Friday, September 3, 2010

magic in the middle cookies

I'm always intrigued with the concept of identity, and sometimes I catch myself wondering how people would primarily define themselves: grandmother? optimist? high schooler? ballerina? democrat? dentist? female? atheist? How does that change over time, even in the course of a day? Is it possible that there is one thing about any person at any given time that completely defines them?
Sometimes the answer is easy: generally, people define themselves by their occupation, how they spend most of their time. So what about sleeping? We (should) sleep about 7-8 hours a night: that's almost third of our lives. Would anybody call themselves a "sleeper?"
Not really.
The answer, perhaps, is that how we define ourselves is the thing about which we think most often, or at least what's on our mind at a specific moment.
And most interesting of all:
Is there ever a moment that somebody would just call themselves "me," when what they are has absolutely nothing to do with anything else or any quality in the world? Or is "me" just a grouping of qualities?
I don't know, and, when I think about it, I'm not sure I can name a time like that. Maybe that's just when you're born... but even then you're most likely "unhappy" or "disoriented."
This is getting too out of hand. I'm not even sure if I make sense any more. I probably sound like that obnoxious kid in a group discussion, pretending to know a lot more than I do. Sorry!

On to the important stuff:
One of the ways I can describe myself right now:
Peanut butter fiend.
A couple weeks ago I was a silvery-blue fiend, and before that a Big Chill Soundtrack fiend.
I got the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion out of the library (surprise, surprise!) and made this recipe, called Magic in the Middles. They looked difficult, but the cookie dough was incredibly easy to shape; not crumbly, not sticky, it was like shaping a cloud. I also used crunchy peanut butter for the middles (I needed a bit more, though, to make it stick together: maybe around a cup.)

The whole batch:

The recipe called to flatten them all out with a cup, but I left half of them as little bon-bons, and in my opinion they were even better (the softer and rounder the cookie, the better, in my mind).
Cross sections:

And for anybody who either has lived or lives now in northeastern Ohio, you equate the quintessential taste pairing not to a Reese's cup but:

Buckeyes! A flashback to elementary school for me.

Today's good thing is thinking about the same thing in different ways: people can define themselves in more than one way. Cookies can bake in three shapes (or even more).
They can all be good.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

pitas (first and second iterations)

Today I realized how circular life can sometimes be. My sister's recent foray into the world of gardening earlier this summer (and her subsequent discovery that she is the lucky possessor of a pair of "green thumbs") yielded some nice, colorful results. That day for dinner was the first time I diverged from the Dessert section of my beloved King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion into the world of Flatbreads, and I was surprised to find that pitas were just as rewarding to make as pavlovas. Then, yesterday for lunch, I decided I needed to use up some tomatoes and basil we had (and had fun taking photos!) and today I again made pita bread. Maybe this hot weather has me thinking I'm on the Mediterranean.

Tomatoes and basil from my sister's garden, earlier this summer:

The first pita exploration, with more homegrown tomatoes

And now fast-forward to this week! Unplanned similarities... I guess some foods are just too good to have only once.
The prettiest part of yesterday's lunch:

And today's pitas:

Today's good thing is tomatoes and basil. Such a classic combination; it never gets old or overused, and it's delicious without being fussy. Salads. Sandwiches. Chicken. Pasta. Omelets. Soup. Bread. Pizza. Those Italians were so smart! Just add some fresh mozzarella and you have their flag.

(Pita recipe from... where else?... King Arthur)