You might want to start rolling your eyes right now, you know, to get a head start before you hear what I’m about to say next: You know that time I dashed off to Aruba for a lazy weekend? I couldn’t find a decent piña colada anywhere. I know! Can you imagine having to suffer like this while on vacation? I mean, life is hard enough when your resort has a water slide with no age limit that deposits one mere feet from the swim-up bar; where you can cat-nap under your cabana while reading a book — with pages — any time being awake is just too exhausting to bear and wake up to gaze at the turquoise water meeting the impossibly blue sky until all of your thoughts file neatly into order. Obviously a watered-down piña colada from a piña colada mix is taking things just one step too far.
I’ve got a mad case of wanderlust. You’d think that after taking in vistas like this two weekends ago and this just yesterday, I’d be happy just to be here. But even New York City on the stunning brink between a snow-blanketed February and a shiny, breezy March aren’t enough to keep me from dreaming about South America. Northern Italy. India. China. Austria. Rome. Cuba. St. Louis, if it promises me more spun sugar cake. And now: Brazil.
Almost without fail, January — which is always too cold, too dull, and too overdue for an antidote for holiday excess — puts me in the mood for rice pudding and this year was no different. I played around with it all month. I made my standard. I made a “creamiest” version I found online that landed me with an undercooked eggy puddle and a wobbly belly. I made a baked version that never came together. And I caved to my husband’s repeated request for chocolate rice pudding which is something you will never see on this site because it was, hands down, the most revolting looking dish I’ve yet to ladle into a bowl. (I added 3 ounces of bittersweet chocolate added to my old favorite, and nixed the almond. See? Now I’ve saved myself a photography challenge!)
I know, I know, I just talked up granola bars last September. Waxing on about granola bars twice in six months is just weird, right? I can’t help it, I honestly don’t remember last September. I was 37 weeks pregnant. I was as big as a house. I had a baby two weeks later, which I barely remember either, though that’s probably for the best. I forgot about the granola bars in my freezer too, until at least December and when I unearthed them they were so crisp I had to crumble them over yogurt. With a mallet. Then two weeks ago I bought a house-made granola bar at Whole Foods, sunk my teeth into it’s thicky, chewy, ingredient-laden madness and was consumed with envy; why haven’t I made granola bars that taste like that? (Minus about half the sugar; they’re crazy sweet. )
As excited as I am to be — slowly, tentatively — back in the kitchen, I seem to be stuck at the beginning, or at least the beginning of the day. I’m fixated on granola and eggy things, breakfast-y quick breads and this thing I made for the sole purpose of eating with my morning yogurt, and I suspect it has everything to do with us feeling almost constantly like we’ve just woken up. And too early, sigh.