I'm sitting here with a big mug of steaming tea. As it steeped, I stood, leaning with my hip against the counter. I held the honey over the mug, letting the amber liquid stream in for a beat too long, and my tea is sweeter than usual. Opening the fridge, I discovered that I was out of both cream (!) and whole milk (!). Sighing as if to say why must I endure such cruel deprivation, I poured in equal parts skim and almond milk. Let it be said: This does not taste as good as cream.
Oddly enough, I take my coffee with skim milk. Heavy cream with my tea. I like the latter sweet and light, my coffee strong and bitter.
Tea in hand, I sit down in my cushioned white desk chair, the one we splurged on. It's raining outside. The heat is on, and I'm wearing thick wool socks, but I can feel a whisper of cold, wet air through the open window. It smells grassy and green, like the chilly arrival of spring.
I'm thinking about last night. About putting on a new dress, feeling the cool silk gathering around my bare skin. Glancing in the mirror, seeing shiny hair and smoky eyes and a glimmer of the gold necklace that rests lightly on my collarbone.
I'm thinking about the waiter setting a drink down in front of me. It came in a solid tumbler, the sort with enough heft that you want to clink it -- ch-ching -- against another. It's filled with a sweetened-up Aperol spritz in a startling neon-coral hue: Prosecco stirred into tonic and Aperol, topped with a twist of lemon.
I'm remembering the taste as I sipped the drink, alternating with bites of salad. Laced with warm soft scrambled eggs and tiny bits of crisp, salty pancetta, the salad was composed of delicate mixed greens and hardier slivers of radicchio and dressed lightly with balsamic. It was hot and cold and sweet and savory, all at once.
There was a small plate of rigatoni smothered in a rich, meaty tomato sauce studded with bits of carrot. There was another small salad, this one a rustic mélange of beans swimming in a bright vinaigrette, and a basket of airy ciabatta, and conversation that wove easily between topics.
The next table over celebrated a birthday with a round of Champagne. The noise in the restaurant rose and fell. I didn't think about anything but being right there, right then.
At home, I discarded the silky slip of a dress on my bedroom floor. I wandered downstairs for dessert, which last night meant an oatmeal cookie and a fistful of crunchy almond biscotti.
It's really best to always have cookies like these on hand. Make a habit of it. Sturdy and hearty with lots of oats, they're nicely suited to any hour of the day, from breakfast to dinner. You can throw in a few handfuls of any ingredients you like, but the recipe as written yields a very nice cookie.
Oatmeal Cacao Nib Cookies
1 cup butter (unsalted, at room temperature)
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs (at room temperature)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups rolled oats (I like a combination of old-fashioned and thick-cut rolled oats)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup cacao nibs
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture a little bit at a time, beating until well combined.
Add the oats, chocolate chips, cacao nibs, and coconut (if using). Stir into the batter until mixed fully. If you're doing this in a stand mixer, you might want to use a spoon or spatula for this step, as the dough will get very hard to mix with all the add-ins.
Using a spoon or your hands, drop balls (about 2" in diameter) onto your baking sheets. Leave some room, as the cookies will spread, especially if you haven't chilled your dough (you don't have to do this, but I often let it chill for a bit to firm up).
Bake the cookies for 10 to 15 minutes, until they're just beginning to brown around the edges. Remove them from the oven and let cool on a rack.
**You can also shape the cookies and then freeze them to bake off later when you crave warm cookies (or frozen cookie dough). Just shape them on the baking sheet and pop the entire baking sheet into the freezer for a minimum of 20 minutes. Once they're frozen, transfer them to a plastic freezer bag. They'll keep for...a long time? I'd say 2-3 months.**