Nobody tells you at the time, but when you’re a kid, you have a very special, built-in, highy invisible set of magic glasses through which you get to view the world. Not to be confused with glasses of the rose-colored sort, magic glasses are a unique privilege reserved for only the youngest of us. People say that youth is wasted on the young but I don’t think it’s entirely true, and that’s all because of the magic glasses.
Having the ability to walk through the world and see things for the better – see them brighter, bolder, more incredible, and more wonderful . . . to give the benefits, not the doubts . . . is a unique, albeit fleeting superpower of youth that is something like a built-in shield. I see it in my kids every day. I see it in the ways their eyes light up every time the doorbell rings, and their excitement over who might be standing on the other side. I see it in the fascianation with which they approach every new meeting and encounter they have. It’s written all over their faces, thanks to those magic glasses. With the exception of the occasional bad dream and spider sighting, the world is just completely and utterly beautiful to them.
The magic of childhood also seems to come with an expiration date, like there’s a ticking clock in each of us that eventually just stops working at some point along the way, while we’re distracted by all of the growing up that we’re supposed to be doing. Somewhere, in the midst of all of it, a clock somewhere strikes twelve and the magic of childhood seems to fade away. The sands of time gently remove the magic glasses and replace them with a fresh pair of grown-up ones. And off we go, none the wiser.
I can tell you that one of my new year’s goals is to live and love the little things like the little ones do.
Despite it all, though, there are some things that actually get MORE magical with time, the magic not revealing itself until you’re good and old enough to fully absorb and appreciate it. Like, wine! And naps! Kidding (not really).
But music, for me, is really one of those things. Especially live music. I think we grow to appreciate music more and more as we get older; at least I do. I appreciate it for how it makes my days better and how it totally complements whatever it is I happen to be doing at any given time. I cook to it, write to it, shoot and style to it. I drive to it. I shower to it. I run to it. And so on, and so forth. I also appreciate it for the people behind it – the ones who create it. I’ve always wished that I was musically inclined, but it’s just not so. Not one of my things, unfortunately. But I can still love it and be a very appreciative and grateful listener I suppose, and stick to creating things that fall more in line with my own personal skill set (i.e. recipes and photographs and stories).
Speaking of stories and music, I have had a lot of people ask me about the music I play in the background of my Instagram stories lately, so I thought I’d make a playlist of some of my favorite songs (at least right now) and I’ve got the link here:
Have a listen! It’s mostly mellow-ish Indie stuff – nothing harsh or overly dancy (I’ll make other mixes in the future!). I’m thinking of turning these playlists into a monthly feature . . . so maybe stay tuned? (literally) I like the idea of creating soundtracks for different occasions, as I definitely appreciate it when others do the same. I figure since I quite literally listen to music all the time, I might as well share my favorites with you guys, right along with the other (more food-centric) loves of mine.
Which brings us to my newest recipe . . . and boy is this a good one.
I’m sharing a recipe for a Cranberry and Mandarin Clafoutis today, and I honestly cannot quit these things – these CLAFOUTIS. Fun to say, fun to eat. What are clafoutis, you ask? They’re French-style pancakes (classically filled with cherries) that aren’t unlike Dutch babies, but dare I say it: they are just more interesting.
These come together in a few minutes and bake up poofy and golden, with custard-like interiors. You can fill yours with whatever you’d like, honestly, but right now if you happen to live anywhere near my particular longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates, cranberries and mandarins are currently rocking steady in all the stores.
I think y ou guys are going to LOVE this one. Happy new year and happy cooking!!
Cranberry and Mandarin Clafoutis
adapted from Martha Stewart
1 tbsp butter, for the dish
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 cups half and half (cold)
1-1/4 cup cranberries (fresh or thawed frozen), coarsely chopped
2 tsp grated mandarin zest plus the juice from one mandarin (you can sub an orange here)
Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling (I use about 1/4 cup)
Whipped cream or sweetened creme fraiche, for serving
1) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and butter a 1-quart baking dish (not metal).
2) Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of the sugar over the bottom of the dish. Into a large bowl, sift the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, the flour, and the salt. Whisk in the eggs, the half and half, the orange zest and juice.
3) Scatter the cranberries into the dish and then pour the batter over top. Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.
4) Bake the clafoutis until puffed, slightly set, and brown around edges, 30 to 33 minutes. Let it cool for 15 minutes (it will sink some). Serve with whipped cream or some lightly sweetened vanilla bean creme fraiche.