Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Cream Wafers with Grapefruit Blood Orange Filling

Cream Wafers with Grapefruit Blood Orange Filling \\ Loves Food, Loves to EatAs I write this post, my valentine is off on a work trip, and I can hardly stand it. A lot of my friends think Evan and I are pretty independent because we have our own hobbies that, after years and years of being together, we don’t try to push on each other. He has his nerd things and video games and electronic music, I have cooking and being in nature and scary movies and reading. We’re pretty good about doing our own thing and being totally cool with it. But what our friends might not see is that we’re also weirdly codependent. Have you watched How I Met Your Mother (3 full times through, like we have)? Because in a lot of ways, we’re a lot like Lilly and Marshall. We know almost every tiny detail of each others day… from every single item we ate to what conversations we had at work to what articles we read throughout the day. There’s an episode of HIMYM where Lilly and Marshall tell each other every detail when they go to the bathroom… we’re not quite there (yet) buuuuuuut we’re close. Just kidding. <Glances to the side>. Is that weird? Is it too much? Anyway. I hope our little mini snowstorm in Seattle doesn’t delay his trip home, because I wish he was here. Also I seriously can’t fall asleep without him. And I don’t really mean that in a gushy way… I just read a lot of mystery books and listen to a lot of murdery true crime podcasts and finished watching The Fall the first day he was gone. So you know, I basically lie awake staring at the shadows surrounding the bedroom door for three hours before falling asleep. 

Cream Wafers with Grapefruit Blood Orange Filling \\ Loves Food, Loves to Eat Which in no way leads me here, to these Valentines Day cookies! Cream wafer cookies with grapefruit and blood orange filling, to be exact. Have you had cream wafers? I saw a photo of them around Christmas, and couldn’t get over how cute they are. The dough is super simple and almost boring: flour, butter, cream. Literally that’s it. Then you cut out the cookies, roll them in sugar, and bake them. On their own, they taste a little like pie dough, i.e.: butter and flour. But when you add the citrusy sweet frosting, something magical happens. It really brings the whole thing together. The cookies are soft but with a slightly flaky crunch type thing going on with the sugar coating, and the filling has that grapefruit tang I love, and is super pretty and naturally pink from the grapefruit marmalade (which I got at TJ’s and loooove on vanilla ice cream) and blood orange juice. Also these are tiny so you can pop one after another and not even realize you’re just consuming sticks upon sticks of butter. 

Cream Wafers with Grapefruit Blood Orange Filling \\ Loves Food, Loves to Eat Also, I envisioned the perfect little teeny heart shaped cookies but I couldn’t find the right cutter… so I rolled some of the dough into a heart shaped log and just sliced those bad boys. They’re aight, but I definitely like the cut-out circle ones better. Oh, and yeah, I pipe frosting out of a ziplock baggie with the corner cut. So there's that. 
Cream Wafers with Grapefruit Blood Orange Filling \\ Loves Food, Loves to Eat

Cream Wafers with grapefruit blood orange filling
Cookie recipe from here, filling adapted from here
If you can’t find grapefruit marmalade, you can use orange marmalade, or your favorite thick jam. You can also use any citrus in place of the blood orange juice, but might not get that pretty pink color.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1.5 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons grapefruit marmalade
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed blood orange

Cream the butter until smooth, and add the flour and cream. Mix (with a hand/stand mixer or fork) until evenly combined. Roll dough into 3 balls, wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 375F.

Put a couple of tablespoons of granulated sugar in a shallow dish. Working with one dough ball at a time (keep the others in the fridge until ready to roll), on a lightly floured surface, roll to about 1/8th inch thick, and cut out using small (about the size of a quarter) cookie cutters. Dip each side of the cut-outs into the sugar to coat. Place on an un-greased (or parchment lined) baking sheet, and poke each cookie with about 6 little holes with a fork or toothpick.

Bake 7-9 minutes. Cookies should be firm but not browned. Carefully transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

For filling, mix together all filling ingredients (with a hand or stand mixer) until combined, light, and fluffy. Pipe filling on the inside of half the cookies, and top with the other half of the cookies to make little sandwiches.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Feeling the Weight

For a while I thought “it’s bound to get better,” or “things will slow down.” But in reality, the hits keep coming. And maybe that’s what life is and what being a grownup out in the world is. Or maybe some people are just luckier than others… but even then, it’s all relative.

In 2014, six weeks before my wedding day, my dad passed away. I was 29 years old, and our little family unit—my mom, dad, sister, and myself—we were closer than most families I know. We had never spent a Thanksgiving or Christmas apart. The grief of losing him was overwhelming and all encompassing. I felt cheated that he didn’t get to be at my wedding. That he would never meet my future children. But then, my sister didn’t even get to share her engagement with him. My mom had been with my dad since she was sixteen, more of her life with him by her side than without. Grief is personal. Grief is all relative. 

Just a year after my dad passed away, my aunt, my mom’s sister, learned she had stage 4 lung cancer, and left us just mere months after the diagnosis. 

It was bound to get better. We were due for a lucky streak. 

Then last summer, someone very close to me, very important to me, was diagnosed with colon cancer—in her early 30s, the epitome of health. She had a major surgery to remove the cancer, and was outfitted with a temporary ileostomy bag during the recovery. She was supposed to have that for a couple of months. Then there was set back in her healing, and she had to have another major surgery, and still, 7 months later, has the ileostomy bag. How do you quantify your pain and grief and fear when a loved one is suffering, compared to the pain and grief and fear they’re feeling?

And then another aunt was diagnosed with cancer. 

Oh, and then my mom’s dog died. 


But it’s all relative. Because even with all the heavy, heavy shit I’m feeling, I live with privileges I did nothing to earn. Even though I see and sometimes feel the crushing weight of the patriarchy, I’m white, straight, cis-gendered. I have a college education and a good job and live in a region with a good economy. My family is dealing with loss and illness and suffering, but isn’t getting shot at during traffic stops. I don’t have family members stuck in war-torn countries, unable to safely get to me. I’m not discriminated against because of my religion or where I happened to be born or because of who I love. I HAVE CLEAN DRINKING WATER. 

It’s all relative. 

So that’s why, under this hefty, weighty personal grief and pain, I still get out there and fight for our freedoms and rights. I march and protest and donate money and call representatives, and do everything I know how to do, which frankly still isn’t enough. I fight like hell to keep what others before me fought for (Like the right to vote, thanks to women who marched and protested. I'd like every single woman who disagrees with protesting to remember that), and fight like hell for everyone else to have that too. 

I have clean drinking water. 

We should all be so goddamned lucky. 


*Note: because of ACA, my dad was able to get health insurance, with a pre-existing condition, at the end of his life. He was able to avoid a lot of the pain and suffering that comes with liver failure, because of that health insurance. The person I mentioned above with colon cancer… she can switch jobs if she chooses, switch insurance coverage, and still get her CRITICAL, LIFE-SAVING healthcare, because of the ACA. It's global and bigger than me and it's also personal.

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