I am fair-weather in the literal sense. My loyalty to the seasons changes, dependent on my comfort and mine alone. Right now, it is muggy. The storm has not broken and I am miserable. My office desk is pushed up, adjacent to the window and the sun makes a glare on my computer screen. And yet, I still wear layers. And yet, I still drink hot tea. And yet, I do not pull the blinds down to avoid the glare. I do not adapt to the world easily. I ask only that it adapts to me.
I thought about my inability to accept the truth, the change, the innate malleability of time and people and seasons. I thought about it just this morning, in fact. And I came to the conclusion that I ignore its responsibility to my life, its stewardship to my own decision-making at all costs. Like pneumonia, like a hangnail, I learn to live with the idea that all efforts to understand and adapt to the seasonality of people fail me. I live with the pain and ignore its presence. Its roots, to my knowledge, to my incessant ignorance, are not that deep.
But I know this is not true. I know there are signs to change all around. My dogs are not puppies, but instead they have white tips to their chins now. I ignore it. I did not recognize myself in a photo earlier this week and the achingly stiff reflection of myself in an asana during yoga. I would ignore a continental drift it it meant a few more minutes with even the idea of a Pangea.
And I thought about Italy this morning. How naive I was. How I thought I would conquer the world, but in reality I was scared to take the bus by myself. I was a young 18. I didn't know much. I never learned the language. I ignored the signs of losing my friend while there. I ached for all the ways in which it was How It Used To Be. I did not understand the power of the mind, how a cavity can feel like headache and glass in your heel can just be the shoes you have on. I let the friendship atrophy and that overshadows all other memories of Italy now.
But there is a Renaissance within me. I want to look back on that time and think about other things, now. The first time I got hungover was on Limoncello. How I lost my contacts in Florence. The wine from the chalice, the wine from the bottle, the wine from the glass of a stranger that got switched at the bar. The time I cried when I saw the David. The time I cried when I missed my family. The sweating windowpane on the overcrowded train to Ostia Antica and the cat that greeted me in the ruins. And the small cafe next to the old Jewish Ghetto that served tiramisu with fruit in it.
And now I remember it well, the flavors of a city I never loved. And how I regret my distractions now more than ever. But I'm rebuilding those memories now in the dessert below.
Caramel Banana Tiramisu
To be frank, this dessert is easy. It's that way on purpose. Partly because I didn't make it in the traditional route and partly because all the ingredients were either in my pantry or on sale. But that's the beauty of it - it's adaptable. It's your own, so use any dish you want, add a different liquor...hell, even dip it in tea and make the cream spiked with Earl Grey. I'm a blogger, not a cop!
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 TB vanilla extract, divided (see below)
- 3 TB sugar
- 1/2 cup caramel sauce
- 8 oz mascarpone
- 2 overripe bananas
- 24 ladyfingers
- 1 cup strong coffee or espresso
- 1 TB brandy (or even 1/4 teaspoon almond extract with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla from above)
- Cocoa powder or chocolate sprinkles and a banana, sliced, for decoration
- In a stand mixer, whip heavy cream until peaks form, add 1/2 TB vanilla and sugar, continue beating
- Add caramel, mascarpone, and bananas. Beat until incorporated
- Chill in refrigerator while prepping ladyfingers
- In any dish you may want (I used a 12" pyrex pie dish), assemble your first layer of ladyfingers
- Mix brandy or extracts into coffee
- Slowly pour coffee over each individual finger (I prefer doing it this way than dipping directly into the coffee so they don't get too soggy, but to each his own)
- Take cream mixture out of fridge and cover ladyfinger layer with cream
- Repeat with remaining ladyfingers and cream mixture
- Top with decoration listed, return to fridge for at least 3 hours prior to serving