way too many books, making it practically the size of him. He waves at Amelia and she immediately starts shaking her body with excitement like she’s doing The Twist. Sebastian asks if he can walk her to the corner and I say ok. We start to walk and he begins to tell me how he loves corgis and how they’re The Queen’s dog. He then asks if he can run and have her chase him in the field attached to the school. I say ok again and let her off the leash. He bolts down the field, she takes off, trying her hardest to catch up. They both run in the street and almost give me a heart attack, which makes me scream at both of them, asking if they’re lunatics. They come back and my stomach reenters my body. They run back and forth back and forth. Staring at their young energy makes me feel old, it makes me wish I was the one who was running, which is absurd because it could be. All I’d have to do is just run.
Sebastian falls to the grass and Amelia starts licking his face and he’s laughing and saying ew and laughing some more until finally Amelia stops and lays next to him. The sun is setting in this way only Los Angeles can set a sun. Hues of pink and blue and coral shoot out from the horizon making me contemplate God and nature and everything I say I don’t believe in. It’s transcendent.
I sit in the grass with them and listen while Sebastian tells me a confusing story, the way six-year-olds tell stories. I listen and nod and smile and listen some more and say to myself this is what good is. Sebastian’s brother calls him and they head home. Amelia and I walk off in the opposite direction to finish our walk.
And then I come home and make some of the best ice cream I’ve ever made.
Every year Valentine’s Day approaches and I’m like, oh please make it stop. The other day I was reading Anne’s post, which reminded me how much I loved Valentine’s Day as a kid. All those school parties! All the treats, candies and glittery, handmade valentines I’d send my friends—why am I so meh about it now?! Oh yeh…there was that one time…
I was in third grade and had convinced my mom that it was very necessary to go to the grocery store and buy a few dozen of those shitty cupcakes with tons of sprinkles and stuff on ‘em. I was pumped. So stoked. I went to class, I had my cute outfit on, had my Valentine’s day pocket-thingys…you know, the big heart with the front pocket so friends could put V-Day cards in ‘em.
Right before the party we had recess so the adults could set up and get everything ready. This is when things took a turn for the worst.
I remember walking past the swing set, not paying attention at all because my mind was on the party, and then boom! Seemingly out of nowhere a gigantic foot hit my face. I fell to the ground and all I could hear is one kid yelling, “Ew! Gross! She’s bleeding.” I remember saying, “No I’m noooot!” Because, if I was bleeding I knew what that meant; it meant no party. And that was totally unacceptable.
Soon enough an adult headed over and I was carried to the school doctor. I remember looking in the mirror, as the nurse attempted to console me, taking note of my gigantic lip and bloody shirt. Pretty sure I still asked if I could go to the party. I knew the answer but I had to give it one last shot. My dad came rushing from work and took me Chili’s. We sat at the bar area and I drank a milkshake and had the fajitas. It was my favorite, but nothing could top the party.
I’m standing here eating a slice of this tart, in front of the mirror, studying this stupid wrinkle that has appeared—literally out of no where!—on my forehead. The wrinkle line is a vertical situation and is just sitting happily right in between my two eyebrows. I think it’s showed up—and is probably here to stay—because when I watch TV or read a book, I scrunch my face up. It’s my “concentration face.” I’ve made it for as long as I can remember. I suppose it’s just the way my face settles. Bad move, my friends. Bad move!
It’s made me think about how I don’t have a skincare routine. I don’t really have a regimen. And maybe I should. Ugh. Why can’t I be nineteen forever. Actually, nineteen was stressful. I just want nineteen-year-old skin forever. That’d be better. Since that’s impossible, I guess I need to figure out a skin treatment situation. Do you do this? Please share. Right now I wash my face with Cetaphil and then rub a bit of Josie Maran’s Argan Oil all over my face and that’s it. And that feels like a lot to me. I know it’s not enough…I just know it.
Panna cotta is serious. Most people don’t exactly love panna cotta. And I get it. I do.
Shitty panna cotta is super stiff and gelatinous, in the worse way possible. Good panna cotta melts once it hits your tongue. I’ve had numerous terrible panna cottas served to me over the years. Most have been at mediocre restaurants where you leave feeling like you overpaid, even though the prices aren’t necessarily astronomical. Isn’t that the worst?
There’s a recent article (what timing!) on Bon Appetit’s all about panna cotta and whether it’s a legit dessert. Some of the points dismissing it are valid. I think many times it’s this throwaway dessert; an item restaurants—that are without a pastry chef—can slap on the menu by simply adding it their prep cook’s laundry list of to-dos because, it’s panna cotta, and everybody can make it. The problem is, most people can’t execute panna cotta correctly. They don’t do it with a soft enough hand; they don’t flirt with the line of it not firming up.
That tight rope is a tough one to walk, but it must be done, because if it isn’t then all you’ll be left with is stiff, shitty panna cotta. And who wants that?
While texture is the upmost importance with panna cotta, the second most important thing is flavor.
I tend to think straight-up cow’s milk panna cotta is a bit boring. I prefer mixing in a bit of yogurt and lacing it with vanilla bean for added fragrance.
I spent last night making a teepee for Amelia, which took me a surprisingly short amount of time. The tough part was actually convincing her that this is the place you sleep, see! I did everything; place treats inside, transfer all of her toys to the back of the teepee, get in it myself, hoping she’d maybe get jealous and join me. Nothing. It’s like she hates me. Or hates it, which makes me sad because I bought a grommet-maker for this thing! When am I going to need a grommet-maker again?
As I sat there trying to figure out ways to communicate to her that this your home/stop laying on the couch and spreading all your hairs all over my stuff, I grabbed a small bowl of this granita-situation out of the freezer. It’s delicious, refreshing and the easiest thing in the world to prepare. I sat in the teepee, eating this thing and what do you know, the little beast was now super interested in the teepee/me/the granita. Now, all I have to do is figure out a way to have blood orange granitas in there 24-7.
For the full recipe and more pictures, head over to PBS!
Alfajores, my favorite Peruvian cookie, has been a long-standing favorite. (I first blogged about them two years ago here!) Back in the day, I made them in a smaller version, and I continue to do so. I would categorize them as a deceivingly rich cookie. They’re blond in color so you think nothing of it, but honestly after one big cookie, I’m totally done. The solution has always been simple for me: make them mini!If you’ve never had them or heard of them, I’ll happily explain…
Think short bread cookie sandwich, filled with creamy dulce de leche (Peruvians call it manjar blanco). They’re super easy to make and remind me of being a little kid. The older version calls for white sugar, which results in a crisper cookie. My dad actually prefers the snappy version, but if you’re looking for a softer version, sub in powdered sugar.
I blogged about the newer, softer version over on PBS Food where you can get the full recipe and see more pretty pictures of cookies.
Not sure if you have noticed but the internets are full to the brim with gift guides. I feel like two years ago, I’d see…oh I dunno, like one or two or ten gift guides. Now? A million, I swear. They’re everywhere. So, like all of us, I’ve started sifting through them because I’m a good American and looove buying stuff. But then I realized that they’re not really all that helpful because everyone in my life is so picky and such weirdos. The gift guide for “boyfriends” or “dads” doesn’t really apply to the men in my life. Instead I’ve just found all sorts of new stuff that I want for myself, which sort of isn’t the point to gift guides.
One thing I do encourage is gifting something to yourself. I do this every year and it’s the best, seriously. It’s never a big ticket item or anything, just a little something that no one knows I want. I’m not sure what it’s going to be this year but I’m on the hunt. Send your unusual gift ideas my way.
And now, cookies.
And not just any cookies but persimmon cookies. I feel like people only half like persimmons.
I think they’re sooo beautiful. I’ve used fuyus in quite a bit of recipes this year but this recipe uses its counterpart, the hachiya persimmon. Fuyus are short and stout and can be eaten if ripe or super firm. Hachiyas should be eaten when they’re suuuuper ripe; I’m talking very very fragile and soft to the touch.
Hey giiiirl…do you hate gingersnaps like the rest of the world? Be honest…
The internet in the past week has taught me that EVERYONE hates gingersnaps. Maybe it’s a crunchy cookie thing or maybe people dislike the combo of gingerbread and the texture of the snap. I’m not totally sure. I do, however, know that when I asked what kind of cookies should appear during cookie week, a soft tender lil’ gingerbread cookie was suggested at least a dozen times.
I’m going to be honest with you, I’m definitely not a sugar cookie master. I usually don’t even really like them. I love the way they look, actually, and often times find myself in awe of people like Marian. She’s a cookie artist. Chance are, if I walk into a holiday party and there’s a plate of sugar cookies seated right next to a plate of chocolate chip cookies, it’d be an obvious choice for me. Sugar cookies tend to be too sweet and flat-tasting for my liking. They’re sort of there just to look cute. And they do a good job at it—they’re the cutest!
I decided that if I was going to make sugar cookies, they had to taste good. So I swapped out some all-purpose for my beloved rye flour. I added some brown sugar for some depth of flavor and threw in a nice dollop of créme frâiche. I think it adds a nice texture. (Don’t worry, you can substitute sour cream if you’re unable to find créme frâiche at the market. P.S. Trader Joe’s sells it for a pretty inexpensive price.)