Halloween is coming!
Okay, it’s still a month away, but it’ll sneak up on you. Like Christmas always does, but way spookier and with much tackier decorations. Speaking of, have you ever really thought about what you’re buying when you buy Halloween decorations? You’re spending money on things to make your house look like actual garbage: cobwebs in a bag, bloody rags, maybe some rubber severed limbs. It’s pretty bizarre, all things considered, to have a holiday where you actively try to make your yard look like you’re some kind of mass murderer with a poor sense of body disposal.
That said, I do love Halloween. What better excuse to put together an amazing costume that represents who you truly are inside? Perhaps Batman, or Beetlejuice, or a sexy Spongebob Squarepants.
But even as an adult, the thing I love most about Halloween is the candy. Or rather, all the candy that goes on massive clearance the day after Halloween, muahahahahahaaha. And the king of all candy? KIT KATS.
My mind is in the tropics, with sand between the toes and an umbrella drink clutched in hand. Two weekends ago, I was in the Bahamas with my friend Sam, taking my first beach trip since I studied abroad in Sydney seven years ago, despite having reassured myself every month since then that a seaside retreat would come soon, so very soon. Sorry, self — I misjudged.
Once the beach was within sight, I stripped off my oversized gingham shirt like it was on fire and sprinted into the waves to do some hardcore frolicking.
I didn’t even stop to check for sharks.
Speaking of which, dressing for the beach is so easy because it’s just 1) bathing suit and 2) something to cover that bathing suit. But in Seattle, it’s back to pants. Ugh. Pants, you guys. PANTS.
Indulge me while I share some vacation snaps with you all, seeing as how my nice tropical tan will soon fade now that I’m back to spending 8+ hours a day indoors in an office. Just let me have this.
I love when birthdays roll around — it gives me an excuse to whip up a special cake that might seem too weirdly decadent when the only other occasion is “It is Tuesday.” This month, my wonderful friend Samantha celebrated her survival of another year, thanks in no small part to the absence of overnight zombie apocalypses and/or spontaneous raptor attacks (though I also suspect she’d handle herself juuuust fine in either of those scenarios).
Samantha is also living the gluten-free life, so I made sure her birthday cake was devoid of those pesky flour products. But I didn’t want to just make a cake that tastes good “for a gluten-free dessert,” which is like saying that Leprechaun: In the Hood is good for a movie about a leprechaun in the hood. Just because something is good for what it is doesn’t mean it’s actually good. In my eyes, a truly successful dish is one that is great and wonderful all on its own, to the point where you don’t even notice it is vegetarian, or dairy-free, or is made entirely of kale and corrugated cardboard. Now that is a culinary homerun.
That is why I arrived here at this lovely citrus cake by Nigella Lawson — it is gluten-free, but it isn’t just delicious for a gluten-free cake — it is delicious in general. And that, my friends, is how you do it. And to add to the list of Reasons Why You Should Make This Cake, consider this novel concept: to get all that juicy clementine flavor, this cake uses three entire clementines, peel and all. Whoa.
I spent most of last week kicking back in Sunriver, Oregon. You guys, that place is incredible. The sky is vast, and so unmarred by big city light pollution and skyscrapers that at night, the stars look like powdered sugar dusted onto black velvet. And during the day, the sun warms the forests so that everywhere the air smells slightly of pine.
I’ve returned now to Seattle with remnants of many mosquito bites, a wicked farmer’s tan, and a hankering for these avocado paletas (or popsicles, if you will). Something about the high desert climate of Sunriver made me think of these. The hot, arid days there just demand something light and refreshing, but not overwhelmingly sweet like your traditional ice creams and sorbets. Enter the avocado.
I know. Avocado? In a dessert? But trust me, it makes sense. This won’t taste like you just froze some guacamole and put it on a stick. Think about the flavor of an avocado by itself — cool, kind of like a luxurious cucumber. Add in just a bit of simple syrup and lime for tang, and oh my. Summer treat heaven.