Where have I been?! Busy. Hugging my family. Sitting next to my dad, earnestly discussing work while he patiently listens. Watching my oldest sister turn from just her into a mother miraculously overnight. Weeping a lot of happy tears over said transformation. Laughing with my littlest sister (she lives in Maine and I have to absorb her physical presence when we're together, saving it up for when she leaves. I kiss her cheeks, I tackle her onto the couch, I hold her hand).
I've been cooking and baking a lot, so rest assured that there will be double layer brownies and cheese rolls and meatballs here very soon.
I've been taking runs in the sunshine. It's spring, almost. Mason jars brimming with flowers cover my house.
I've been turning this song on loud and unabashedly belting it out. There is a crew of roofers working on my building, and I like to think they enjoy the mid-morning concerts I give them. Okay, they don't, I can't sing. But what I lack in tonal inconsistencies I make up for with unbridled enthusiasm.
I've been reading Mary Oliver, lines like this rolling around in my mind:
Try to find the right place for yourself.
If you can't find it, at least dream of it.
When one is alone and lonely, the body
gladly lingers in the wind or the rain,
or splashes into the cold river, or
pushes through the ice-crusted snow
To understand many things you must reach out
of your own condition.
For how many years did I wander slowly
through the forest. What wonder and
glory I would have missed had I ever been
in a hurry!
The point is, you're you, and that's for keeps.
And I keep returning lately to these words from Tennessee Williams, reminding myself that letting go is something I always need to remember to do, even though it will always feel harder than I want it to: "All my life I have been haunted by the obsession that to desire a thing or to love a thing intensely is to place yourself in a vulnerable position, to be a possible, if not a probable loser of what you most want. Let's leave it like that. That block has always been there and always will be, and my chance of getting, or achieving, anything that I long for will always be gravely reduced by the interminable existence of that block."
I've been eating waffles. I made a batch of Marion Cunningham's overnight yeasted waffles last week for my sister, and promptly made another batch for myself to keep in our freezer.
These waffles are almost impossibly light. The yeast gives them an interesting, almost sourdough-like flavor. I find them utterly addictive, so you've been warned. The batter is thin and bubbly; each dollop yields an airy waffle with crisp golden edges. I like to freeze them and eat them straight from the freezer for dessert (NB: Try this. Thank me later.).
If you're squeamish about leaving the batter out overnight on your counter, you can refrigerate it instead while it rests.
Marion Cunningham's Overnight Yeasted Waffles
From The Breakfast Book
**PSA: Don't forget to add the eggs and baking soda in the morning! The rested batter looks complete, so it's easy to forget (not that I did that twice or anything).**
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant or active dry yeast
2 cups milk, warmed slightly
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
The night before you want these yeasted babies on your plate, add the warm water and yeast to a large bowl. Stir the yeast in a bit to dissolve, and let sit for at least 5 minutes, until foamy and puffy-looking.
Add the milk, melted butter, salt, sugar, and flour. Whisk to combine well.
Cover with plastic wrap and leave on the counter overnight, or in the fridge if you feel weird about the milk being out (it's fine, I promise, but I understand that it might worry you).
When you're ready to get wafflin', heat your waffle iron. Add the eggs and baking soda to the batter, and whisk well.
(FYI: I use a totally basic Cuisinart waffle iron which has served me very well. I don't know how this would do in a fancy Belgian waffle iron, since the great thing about the waffles is how thin and ethereal they are, but feel free to give it a shot.) Grease the waffle iron slightly (I like to use Everbake spray or a similar baking spray). Spoon a big ladle of batter into the waffle iron and bake. Repeat with all the batter.