Since coming home from college for the summer, I’ve had a lot to celebrate. For one, being home is in and of itself a celebration; but getting to take a break from doing my own laundry (thanks mom!), enjoying my mom’s healthy cooked dinners, and getting to take my dog on runs outside have been great perks as well.
The celebrations began with the annual Schuman Family Popeye’s banquet. Because my Grandpa is from Memphis, he likes to get all of the cousins together once a year to stuff our faces at Popeyes. Although he admitted this year that he ate more BBQ than fried chicken back in the day, and even though we were missing one of the cousins, Jaime, who was still at school, the night was still crazy and fun. Our table was filled with two massive boxes of fried chicken (one spicy for Grandpa, of course, and one mild), piles of sauces ranging from honey to hot sauce, onion rings, fries, rice and beans, and my favorite, biscuits. I filled my boat-Popeye’s uses “boats” instead of plates-classic-with the extra crispy spicy chicken wings, biscuits, and a few fries. The evening was filled with greasy fingers and Grandpa’s Navy stories. Even more reason to celebrate, 6/7 cousins were there-from Berlin to London, LA to Michigan, we all made it out for a night of fried food.
This week arrived with many things to celebrate. In my opinion, occasions like a big Shabbat dinner and my friend Lena’s birthday can only be rightly celebrated in one way-with Salted Caramel Brownies.
For a while, I’ve strayed from recipes that involve melting chocolate or other ingredients over a saucepan of boiling water. It seemed a little daunting. However, with the help of a “Real Simple” cookbook and mom’s homemade guacamole as fuel, I put on my big girl pants and used this scary method to melt some chocolate and butter for the Salted Caramel Brownies. These brownies are an Ina Garten recipe, and in Ina I trust. I began to heat the water in my pan, set the bowl of finely chopped chocolate and butter on top, and stirred, praying to Ina that it would work. It did! I have a reason to celebrate-a whole new class of recipes is made available to me now that I’ve adapted to this tool. This method of melting gave my brownies a great, melt in your mouth consistency and a richness that could have never been achieved in the microwave. The salty-sweet combo was a hit amongst family and friends. Thanks, Ina, for instilling melting faith in me!
The little celebrations cannot be overlooked. In honor of Mother’s Day- I made a simple little cookie recipe for my mom-the ultimate popcorn lover. Buttered popcorn cookies, a simple recipe with unique results. By simply popping popcorn, mixing it with a classic cookie dough, and baking it for just a little bit, you end up with a chewy, crunchy, salty sweet texture that isn’t found in most desserts. I knew I made my mom’s day when I saw the little warm cookie I left out for her to taste post-baking disappear within minutes. Like I said, the little things count.
There’s so much to celebrate this summer, especially when those celebrations involve sweets and sharing foodie memories with family and friends. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of the summer!