Friday, October 22, 2010

Coconut Macaroons and Comfort

I don't like coconut. Never have. I love the smell but I'm very much a texture person and the strange chewy crunch that comes with coconut, I'm not crazy about. I made three variations on these macaroons: plain, chocolate chunk, and chocolate. There are two egg whites in each of these batches and the directions say to mix well using your hands. Uh wha? Eggs and coconut with my hands? Sensory overload! I felt like I was at a haunted house where they make you stick your hands in hidden bowls of questionable material and you have to guess what it is. Peeled grapes? Oh, eyeballs of course. Spaghetti and butter? Brain matter. Egg whites and coconut? Contents of your colon. Back to the gooey matter at hand, this recipe makes quite a few cookies! Wow. I had five trays of cookies at the end. The chocolate chunk didn't stay as together as I think they were supposed to and I think the plains were slightly underdone because they stuck to the foil pretty bad but the all chocolate came out beautifully.
A dear friend of mine was having a rough day yesterday which was also her birthday. We were talking on the phone and I could tell she really needed some words of comfort. *Cue crickets*. I'm terrible at advice/words of comfort! I don't know where it comes from (I'm willing to bet from my dad a.k.a Mr. Awkward or the King of the Social Misfits) but it can be quite debilitating. My cousin has been reading the Anne of Green Gables series and she has inspired me to pick them up. Yes I've seen the movies but as in most stories, movies tend to leave things out. I'm looking at you Harry Potter movie series. I was reading between baking sheets. I would drop dough and stick them in the oven and read for 20 minutes. Then pull them out and do it again. Five times. Books are just not written like they used to be. She describes things so beautifully and clearly that it makes most of today's authors look like 5th graders. Anne Shirley cracks me up/makes me uncomfortable/teaches me lessons. She has something to say about everything. Boy trouble? Anne says "Ruby Gillis says when she grows up, she wants to have a line of beaus on a string and make them crazy for her. I'd rather have ONE in his rightful mind."
Life isn't what you were hoping for? "My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes. That's a sentence I read once and I say it over to comfort myself in these times that try the soul."
Bad hair day? "I thought nothing could be as bad as red hair. Green is ten times worse."
And she has such a beautiful outlook on things. She turns everything into a positive, like an overly romantic Pollyanna. I hear problems and I say "Wow, I'm so sorry about that." For someone who can talk as much as I do, solace and advice are very difficult. I am really lucky to have some friends and family who are excellent listeners and advisors. 
I thought about my friend all day long and felt like the words I said were cheap and meaningless. So I took her macaroons. A plate for comfort and a plate as a birthday present. I really was deeply thinking about her while stacking coconut haystacks. I know that doesn't make things better but I am a much better gift giver than I am an advisor. I like to make things for people, hoping that they can read my intentions behind it. So friend, if you are reading this, I meant those cookies from the bottom of my heart. And I tried the chocolate ones and I loved them! I think the strong chocolate makes up for the funky coconut texture. Like my words. Strong cookie filled intentions make up for the funky things I say. I hope. 

Chocolate Thumbprints and Toes

Ok so my chronological order thing didn't pan out as well as I had hoped. Chocolate thumbprints are in the rich and dense section. What can I say? I'm a rebel.
These cookies are a childhood favorite of mine except the peanut butter version. These turned out almost exactly like the picture says they should, just not as photoshop-ingly uniform and smooth. Mine were slightly spikey and had a little chocolate slopped over the sides. My favorite part was the piping of the chocolate into the thumbprints. I used my poor-mans pastry bag (ziplock with a corner cut off) and filled those prints to overflowing. And had enough left over to squirt some into Beep's mouth to which he said "MMMM! Chorat!" Then I loaded them onto paper plates and hopped in the car to drive them the 2 minutes to Pickle's work to share them with his tellers. As I was turning left out of our neighborhood onto the busy thoroughfare, the cookies on their plates slid allll the way off the seat. Biscuits!! I pulled the car over and looked around to see if anyone could see me scrounging around my floor board for cookies. Now, before you judge me, let me say that only two cookies were really gross and I chucked them out the window. The others had landed filling side up and so I felt good about brushing off the bottoms and putting them back on the plate. I took them to the branch and the tellers loved them. 
So.... there. 
Please don't tell on me! 
I made and delivered these Wednesday afternoon. Every Wednesday night, I volunteer at the community center downtown to sew costumes for the children's Dia de los Muertos parade. Things have come up the last two Wednesday's so I was really excited to go this week. I had finally gotten there and been working for about 5 minutes when I received a frantic call from Pickle saying that Beep had broken his toe! He said our heavy metal step stool had dropped on his big toe and it was turning black and blue and he hadn't stopped crying for about 20 minutes. Well it took me about 15 minutes to get here and 5 minutes working so... this had happened right after I left. I couldn't help but think "Really?! I haven't even gotten my machine out yet! Why do catastrophes alway happen when mom is away?"
Speaking of catastrophes when mom is away, reminds me of when my mom went to France to visit a friend. My dad was "watching" us, meaning he had us for a day or two until friends could take us for the week. He had taken us to a Giants baseball game and we were walking to the makeshift parking lot in a dry, dusty vacant lot. My sister was probably 8 or 9 years old and tried jumping over a low hanging chain between two poles. Her "shoelace got caught" (she was wearing slip ons) and she face planted into the ground. She had a big gash right under her eyebrow and was bleeding heavily. Some kindly, older Giants groupies ran into their RV and grabbed a rag to staunch the blood. I sat in the back of the car with my sister's head on my lap as my dad rushed us to the South City Kaiser ER. After much bleeding and vomiting, she was stitched up and we were home again. My dad went out of town that week and we went to stay with our dear friends in Santa Cruz where I had to nurse the stitched up eyebrow. We got back from that week to find a huge window in our sunporch had been completely shattered and a pipe in the kitchen burst. When my mother stepped off the plane from France, she was accosted with all this information and it took all the strength of the three of us to hold her back from running back down the jetway. 
Back to the toe, I felt for my mom in that moment, experiencing only an 1/8 of what she did- France vs. 15 minutes away, bruised toe vs, scarface child, flooded kitchen and broken glass. We didn't really know what to do for a broken toe so I call my retired doctor mother-in-law who is our go-to medical champion. We call her for everything. It's wonderful to get a second opinion on things or to find out if you really SHOULD go to the ER for that elbow that is bent the opposite direction. Anywhays, she said there wasn't much you could do if in fact it was actually broken. Tape it to stabilize and give him Tylenol. I was trying to weigh my options. Miss out on a third Wednesday night for something I can't fix or have faith that nothing was really broken and that dad could take care of the comforting. I stayed. And had a wonderful time. I got home after Beep had gone to bed, and I went and checked on him. He was uncomfortable and woke up whenever he bumped his toe, but it wasn't broken and now it's just righteously black and hurts when he bends it funny. 
As much as I wish I could have been there to either a) prevent it or b) comfort him afterwards, I was really happy that I stayed. I met with a truly sweet, tatted up, hippy mom and her daughter and we created her a lava costume for her to wear with her stilts in the parade. I enjoyed doing something for myself, getting out by myself and doing something I enjoy. I'm working harder at doing things for myself. I ordered myself new clothes which I haven't done in... I don't know how long, my gracious friend Tyler invited me to play on his adult soccer team, and I'm registering for school in November. And I'm contemplating taking a ballet class at school. Yes, ballet. And I'm going to get me some toe shoes. I'm very athletic, haven't you heard?

Cookies and Catchup

Blurg. I've gotten so behind in my posting, that I now have two cookies to post about. And it was so long ago that I have no idea what was going on at that time, so I have no witty anecdote to coincide with the following cookies. What a loss for you readers... :) Well I made amaretti crisps and classic shortbread. If memory serves me correctly, the amarettis tasted like carbonized almonds and I ended up throwing some most away. The shortbread was buttery and crumbly, like shortbread should be. I ended up making chocolate ganache and dipping mine in it and subsequently eating a slice or two for breakfast for a week... healthy I know. 
In other news, I knew this project wasn't a super original idea, seeing as I got the idea from Julie and Julia but I wasn't aware of HOW unoriginal this was. I just googled and stumbled across THREE other Martha and Me blogs. Some are better writers than I am and some are better photographers than I am, mostly because I'm pretty lax in my photo taking. But I like to think that my blog has a certain je ne sais quoi, riiiiiight everybody?? You better not be googling those other blogs right now, I know you want to! I am your one and only Martha Stewart cookie source! You better enjoy it!! 

Ok, I'm going to go now.... maybe eat something for breakfast, even though it's 10 o'clock.... I think my blood sugar is a little.... screwy right now.... Thank you for listening.