Good morning, friends! I have a few gold stars to give out today.
* A gold star to my friends AMPD and JD for making fabulous homegrown and homemade raspberry jam and then sharing jars of it with friends for Christmas. Intensely flavorful, their jam is the perfect balance of sweet and tart. I love it on buttered toast or squares of chocolate, both of which have that rich melting quality that seems to highlight the fruitiness of the jam.
* A gold star to the main library at Texas A & M University, for being awesome. They have a cookbook section! I’m so excited—I feel like my life got a thousand times better upon discovering the cookbook cache.
* A gold star to my friend Daine, for sharing with me TWO recipes by e-mail. I miss our recipe conversations very much—Daine is such a great cook. What I would love to see is a cook-off between Daine and Matt. I think the food would blow my mind. Plus I think the two of them would hit it off.
* A gold star to you, dear readers, for not flinching at my confession of loneliness earlier this week. I feel better now that I’ve admitted it. Interestingly though, I am nowhere near the feelings of loneliness I experienced in graduate school, which helps to put things in perspective.
* A gold star to sweet Saturday, the best day of the week! Say it with me now: “Aaaaaaaaaaaah!”
I love Saturday mornings at home. This one today is hazy but warm, so I pushed open the sliding door to let in the fresh air. Outside I hear the chirping of birds and the whooshing of cars driving past me. But the day feels calm and relaxed, like this sleepy little college town is still yawning after the first week of classes.
I put my lazy Saturday morning to good use with a slightly decadent bowl of oatmeal, orange juice, and coffee. The oatmeal formula was this one, minus the maple syrup. I made a raspberry-chocolate topping with a big blob of homemade raspberry jam (from the family farm of AMPD and JD) and a big handful of bittersweet chocolate chips. I also couldn’t resist a spoonful of peanut butter (for the protein, of course!), so it turned into a sort of peanut butter and jelly cereal, with pools of melting chocolate. It was so good that I took a few bites, then looked down to see that the bowl was half-empty. Wow. If only I could wash the dishes as fast as I eat!
I’m tired but happy today. There are so many great things on the docket for this weekend! I want to become a Saturday regular at the natural foods store, so I’m going to make a grocery list and stroll down to the land of hippies and organic food. The one disappointing thing about the walk to the hippie store is that I’ve already had two encounters with men who amuse themselves by yelling vulgar things at me. I can see that pedestrians are rarer in College Station than they were in Evanston, but whatever happened to Southern gentlemen? I was even harassed once when Matt was with me, while we were waiting for the traffic light to change so we could cross the street! What is wrong with these people?
I’m glad that most men have learned their manners. Some of them are really la creme de la creme, like my friend Daine. I’m excited to make his Middle Eastern-inspired yogurt cake today. Out of sheer laziness, my baking plans for earlier this week never materialized, but today is the day! A Saturday with cake is a very good day indeed.
Have I mentioned how much I love a man who cooks? I’ve had a crush on British food writer Nigel Slater ever since I read his book Appetite, a find in the cookbook section of Evanston Public Library. There’s something so incredibly appealing about a book that embraces this idea of cravings, whatever they may be: toast, soup, roast chicken, M & Ms, whatever. This week I scored a copy of Nigel’s the kitchen diaries, a book I’ve wanted to read for a long time. the kitchen diaries is a year in the kitchen and garden with Nigel, an ode to seasonal cooking and cravings. His prose are simple, heartfelt, and funny; the recipes make me long for a digital scale and graduated cylinder to master the British cooking units of grams and milliliters. But mostly I just want a seat at his table, and this book is the closest I can get to that from Texas.
What are you cooking today, kind readers? What are you reading? What’s making you happy these days?
I hope your day is lovely. I’ll be back here tomorrow with a new addition to Project Olive Oil. I hope you’ll join me!