Friday, May 9, 2014

avocado chocolate chip pound cake

I'm currently studying for my U.S. History exam, and to be honest, it's a lot of mindless memorization.  The kind of memorization that makes my brain mushy and eyes dizzy.


The one thing that keeps the subject mildly interesting are the diary excerpts that sometimes show up in the DBQ section (document-based essay section).  I recently read an excerpt from a diary of a Lowell factory girl talking about how awful the other girls at the factory were, and how terrible the conditions were in the summer -- this humanized the dates and numbers behind the Industrial Revolution; suddenly, history got a lot more interesting.  It's literally reading someone else's diary, but in a socially acceptable way.


In this digital age, I'm not penning my thoughts with a quill on parchment, or even scribbling in a fancy-pants moleskine notebook.  But the thought of a diary fascinates me.


In a way, my diary is the Notes section on my iPhone. It's a lot less romantic than a diary, but just as raw.


I used to get super paranoid when my friends would look at pictures on my phone, for fear that they might stumble across my notes page.  I'm less paranoid now because A) my notes are hidden deep in the depths of my app folders where no one can find them and B) even if you read my notes you wouldn't be able to figure them out.


To get totally crazy here are the first five notes in my phone, and what (I think) they mean. 

"When I see your name" ~ when I see someone's name I feel a certain way.

"Plan:" (followed by no plan to do anything) ~ classic.

"Gm cherry get cash not target demographic" ~ this was probably written at a dark moment while studying for some test.  I wish I could tell you what this means, but I have no idea. Sounds interesting

"Bunky" ~ an old man who wears wife beaters and takes drop-in advanced adult ballet with me.  He wears loafers instead of ballet shoes and, thus can't point his feet.  He has a faded tattoo that spells "bunky" on one of his arms.

"Write about how good it feels to get your scalp massaged at Hair Cuttery" ~ self explanatory


These bits of jibberish are pretty important to me.  I am always paranoid about forgetting things -- so when some stroke of so-called brilliance hits me, I have to write it down or else I will forget it immediately.  Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night, and furiously tap out "boys look cute with visors" (true story).  Other times, I'll write down something a little more constructive like "avocados are the butter of the Earth."  Some of these snippets end up being stories I tell to you all, some of them end up being baked into pound cake, most of them remain in the gigabytes of my phone collecting cyber-dust.


Nonetheless, these shards and memories are the good stuff, like the artichoke hearts of life. When I'm rolled over in bed at 2 a.m. furiously typing a note to myself, you best believe it's important.


With love,
Erica

Ingredients 
1 avocado
1 stick of butter, softened
1 1/4 cup white sugar
4 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line and grease a 9 inch loaf pan.
In a stand mixer, beat the butter, avocado and sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until smooth, add vanilla extract and beat once more.  In a separate bowl, stir together the flour and baking soda.  Stir into avocado mixture until just combined.  Fold in chocolate chips and spoon into loaf pan.  Bake 65 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool, slice, and enjoy!

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

nutella and biscoff pocky sticks


I really like my job as a hostess because I get to see so many people in one day. Every shift, I probably see over a thousand people, and talk to all of them.


Yes, my job is technically just to say "good morning/afternoon," and simply jot down their name and number so I can call them when a table's ready.  I am supposed to show them to their tables, tell them about the brunch specials, and move on to the next party.

However, I approach it a bit differently.  I like to think that I give a little piece of myself away to every person I meet.


I'm the girl who talked to you about how weird bratwurst is.  You helped me pick up my fallen menus when it got windy, I thanked you.  Your kid kicked me in the shins, and I laughed it off.  A lady spilled her heart out to me as she waited for her table about her recent divorce.


Over winter break, I visited Providence with my mom.  We were exhausted, and decided to have dinner around five in a big empty restaurant.  I will never forget our waitress.  After we placed our orders, she just started talking to us.  She told us how she wanted to go into nursing or criminal justice, she told us about how she and her ex-boyfriend had joint custody of her dog, she talked about her big Portuguese family and showed us her Instagram.  I think many people would have been really annoyed by this, but I will never forget her.


Of course, I'm not going to give my customers my whole life story (I'm not trying to get fired...), but I want to leave an impression on them, figure them out a little bit, scratch the surface. I like to think that one day, when that recent divorcee is old and sitting on a park bench watching her grandchildren play on a tire swing, she'll remember me, the hostess she talked to for half an hour about her new lifestyle choices.

I don't know what this has to do with Pocky sticks, I just wanted to talk about it. Enjoy this recipe for jazzed up Pocky sticks!

With love,
Erica



Cookie Sticks
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 egg white
Nutella coating
  • 1 cup candy melts
  • 1/4 cup Nutella

To make the cookies, beat all of the cookie ingredients except for the egg white together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until a dough forms around the paddle. If the dough is too stiff, add a tablespoon or two of water.

Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap, pat into a disk, and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 300 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

Divide the dough into 32 balls (divide into quarters three times).
Roll each ball into a thin stick, about 5-6 inches long.

Transfer each stick to the parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with egg white.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the sticks are golden brown. Cool completely.

To make the coating: Melt the candy melts either in the microwave or a double boiler. Once the candy melts are melted, stir in the Nutella (you can substitute Biscoff for a different flavor!). Pour this mixture into a tall glass.

Once the cookies are cool, dip each cookie stick into the candy melt/Nutella mixture and decorate with sprinkles. If the candy melt mixture is no longer smooth, add a drop of vegetable oil to the mixture until it is a good dipping consistency.

Repeat with the remaining cookie sticks. Refrigerate coated cookie sticks until just before serving. 
 
Enjoy!

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.