lemon, blackberry, ginger cake

“…yeah, dad, the car’s been making this awful, sputtering noise for the last few hundred yards. But we made it up to the orchard and into a parking spot, at least. I’m about to call the guy and I guess we’ll have the car towed back to grounds. What a birthday.”

And so then we waited. Hot apple cider in hand, a bag or two of peanut brittle tucked away, and a container of apple cider donuts sitting on the hood of Matt’s poor old car. The poor old car who endured her – debatably – untimely demise on a breezy, October afternoon.

Then again, in retrospect, perhaps it wasn’t the greatest idea we’ve ever had to drive a near-18 year old stick-shift up a mountain.

It was somewhat of a stressful time, to be sure. Particularly for dear old Matt, who I’m quite certain did not plan to spend his 22nd birthday afternoon on the phone with AAA.

But we all persevered. Dignity a bit bruised perhaps, but happy enough full of donuts and each other’s company, and the assurance of a story that wouldn’t look quite as devastating after a few drinks.

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lemon curd

Lemon Curd
Yields about one cup

Ingredients:

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 8 tbsp [1 stick] butter, cut into cubes

Method:

In a medium saucepan over medium-high flame, whisk egg yolks and sugar until blended. Pour in the lemon juice and zest, and whisk. Continue whisking occasionally for 8-10 mins, until mixture has bubbled up and thickened some.

Remove pan from the heat and add butter, one cube at a time, until blended. Pour the hot lemon curd into a heatproof container and allow to cool to room temperature. The curd will thicken considerably as it cools. Seal the container and refrigerate curd until using. Curd lasts up to 5 days in the fridge, and up to 2 months in the freezer. Use curd in between cake layers, as filling for cupcakes, or straight out of the jar with a spoon.

espresso whoopie pies and a portuguese tale

So, here I am, sitting in one of my favorite coffee shops downtown, having hauled myself out of bed and into the city with every intention of getting some much-needed reading done. Instead, I have decided that, with a mug of steaming hot apple cider by my side and an inexpressible excitement about a looming encounter with the Dalai Lama in 3 hours, I’ll write. I did bake, which is shocking feat in and of itself, but that’s not what this post is about.

Mostly, and most importantly, it’s a story. A true story, at that, and kind of an incredible one. Because sometimes the world works in very wondrous ways.

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bostonian days and cambridge nights

There are two things I’ve learned these past few days:

  1. Overnight train rides are the absolute worst, particularly when you try to curl your entire 5’8 frame on a seat designed for one adult butt. Anachronistic update: Even better when a 10-hour ride ends up taking 14 and you’ve wasted half of your final day off, but I mean, who’s counting.
  2. There’s nothing quite like being in the city during autumn.

Really though. Towering buildings, bright lights, the sound of boots clacking against cement footpaths, jackets and scarves blowing lazily in the breeze created by long strides between rows of shops and busy streets, lines extending to doorways of cramped cafes and coffee shops, seeking refuge from the cold in dusty old used bookstores. I love it all.

This is also, incidentally, Arfa’s glorious view from her dorm room window, so safe to say that I am mad jealous.

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