Chocolate Truffle Cookies

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately planning a move. It’s not a tragedy, I know. It’s just one of those things that requires work, much like finding a job or learning a new skill—you have to deal with some discomfort, things aren’t exactly easy, there are costs and, in the end, you hope you emerge a little different, a little wiser, having gone through it.

side of chocolate truffle cookie

Last week, my brother and I were talking about logistics—you know, the obvious things of furniture, moving trucks, long drives across several states—and I kept trying to find a way to solve things better. He’d say, Why don’t you buy a bed when you get there? And I’d say, I don’t want to spend the money! He’d say, It’s not that much money. And I’d say, I am going to be broke!

It was kind of funny, actually. Or at least it is now.

From a removed standpoint, I see the problem. What I want is not just to relocate. I want to relocate without spending any money, losing any sleep, causing anyone any difficulty. I want to relocate without relocating. Or at least, I want relocating in a perfect world.

fudgy insides of chocolate truffle cookie

It’s such a silly thing to get stressed out about. It’s just moving. But you know, I’ve been thinking about it, and whether you’re talking about moving or the way two dozen white hairs emerge on your 20-something head, the fact is that this world really isn’t a perfect place. We’re reminded of imperfections every day, in the big things of murder and suffering as well as the small things of long lines and angry strangers. We all taste difficulty. We all experience frustration. In different ways and at different times, but still. I mean, I don’t even watch the news, and I can tell you from experience that there is pain and hardship in this life.

But the thing I am thankful for, even more than that in this life there is also joy, is that the imperfections of this world remind me of life beyond it.

Like Elisabeth Elliot wrote:

Heaven is not here, it’s There. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next.

Oh, that’s so good.

chocolate truffle cookies

I am also thankful—very thankful—for the good gifts we taste now.

Like blue skies.
Like eyes to see them.
Like a sun that rises every morning, as faithfully as the God who made it.

And I am thankful for my particular gifts, like love, like self-employment, like the way these things are moving me towards a move. I am thankful, this week, for some time in the kitchen to bake cookies—the best chocolate chocolate cookies I’ve made really, little nibbles that are more than just cookies but actually like the lovechild of cookies and truffles combined, soft and rich, covered in chopped walnuts.

I’m thankful to sit cross-legged in the kitchen on a Tuesday afternoon, with a giant white bowl and a big spoon, licking chocolate batter in contentment, grateful for what I have, even more grateful for what will come.

Read More

Birthday Giveaway Three (or, how far we’ve come)

It’s pretty easy to see things I’ve inherited. I have my dad’s olive skin, my mom’s round face, the bump on my nose found in both sides of my gene pool. I like good conversation, working in the garden, making a big meal to eat with people I love. And, sometimes, when I laugh very hard or hear myself telling a story like it’s a routine, I think how my grandma used to do those things.

homemade granola

Read More

it doesn’t get old

spelt walnut cookies

I think the next time someone asks me what’s so great about blogging, I’m going to say it’s pretty simple: the same things that are great about life.

By that, of course I’ll partly mean the food and partly the beauty and along with that the writing and the opportunities to experience new places and, you know, tons of other things—but mostly?

Mostly I’ll mean the people. And by that, I mean you.

Read More

for mid-February

chocolate crunchies

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but: I think I like February.

I mean, sure, here we are, with 49 out of the 50 states having snow somewhere. And sure, being outside too long still makes my nose run and my ears burn, like it did this weekend, when on Sunday afternoon, every! train! seemed to take five extra freezing-cold minutes to arrive, but listen: it’s not all bad.

mixing batter

To start, LOST is back. If February brought us LOST, February is good. I don’t think I need to say anything more than that.

Then there’s the light. I realized last week that the days have hit that point where the sky is still light when I walk to my car at 5:30 PM every night. How fantastic is that? No, really. Dwell on this with me: (almost) DAYLIGHT when I begin driving home, the kind that gradually diminishes and colors the sky and only becomes darkness as I’m parking my car again. This means not needing to turn my desk lamp on at work at all if I don’t want to. It means being able to see my hands in front of my face when I scrape snow off my car. The first day it was like this, I am not ashamed to tell you, I almost cried, that’s how happy I was. People. It only gets better from here! The days will keep getting longer! And then warmer! We are close! We are close!

morsels on baking sheet

And of course also, it was just Valentine’s Day this last weekend, and while I know every blogger has already said something about how much he or she does or doesn’t love this day all about love, I’ll just throw my two cents in: it’s hard to hate a day filled with chocolate. I mean, right?

Read More

here is what you do (whole wheat bread pudding)

winter

Listen to me: This is what you do next time you have leftover bread, the kind that’s sitting around on your counters, clogging up space, suddenly as rock-hard as a baseball bat, tempting you to throw it away. It’s what you do when you want to whip together dessert and do it as mindlessly as possible, using up things you already have. And, most importantly, it’s what you do when it’s the second week of January and there’s snow all around you, covering the roads and the trees and the people and freezing on your car and making you wish you lived in Florida—until you remember hearing they’re having bizarrely cold weather, too.

You make bread pudding.

bread pudding

Read More

trust me on this

asparagus salad

As far as vegetables go, asparagus is really something: tall, peaked in pretty tips, stalks cast in deep shades of green, with knobby dark-purple bumps along the sides shaped in tiny triangles. It has no fat or cholesterol, few calories, little sodium, as well as lots of potassium, folic acid, vitamins A & C and fiber. Plus, this time of year it’s just finishing up its two-month-long season, meaning it’s still pretty easy to find at your supermarket.

Of course, just because it’s available doesn’t mean it’s fresh—a lesson I learned all too well on Saturday when I pulled out the bunch I’d grabbed the night before and, gasping, extended my arm as far away as possible from my face, hoping to minimize the oh-my-gosh-what-is-it-that-smells-like-death odor assaulting me. A return trip to the store—complete with thorough examining of every remaining bunch of asparagus, conversations with the produce man and the manager, obtainment of two brand-new bunches hidden away in the back cooler— left me confident of three things: 1) Fresh asparagus should not, ever, ever, smell like dirty socks left in a hamper, 2) Nor should it, for any reason, have yellow slime building up between stalks and 3) There’s a reason I spend so much time at Dominick’s: those people are nice.

asparagus salad

When you’re choosing asparagus at the store, don’t assume bunches are fresh just because they all look alike. Search for firm, bright green stalks with tightly closed tips, where the ends look freshly cut, not dried out. And, fun fact: the thickness of the stalks reveals how late in the season the vegetables have been harvested. Thicker stalks = beginning of season. Thinner stalks = later.

Now, if you love asparagus like I do, you’ll already know how good it is roasted in a white-hot oven, smothered in olive oil, when the skin blisters and absorbs all the oil’s fruity flavor. It’s also fantastic grilled over open flames or, boiled and chopped up into Saturday morning omelettes.

But can I make one more suggestion? If you have in your hands a fresh bunch of asparagus, you absolutely have to make this salad. Trust me on this.

Read More
  • 1
  • 2