I love digging into a good book, or at least a “good book” by my standards (more on that later), but sleep tends to get in the way. I come by it honestly; when I lived with my parents I remember walking by their room at night and seeing my dad with his mouth open, his lamp still on, and snoring loudly with an open book sprawled on his face. Obviously I fall asleep in a much more refined, ladylike fashion than that description (totally), but the point remains the same: it takes me a while to finish books.
For my mom, the line never seems to blur between reading and sleeping, possibly because of the books she chooses. While I go for what we will kindly call “popular fiction,” aka Harry Potter, Twilight, and more recently, Fifty Shades of Grey, my mom loves the who-done-it, murder and mayhem types that I can’t read because I scare easy. A few summers ago, we were sitting outside when I looked over and saw my mom reading, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. Between hearty laughs, I asked my mom what in the world she was holding. A recipe book? A murder mystery? A joke?
After my mom made a recipe from the mystery book, my sarcasm and mockery fell down to my foot, which I promptly stuck in my mouth. The book may not be my cup of tea as far as genres go, but man oh man, the author makes a mean toffee.
I really love simple food. Sure, there’s a time and a place for complex meals, but that time is not during the week, and that place is [usually] not in my tiny apartment kitchen. This past Tuesday, I knew I needed to cook, because multiple recent impulse purchases had resulted in a stocked crisper. Yes, I impulse buy vegetables, because I’m a nerd about Spring and fresh produce. Fresh asparagus? I can put that in ANYTHING! Leeks? I love leeks! I’ll take four!
While both of these statements are true, because I DO put asparagus in everything, and I DO love leeks, my excitement blinded the rational part of my mind where I could have told myself, “Katie, you really don’t have time to cook this week.” Time shmime, I’d make it work.
Fortunately, leeks and asparagus go wonderfully together, and with a touch of lemon, some cheese, and simple seasoning, I had myself a completely delicious, perfect pizza in about 20 minutes. Sure, you need 2 hours for the dough to rise, but you can make it in under 10 minutes, then have it to use for 10 FULL DAYS with this recipe. 10 days of quick pizza at my disposal? That’s the kind of schedule I can work with.
In my food life, I know three things for certain: when life is a question, grilled cheese is the answer, a world without chocolate is a world where I’m angry, and if I spot a coconut dessert, I’m buying two: one for me and one for my mom. We may both be vegetarians, but outside of that, coconut desserts are basically our only common ground in food. A few months ago, I made Macaroon Muffins in the hopes of mom-bonding, but alas, she thought they were misleading in their cupcake-like appearance, not sweet enough, AND too dense. I thought they were perfect…my world was shaken.
I wasn’t about to lose our coconut camaraderie without a fight, so as Mother’s Day approached, I began dreaming up my mom’s ideal coconut recipe. I told her of my plan last week and she responded, “Great!…You’re not going to put anything weird in them, right? I don’t want any avocado in there, no applesauce, no fresh herbs…don’t mess with it.” Admittedly I do have an obsession with kitchen experimentation, but this was not the time or the place. No, this was the time for straightforward dessert perfection in coconut form. With her tastes in mind, I headed into my kitchen, grabbed my staple baking ingredients (nothing more, nothing less), and started my journey to coconut redemption.