I absolutely love (LOVE!) listening to The Splendid Table on NPR. I have been a fan for as long as I can remember and it is a staple in my podcast collection for long plane rides and road trips. Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift developed this recipe for their cookbook The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper and I wanted to give it a try in my home kitchen. Boy, they weren’t kidding when they said, “If you can melt chocolate and stir, you can make these cakes.” They were so simple – albeit a bit expensive due to the required chocolate – but so worth it!
I’m of the opinion, “Why buy something when you can make it?” There are so many items we eat on a semi-daily basis that can be made in our own kitchens – why are we throwing money away on stabilizers, preservatives, and any number of other icky chemicals that comprise our “food”? Think of that loaf of bread sitting on your counter; with a little time and practice, you could have a fresh loaf (or two) waiting to be toasted or used for your turkey sandwich! Your morning bowl of granola from the box? Yes, that too, can be quickly made, and you’ll recognize each and every ingredient in it! Jams, jellies, and preserves can be made and jarred, and you can even make your own peanut butter to go with them! Heck, I even made my own worcestershire sauce once! I’m not saying you need to go that far, but you could if you wanted.
For the longest time I had been craving a slice of banana cream pie. I know I could have probably satisfied that craving by heading to the local Village Inn, but why do such a thing when baking my own would much that much more satisfying? Cream pies are, in my opinion, overlooked in the dessert world. They’re finicky – what with the custard, and all. They are time-consuming, as the crust must be pre-baked and totally cooled prior to being filled. And often, they simply don’t turn out well; they may be too runny, too “stiff”, or the crust might not be hearty enough to stand up to the custard filling. For whatever reason, I felt like accepting the challenge. I love bananas and I love pastry cream, so what the heck, right? Bring it on.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,900 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.
If you’re anything like me, you tend to overindulge during the holiday season – we’re not even to New Year’s, yet – and then regret it later. I know that after rich, decadent meals and equally sinful desserts, all I want is a Big Salad, à la Elaine Benes. My body craves vegetables, leafy greens, and no meat whatsoever. Let me introduce to you the Green Soup.
Yesterday was my 34th birthday. I received a card from my husband which revealed to me that 34 years is 12,419 days. So often we only think about birthdays in the context of years. What did we accomplish in that year? Are we better or worse off than the year prior? Did we live up to our expectations or fall short of our destination? But his card got me thinking in terms of days. To me, days are much more manageable than years; I can better handle the expectations of a given day rather than the enormity of an entire year. I can enjoy my small successes, ponder my missteps, and consider that if I am so lucky to get another day, how might I improve? How might I make the day of another person better? Or sometimes, I think about spending the following day simply enjoying the gift of being alive.
Are we too hard on ourselves? Do we forget that our days are limited? I think sometimes the answer is ‘yes.’ Perhaps we take for granted that another year will pass, we’ll have another birthday, and life will go on. I’m not trying to be a downer here – my point is to be grateful for each individual day we are allowed, and to spend those days doing for others and doing for ourselves. I don’t “live each day as though it’s my last,” but instead, I try to just be the most authentic “me” on that particular day.
I spent my 34th birthday being grateful for my husband, my family, and my lovely friends. I spent it feeling proud of how far I’ve come in accomplishing my personal goals. I spent it reflecting on the mistakes I’ve made, knowing I’ll make more, and I’m okay with that. I spent it eating wonderful food with my dear husband in this great city I call home.
I thought about 12,419 days. Sunrises and sunsets, the change of the seasons, miles traveled, apartments and houses, parties, classes, books read, walks taken, hugs given, tears shed. I am so, so grateful for all the days. Thanks to those of you who read this blog. No recipe today, just reflection and gratitude.
Sweet honey cornbread and black coffee for my birthday breakfast.