Scone Experimentation

IMG_2657Over the past week, the number of dreary, grey days has increased as the number of leaves on trees has decreased. Though I love apple cider doughnuts, loose and comfy chunky sweaters, snuggling into my winter comforter, and all other cozy autumn activities, it is always sad to feel the warmth of summer fade.

But autumn brings its own vibrancy, with leaves like flames and multicolored fruits and vegetables ripe for harvest. I had always associated pomegranate seeds with summer because of their “tropical” fuchsia hue and the exoticness of a fruit whose seeds shone like edible jewels embedded in bitter white pith. However, after I discovered they were in fact a fall fruit, pomegranates became a favorite fall time treat (though of course, apple cider doughnuts will now and forever be the best part of fall).

After a week of drab, depressing days drained of color, I needed something delicious, sweet, and visually striking, even borderline garish. Enter my favorite breakfast pastry, the scone, combined with my favorite exotic flavors, green tea and pomegranate seeds. Matcha imparts an earthy, slightly bitter taste, while the pomegranate seeds provide small sparks of juicy sweetness. Paired with a mug of hot tea, these scones are rays of light on rainy fall days.

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A Little Late for Pumpkins?

IMG_1637I’ve always found it interesting that people associate pumpkins with autumn when really, pumpkins are available all year round. People associate corn with summer, yet have less of an aversion to enjoying some canned corn in the winter than munching on some pumpkin in not-autumn.

…it’s only been a year or so and I fear I’m already starting to get repetitive.

But hear me out here. Pumpkins are native to North America. The Native Americans first introduced settlers to pumpkins and apples and corn. And we repaid them with, uh, diseases (sometimes intentionally inflicted) and forced hikes and their very own fertile, highly desirable parcels of land.

Anyways, pumpkin has become a staple in American culture – what would Thanksgiving be without some kind of pumpkin-based dessert? Or Halloween with no carved pumpkins?

Things that become staples in American culture tend to become overexposed, like Cold Stone and cupcakes. (Or as my dad just suggested most sinisterly, the American dream of a suburban house with two cars.) We burn through popular things in a never-ending, ferociously turning cycle of fads.

And yet, some things endure because they somehow become enshrined, become something that we voluntarily enjoy only infrequently. Like Thanksgiving turkey, strawberry shortcakes, and pumpkin pie. Last I checked, turkey, strawberries, and canned pumpkin are sold in supermarkets all year round (and in the case of strawberries, at surprisingly high quality even in the winter), and yet, we save them for the right moment. We imbue them with special value.

Back to pumpkin – it’s interesting, the Native Americans just ate them roasted, as a staple part of their diet. But in those early years, cold-resistant crops must have seemed like some kind of godsend to the early settlers, something to be celebrated.

Guess we’re not so ‘native’ to this land after all.

Personally, I would make this cheesecake all the time, I love it that much. It might be my favorite new recipe of 2013. But my mom, who actually is an immigrant from Hong Kong, was shocked (and maybe even a little appalled) that I’d suggest such blasphemy. Spoken like a true American, mom. Guess I’ll just have to wait (with baited breath) for the next holiday season.

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The Lost Month

IMG_1619Here’s a recipe that I made over Thanksgiving…a month ago. I was actually super-excited to post this recipe because it turned out so great that I made it twice, once for Friendsgiving with my friends at school, and once with my family for Thanksgiving dinner.

And then things got crazy. So crazy, I started making all these new habits that I haven’t ever had before. Here are a few:

1. Making it my mission to ruin my cholesterol levels by eating 3+ eggs a day. That’s what happens when you have no time for food. Scrambled eggs or fried eggs or really any eggs that can be made in 5 minutes or less becomes your staple diet.

2. Speaking of no time for food, skipping lunch and getting hunger pangs around 3pm. Fun fact: after an hour, the pangs turn into hunger ‘euphoria’. Or you faint.

3. Listening to music while walking because time between classes/the library/bed is the only time you have for any leisurely enjoyment of anything.

4. Hanging out with no one but people from class. Bonding through trauma. (Ever had to work with Stata before? After one semester of Stata hell in cold computer labs full of miserable people, you really empathize with your sullen and unforgiving statistics professors.)

5. Going to bed at a reasonable hour. In my youth, I used to like hanging out with people, so I’d pull crazy all-nighters all the time, which obviously led to a whole host of sleep deprivation problems. In my wise old age, I’ve realized that sleep is what gets you through hell week after hell week. (Food probably ranks pretty high on the list too, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from International Finance, life is like the trilemma. You can’t have it all.)

And yet, despite the death of my social life, there were times when I felt like I had no time to even catch my breath. The amount I’ve learned is astounding, but even more astounding was how quickly quality of life can deteriorate in just a month. I’m forever scarred by the one day I was so out of it, I started eating some old lasagna with a layer of what was cheese, but was actually mold.

But it’s finally over, and I’m finally home. Never before I have I appreciated being home so much.

So uh, happy Thanksgiving guys? And happy holidays! :)

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