I’ve been a hot mess lately. My hair is as crazy looking as it was when I stepped out of the shower this morning. At home, a huge pile of clothing sits patiently on the chair in my bedroom (as it has for over a week), waiting to be folded. Books and several hundred pages of hand-written and typed notes from this semester are haphazardly thrown in my backpack. I have an overflowing sink of emails to read and respond to. I have yet to bake my mother’s birthday cake (did I mention that her birthday is TODAY?!). And my “To-Do” list? I’ve disregarded it completely.
Final exams have made their way into my life, and although I should be studying right now, I need to procrastinate before I pass out from pushing myself into doing too much work. I know, writing seems like work, but I need to write about something entirely unrelated to school. I need this.
As I write this post, I am surrounded by a sierra of clothing, an unmade bed, books haphazardly flung across my bedroom floor and a checklist as endless as the Mahabharata. I am preparing for my brief trip to San Francisco tomorrow morning (more on that in a later post), and I figured that I’d share a recipe for Brown Butter Carnival Bars before my trip.
This adapted recipe comes from my friend Heidi’s newest book, Super Natural Everyday. The book is filled with gorgeous photos, a thoughtful design, and beautifully written recipes. I’ve had several great lunches and suppers thanks to Heidi’s latest book, but these bars have become my addiction. They’re like crack. I’m sure others that have made the Carnival Cookies from SNE will agree with me.
When I originally sat down to write this post, I was not going to make a big deal that The Sophisticated Gourmet has turned 2 on this very day, but after speaking with friends and realizing that I was being foolish for not making a big deal about it, I had to scrap my old post and hold off on pressing the “Publish” button. Dear readers friends- TSG is 2-years-old today! Can you believe it?!
It was just two years ago when I sat down, wrote a few paragraphs, and posted a few recipes on TSG’s old home at Blogger.com. I didn’t expect the posts to be read, but after making an account with an online food community, FoodBuzz, my life changed that very week. I friended random strangers on the web. The first person I spoke with was my friend, Rachael from Tokyo Terrace. After literally 15 seconds of requesting her as a friend on FoodBuzz, she sent me a message welcoming me to the community; we briefly conversed. I can’t remember what the conversation was about, but I did think it was a little weird that some stranger was being so nice to me on the web. I also crossed my fingers that she was not some crazy old lady using a photo she found on Google Images. At the time, I had known the web to be a place of crazy people, pedophiles, teens constantly changing their MySpace and Facebook profile photos on an hourly basis, and parents making fake social networking accounts to “protect” their children.
It’s not quite strawberry season yet, at least not around these parts, but there are times when I find myself food shopping and I can’t help but stare at the joyous, organic, red berries that constantly summon my attention with several winks and a price tag that reads “On SALE!” Sales are my weakness. And so are gorgeous-looking strawberries.
Strawberries are possibly one of my most favorite fruit. Although they are available practically all-year-long in supermarkets and grocery stores across the country, when they’re not in season–usually–they’re practically good for nothing. They’re sometimes vile- both crunchy and sour, and lack in any strawberry flavor. Some will disagree about my last statement but I did say usually; there are a handful of companies that do have great tasting organic strawberries year-round.
When I do find myself picking up a package or two of these glorious red berries that are lacking in the taste department, I most-often find myself baking them. During strawberry season, rarely am I every interested in baking the marvelously sweet strawberries that I pick up from the farmers’ market– I’d much rather munch on them, toss them into a summery salad, or make jam to preserve their magnificent taste for when I need a burst of strawberry goodness during the dreary winter months.
Last week, I stared at a five-pound bag of Chickpea flour sitting in my baking cabinet. It cried to be opened. I immediately closed the cabinet, walked away, and within seconds, I ran back into our kitchen, opened the cabinet door, and grabbed the bag of flour off its shelf. I refused to ignore its cry. The first thing that came to my mind was Onion Pakoras with a two-second Ketchup Chutney.
Pakoras are something I grew up on. I love how how imperfect and rustic they are once out of the hot oil. And I love that they bring brightness to a dreary day. I also adore the sweet and spicy ketchup chutney served with them.
Often, on rainy days, I seek comfort food. I crave savory and sweet. And I adore quick and simple. Although I’ve held back on this onion pakora recipe for a week, when these were made, I was absolutely sure that it was Spring. With the small duvet of snow that blanketed the New Jersey area yesterday morning, I am now unsure of what season it is, but I am praying that the snow and rain are not a teaser to something worse. Imagine: snow in May. That’d be interesting. Wouldn’t it?