I think it’s safe to say that most of us seek congruity in our lives- harmony and peace– whether it’s through watching re-runs of our favorite television shows, by standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a small kitchen sharing laughs with our loved ones, by writing in complete and utter silence, or by opening the curtains on a summer morning, only to discover a picturesque day waiting outside the window.
For me, peace is the feeling that you get when you wake up early on a Saturday morning, ready to take on the day. It’s the sound of people snoring, and the hubbub of the over-sized air conditioner in the living room struggling to cool the entire house. It is the feeling of standing barefoot in a small kitchen–covered in grey and blue Jackson Pollocke-d linoleum tiles–wearing basketball shorts that barely fit and an azzurro blue pinstriped dress shirt that could easily accommodate two.
When I awoke early Saturday morning, I felt in peace for the first time in a long time. I haven’t been home much, which explains a lot (even my lack of posting). The night before, I planned to push all of my work aside, I turned off my cell phone, and shut down my laptop. I was relieving myself of anything that didn’t involve creating in the kitchen.
I had several punnets of strawberries from the farmers’ market waiting to be used up. I grabbed a legal pad from my backpack, my favorite pen, and began jotting down what I’d make with the berries. First on the menu– Strawberry-Vanilla Swirled Ice Cream. Three words: To. Die. For.
I have to admit, I am the clingy type when it comes to recipes. When I have an utterly extraordinary recipe for something, it usually takes a lot for me to try a new one. Brownies are no exception to this rule, even if I have shared a small handful (this, this, and this) of brownie recipes with you in the past. Up until mid-April, it was nearly impossible for someone to convince me not to make these cocoa brownies to pop in the freezer for oh-so-convenient snacking. So, what happened in mid-April that convinced me that it was time to try another brownie recipe? Well, it was less than 24-hours until a gluten-free dinner party that I was invited to, and let’s just say that I was clueless as to what I was bringing.
I promised everyone I’d bring something with chocolate, and with chocolate, there simply must be a generous amount of dark muscovado sugar to accompany it (I’ve been obsessed with this stuff). I went through a never-ending list of possible things to make; I eventually settled on brownies. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t end a meal without a brownie (Except for my sister who isn’t big on eating anything with chocolate. Weirdo.) I threw the brownies together, carefully noting the mass of each ingredient and the order they were mixed in. I was aiming for fudgy-bellied morsels of chocolate-y goodness studded with shards of macadamia nuts and viridescent pistachio pieces still blushing with their residual rosy skins.
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.