LiterEature 101: J.R.R. Tolkien and Lembas Bread

Lembas stackedAs I write this I have five articles to read immediately, a few more sitting beside me to be started shortly thereafter, one paper to edit, one book review to shorten, a plethora of books (both school related and not-so-school related) accumulating on my desk, and well.. the list keeps growing. And growing.  Did someone forget to mention that to-do lists are sentient, organic beings that know when you are reaching a lull of security and suddenly explode, thereby obliterating all thoughts of a simple breath out of existence? Yes, someone indeed forgot to mention that, because I only just remembered a few more things I wanted (nay, NEEDED) to complete by this Friday. And then (oh god, and then!) when I start fumbling through thoughts of the upcoming and following year, I just shrivel a little bit. Does that happen to you? How do you make it through the days? I just started thinking about my thesis (yes, the one I will be working on NEXT year but no harm deliberating now, right?) and while it excites me I’m also left with an overwhelming burden of fright. Or something of the sort. So how to recover from that?

My most trusted recourse is sugar of course. La Dulce! Give me some sweet stuff and make me sane! Ok, sugar is not known to calm anyone down—in fact it has been giving me slight headaches lately (try to stifle that groan of horror)—but in decent doses it does distract me enough to resist succumbing to an overzealous heart breaking through my ribs. So… a decent dose… in the form of something nourishing, sustaining… tasty… made by Elves… Lembas Bread!trio of lembas

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Shrimp Scampi

Did you know I love Italian food? As a child my favorite food was ravioli… then lasagna… then ravioli and lasagna. Since then I’ve graduated to adore other cuisines (I don’t think I can live without Indian/Pakistani or Thai food) but I have a secret longing for it sometimes that I cannot normally satiate. All that pasta, all that glorious carbohydrate-rich pasta… no, I can’t go there. My round and pudgy inner-child may be bouncing in pure joy at the thought but that’s as far as I can go. Of course every once in a while we all have a fine Italian meal but not nearly as often as was my lifestyle long ago. This may of course be in part because the husband has a distinct lack of fondness for tomato sauce. I know. It hurts me just to write that (please have mercy on him, supreme marinara lords of the Tuscan sun). Continue reading

Inaugural Butter Cookies

**HAPPY NEW YEAR!**

Christmastime sparks happiness and beauty—it’s just a festive time for all—whether you celebrate it or not, but this year I actually was surprised with a completely out-of-the-blue gift that will continue to whet my appetite for the rest of time!  On Christmas Eve I received a package at the door, entirely unexpected, only to realize that my Sister-in-law decided to give me a black KitchenAid Stand Alone Mixer!  Oh the shock! The rapture! I could distantly hear angels sing in a melodious chorus as I opened the box with delicacy reserved only for newborns I imagine.

What a treat, and I have yet to put it to full-time use, but I couldn’t resist inaugurating it somehow… eventually I’m going to make a decadent and smooth and absolutely sinful chocolate cake, but as the husband is not a huge fan of chocolate (what is wrong with men anyway?!?) I decided on a simpler task, and I fine tuned my butter cookies.  I meant to make honey butter cookies, but half way through rolling the batter onto the baking trays did I realize I forgot about honey entirely, so I did half regular, and half with honey.

I used melted milk chocolate and coconut flakes as decoration as well.

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Black & White Thumbdrop Delights (and a glimpse of mushrooms!)

Since Superduperamazingblogidea has been put on hold, scheduled to commence on Christmas weekend now (methinks Friday so the G and I can cook up a storm together) I have to entertain myself somehow.  But provided I’m still hesitant to cook anything too rich or succulent lest it wakens the sleeping dragon in G’s turbulent tummy, I kept the dinner portion of the evening very simple and light: some spicy garlic roasted mushrooms, dahl (red & yellow lentils), rice… and just because it’s one of his ridiculous comfort foods, some Maggi noodles (for the blissfully unawares, those are pretty much the Indian version of Top Ramen.  Yeah.  Fancy pants cuisine right there hehe). 

FYI The mushrooms were gloriously easy – just tossed white mushrooms in olive oil, lots of garlic, a little salt, black pepper, and chili flakes, pour entire mixture into a baking dish, top with chunks of butter (or Smart Balance haha), and roast in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.  The garlic melts into the butter and makes this sumptuous sauce… I found this recipe online at Smitten Kitchen and just had to try it.  So simple, so soft, so savory.  Squeeze lemon juice once out of the oven and sprinkle with basil or oregano or cilantro or whatever you like. YUM!

I love simplicity, but… I have the kitchen bug in me.  In the past month or so a dormant being has been summoned to life in my bones, controlling my urges, my actions, the very tinkerings of my mind, where all I can think about for hours on end is the magic awaiting me in the kitchen (seriously, the channel I watch most on TV is Food Network). I love to create.  Love love love it.  I may not be good at it, but I love it.  I’ve never been as thrilled by cooking and baking as I am now – is it simply because I’m doing it with and for my husband now, or that I have complete reign and freedom over a kitchen (as opposed to living with parents and always worrying about what they would like)?  Whatever the case may be, I just feel so at ease here that I want to continue to drum up specialties, or at least try.  For example: Eventually I’ll start a line of a variety of crispy spring rolls, I guarantee it! Once I create a variety that is…

It always comes back to creativity.  At some point I’m going to be more focused and driven on my writing again, having already started on a few projects that are now lying wistfully by my side.  <<Don’t worry my lovelies, I’ll give you some attention soon! I promise!>> Until then I am expanding my desire to imagine up something special into different forums.  What a blessing it is, I suppose, that I have the ability and opportunity to explore different avenues.  As a child I was all about drawing and painting, so artful expression is inherent to my nature.  And honestly, cooking is an amazing outlet, the beautiful method in which we can nourish our sanity and humanity.

But I digress.  The point of all this rambling is to explain why I decided to dream up cookies too.  But oy! Don’t think that I am on the fast track to Chubbsville with all these sweets.  No, these I actually dreamed up with the intention of having G share them with his coworkers, a little holiday treat for them.

And so after a bunch of thinking and consideration, I eventually settled on black&white cookie sandwiches, little buttery drops of goodness filled with rich chocolate or various fruit spreads… But no.  That didn’t work out and I shall tell you why.

  1. No double boiler set up to melt chocolate (i.e. I have no metal bowl to melt my chocolate in)
  2. The cookie batter didn’t conform to the little teaspoon shape I wanted, so I improvised.

And thus, black & white thumbdrop delights were born, thumb-pressed to be filled with any assortment of things.

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