I exhale when it's time for bed and I'm asphyxiated by morning. I don't know what I'm holding my breath for, but something awful is going to happen.I wonder how much of a midwestern I really am. What superstitions do I still carry that have some genetic ties to my parents' homeland. If a bird hits a window, and I the first to think I'll die? They won't thud as loudly as my heart, if that's the case. But it wasn't this morning. This morning, I didn't feel the cast-iron dread of anticipating the failing of my company's sales office. I didn't even think about it. Instead, I found myself swaddled in a fleece blanket, damp with a little perspiration and the dew from the open window. I found myself eager to make coffee and some breakfast, to clear out the dishwasher to make room for new, to teach Murphy a new word and wait for Nolan to return home from Phoenix with a present for me. To water the herbs (basil, tarragon, and parsley) and to throw away any old fruit in the windowsill.
It was nice to feel that way again. It was nice to live in the diaphanous veil between sunlight streaming through your window and the dark roast brewing in the pot. It was even nicer to fall asleep again while in the sun and then wake up and bathe, put on clean clothes, and finish my second cup before nine, this time with a scone. I was able to enjoy the things I enjoy because there was no pretense of something "better". I was content in the existence I made for myself and I didn't even mind it when the sprinklers turned on and I had to change my shirt. In fact, I embraced it.
I embraced it the way I embraced Nolan when I saw him after four days. Awkward because of baggage, but comforting all the same. Murphy cried when he saw him and I had a dry mouth, but soon began talking again. Our conversation was normal, casual, relaxed the way the fleece blanket was. He brought me a crystal necklace from Sedona and I made him fish for dinner. After the five hour drive, he was asleep before I even finished my shower, his silhouette in the closet lie a lump under the golden-brown comforter that's peppered with dog hair.
It was comforting. It was the way a weekend (for me, anyway) should be.
And now for the recipes...
Grapefruit: Two Ways
I wanted to make something a little different, that I had not had myself before but was ubiquitous on many sites: curd. I was going to make some Meyer lemon curd a while ago, but they went bad quickly after we had stolen them in a Wal-mart plastic bag on a neighbor's tree while walking Murphy. Instead, I made the curd out of grapefruits, from these gorgeous ruby-reds I bought a couple weeks ago and were undoubtedly going to go bad soon. My mom, being a candy maker, wouldn't have let me let the rind go to waste, and so I used those as well.
Since my morning was so lovely, the curd was paired with an amazing scone recipe as well.
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 whole eggs
- pinch of salt
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1.5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
- Mix sugar, cornstarch, yolks, eggs, and salt in saucepan with whisk to combine
- Put on medium-low heat, stirring continuously until thickens
- Allow bubbles to form on the rim, bringing it to a small boil to cook out the starchy taste
- Take off heat and add vanilla and butter, whisk in
- Put in container and refrigerate
Vanilla-Almond Scones (adapted from here)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
- 1/4 cup almonds, pulsed in food processor
- 1 small box (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 tablespoon almond extract
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, almonds and salt in a large bowl.
- Add cold butter and cut it in using a pastry blender or two butter knives until it forms small crumbs.
- Stir in pudding mix. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the almond extract, vanilla, egg, almond milk, and cream. Stir gently with a fork until just incorporated. Bring the dough together with your hands.
- Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Form into a round mass. Cut round into 8 triangles and place each on the prepared baking sheet. Brush each triangle with a little of the remaining an egg wash or 1 TB cream (I made a glaze from almond milk, a little honey, and some sliced almonds). Bake for 16-20 minutes until just golden. Serve with grapefruit curd (above).
and as an added bonus....
Candied Grapefruit Peel
- Peel of two large grapefruits, cut into thin strips
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- In saucepan, cover peel strips with water and bring to a boil. Drain.
- Repeat twice more. (this ensures all the bitterness of the pith is taken out)
- Bring peel (should now be pretty limp), 1/2 cup water, and sugar to a boil
- Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until translucent
- Drain and let dry, 2-4 hours (I did mine overnight)
- Toss with additional sugar and enjoy (alternatively, you can dip in chocolate and let dry; I did not do this, though)