365 days later: anniversary

lan-devin-eng-00762
photo courtesy of luke eshleman & used with permission

365 days ago
you hit it
and thank gawd,
you didn’t quit it.

i was a notoriously shitty student
who never reached full academic potential,
especially in the subject of math.
you join the legions of teachers
and tutors
and professors
who make me realize
what a mockery i am with numbers,
because i cannot begin to count
the infinite sum of reasons
as to why i love you so.

to further my grievance,
i cannot even fall back on
the one thing i usually can rely on:
Words.
because you always get me tongued tied,
and because you started reading way before i did,
and your vocabulary is worth more than $5.

instead,
i will feed you cake.
because you are my heart,
you who by some grace
not only loves me,
but acts loving towards me,
you who i dreamed of for so long,
but my limited imagination
never could fathom
just how fucking awesome you are.

i love you dw,
i will always be your
Ride Or Die Bitch.

Chocolate Tahini Cake + Rosemary infused buttercream

chocolate tahini cake + rosemary frosting
makes one 2 layered 8″ cake, entirely too big for two people, and yet, dw & i totally ate the entire thing. together.

*note: this is a riff on my sure-thing chocolate cake that i always fall back on because it’s amazing. the frosting has the heady essence of rosemary, dw calls it a mature flavor. if i make this again, i’d infuse it for a shorter period and make a bigger batch of frosting.

2 cups Sugar
2 Eggs
1 3/4 cup AP flour
1 cup 2% lactose free milk, i used organic valley
3/4 + 1 TBL cup Cocoa
2 TBL canola + coconut oil, i used Spectrum blended oil
6 TBL tahini
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup boiling water

pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

grease 2 round 8″ cake pans

in a large mixer bowl combine dry ingredients.

gradually add eggs, milk, oil + tahini. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes.

remove from mixer; stir in boiling water. (batter will be thin).

pour into prepared pans.

bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans,or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

cool cake in rounds 10 minutes; remove from pans.

cool completely.

Chocolate Tahini Cake + Rosemary infused buttercream

rosemary infused buttercream
makes enough to just crumb coat the two layers. i had high plans to decorate the cake, as i like to collect pretty attired cakes, but when i finished crumb coating i realized that i didn’t have enough frosting, and i was over it. as dw said: “it’s like you finished crumb coating the cake and you went FUCK IT & started putting dishes away.” he knows me so well and yet he stays.

2 sticks of vegan butter, divided, i used earth balance
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 lb powdered sugar
splash of liquid, water or lactose free milk

the night before, melt down 1 stick of vegan butter and add in the sprig of rosemary. don’t let it go too long, just enough to warm through. allow to steep overnight.

next morning, warm up just enough to fish the sprig out. allow to cool to room temp.

add to mixing bowl along with other stick of vegan butter.

whip up with powdered sugar, until reach desired consistency. add more or less liquid to loosen up.

BAM!

Chocolate Tahini Cake + Rosemary infused buttercream

homemade ricotta cheese – lactose free

homemade parsley ricotta

prior to the age of
the Internet
and Email
and Blogging
i was a handwriting
Letter Writer,
and i kept a daily journal.
i haven’t written
in a diary in over
five years.
on a bookshelf,
upstairs,
dw keeps a stack of my
old
pubescent
young adult
twenty-something
ramblings.
for a long time
i believed i’d always write
in bound books,
on ruled paper,
words written without margins,
precariously,
as though they’d fall off the page
without the adhesive
rules of a sentence.
rabid with my memory collecting
that it never occurred to me
that one day
i wouldn’t need it.
i’m too busy, now,
making the memories.
and eating.
i do mourn the slow death
of cursive though.

homemade parsley ricotta

homemade lactose free parsley ricotta
adapted from the Splendid Table

note: back when i figured out that i was lactose intolerant i fully believed that i would never eat cheese again, it was like a slow death i was really sad. then i learned that the harder the cheese, the least amount of lactose in it. then i decided to try my hand at making cheese, vegan and lactose free. i’ve made ricotta before, i just had to look for lactose free stuff. and now, ricotta’s back in my life. happiness again.

1 cup 2% fat lactose free milk, i use organic valley
3 cups lactose free half/half, i use organic valley
juice of one lemon, about 1/4 cup
healthy pinch of salt
chopped parsley, amount to your heart’s content

heat up milk and half/half in pot, on medium heat, to a gentle simmer. remove from heat. add in salt and stir with lemon juice. curds will rise to the top, add the chopped parsley, stir and then give it a few minutes.

you can separate the curds from the whey (the separated liquid) with a cheese cloth and colander. (the leftover whey can be used to make soup, though i’ve never done that before). i use a big spice bag to drain the cheese, hang it over the sink.

drain for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight. just keep in mind that the longer you drain it, the dryer the ricotta will be.

i drain it for about an hour, carefully dump it out of the spice bag, shape into a ball.

a good tip: coat hands with olive oil to shape.

drizzle with olive oil to keep from drying.

slather on toasted bread.

BAM!

fancy crostini

bonus topping ideas:
i roasted up some delicata squash, along with the seeds.
simmered down honey + miso (1:1 ratio) + a splash of water til it reached jam consistency.
sliced figs, cukes, tomato, whatever you have in your pantry.
the combination is only limited to your imagination.

another BAM!

fancy crostini

quinoa sushi rolls

Quinoa Sushi

last weekend i was in
the Dirty South,
for work,
and for play,
and then i ended up
staying for longer than
expected,
or wanted,
and i stressed about what
dw would eat for dinner
while i was away.

nevermind that he’s
a grown ass man
who lived for upwards of
36 years without me
and he turned out just fine perfect.
nevermind that i
left the fridge
and pantry
well stocked.
nevermind that he
successfully made it to
market day
and replenished further
said stocked
fridge & pantry.
i’m a natural stresser
when it comes to
feeding dw.

it might surprise you,
or not,
given the last
paragraph,
but i stress about
what to make for dinner
every night.
so i polled my FB friends
to make the decision for me.
this was one of the options.

Quinoa Sushi

quinoa sushi rolls with quick pickled ginger
gluten free and vegan
makes about 6-7 rolls

*note: i used whatever vegs we had in the pantry, use what is in season and what tickles your fancy. also, i used red quinoa, use whatever quinoa you have on hand, it tastes all the same to me.

sushi vinegar dressing, to dress the quinoa and for the ginger
4 TBL rice vinegar
2 TBL water
2 tsp agave (or superfine sugar)
healthy pinch of sea salt
a few drops of pickled beet juice (very optional, for aesthetic purposes only)

mix all together until well incorporated. reserve half to dress cooked quinoa, the other half to pickle ginger.

a knob of ginger, about 2-3 oz

peel ginger and slice it as thin a you possibly can.
salt and allow to sit for about 30 minutes.
wash & rinse thoroughly, squeeze and pat dry.

in a glass bowl, cover ginger slices with dressing. fridge it for at least an hour. will keep for about a week.

sushi filling
1 cup of quinoa, cooked to package instructions (it’ll come out to about 3 cups cooked). i cooked the quinoa with water to keep vegan, but i won’t judge you if you cook it with stock/broth, dressed with half the vinegar, it should be lukewarm to the touch
prepped stick vegs: carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, if you’re fancy: avocado, raw sushi
sushi nori sheets

using a sushi rolling mat, place nori sheet on top. spread a thin layer of quinoa, leaving a half inch space on either side.

place ingredients on top, along the length. don’t get crazy, you want to be able to roll with ease and keep these bite size.

roll carefully and evening away from, pressing firmly. cut into 1″ pieces.

BAM!

Quinoa Sushi

spice poached pears

Spice Poached Pears

girl, you make my speakers go boom boom
dancin’ on the tailgate in a full moon
that kinda thing makes a man go mmm hmmm

everyday this week
i’ve been jamming to
Luke Bryan
based on his website
he has FIVE albums out
which leads me to believe
that he’s been around awhile
and i’m behind the times
and i have catching up to do.

one would think
with those lyrics
i’d be slightly embarrassed
but nay.
in the privacy of my office,
or car,
or shower,
when the BOOM BOOM part comes on,
you better believe
i’m shaking my ass.

meanwhile, i’d like to think
that these spice poached pears
would make a man,
or anyone,
go mmm hmmm.

Spice Poached Pears

spice poached pears
makes 2

*note: if you have a tall/narrow pot, you can cut back on the liquid amount, but seeing as how i have just a simple sized saucepan that’s what i used. the key is to get as much of the pear submerged as possible, though if you cut the pear in half, submerging isn’t a hardship. if you keep it whole, add in more water & sugar, adjust according to taste.

6 cups water
½ cup sugar, slightly over
4 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
palm full of whole cloves
juice of one lime, if organic, a strip of the zest would be nice
2 bosc pears, peeled

in a saucepan, add the water & spices and lime juice. bring to a boil. lower heat and gently add in the pears. keep an eye out and gently simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes.

your goal is to soften the pear but not to mush. gently remove the pears and allow to cool. you can cut in half, or get fancy with the swirly cutting.

reduce the liquid until it’s slightly thickened, like a simple syrup. drizzle over the pears & garnish with some chopped almonds.

we keep the syrup to add to fizzy water when it tickles our fancy.

BAM!

Spice Poached Pears

previous pear adventures:
honey roasted pear salad & red and white wine poached pears

confab | current reads

books

it’s september.
which means my first love turns
half a century old.
it also means there’s
an extra 25 minutes to my commute
cus schools have started.
mostly it means
that the weather is cooler
i’m thinking about knee high socks
plans are being made for apple picking.
i might put away summer clothes
and bring out the sweaters
i’m also thinking about making soup
but mostly,
i’m snuggling with dw,
possibly with a book in hand.

last month i finished
TWO POINT FIVE BOOKS:
is everyone hanging out without me by mindy kaling
this song will save your life by leila sales
disconnected: an e-short story by jennifer weiner

there were times when i
thought mindy & i should be bffs,
i even tweeted her.
she ignored me.
that’s the other times i thought
we shouldn’t be bffs.
i listened to the other book,
which made me sad,
because it reminded me of high school.
and then i read the short
one while on jury duty.
that’s it.

currently on my kindle slash cloud reader slash audio thing:
allegiant by veronica roth
one more thing by bj novak

currently wait-listed:
interworld by neil gaiman
bossypants by tina fey

currently reading in the car during road trips:
the smokejumper by nicholas evans, which happens to be a repeat,
and one of my favoritest books.

and you lovies,
what are you reading?