Saturday, October 12, 2013

KatyInTheKitchen: Birthday Charlotte Russe

A few weeks ago, my sweet roommate requested that I make a special birthday treat for her mother, who is visiting this weekend to celebrate! We discussed something decadent and rich that would be a complete birthday indulgence.

Now that summer is over, I'm back to baking away, and was excited for an opportunity to make a delicious and beautifully presented treat. . .my favorite!

I spent a lot of time deciding what I wanted to make when I happened to come across the idea for a Charlotte, or a Charlotte Russe cake. You've probably seen one before, but not known what's it's called. A Charlotte is a dainty mold cake filled with custard, mousse, or cream and surrounded by ladyfingers or sponge cake.

Since I haven't made one of these treats before, I searched around for some recipes that fit the bill. I made my ladyfingers using this amazing recipe from the Cilantropist, and while her mousse filled Charlotte sounded amazing, I opted for a coconut custard recipe favored by Martha Stewart.

The result, a rich, creamy coconut custard filled Charlotte garnished with some fresh tangy raspberries and finished with a chocolate bow. Divine!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

One Year Later

Warning: This. Is. A. Rant. 
It's been just about a year now since the demise of my darling car Betsy, as some of you may well know. My '98 Escort met her end one sunny day, as some pals and I bounced toward the home of a friend on Boston's rough city streets. There was a snap, some clanking, and the terrifying moment where I wondered if we'd see a wheel rolling past us on the road. . .from our car!

We did manage to make it there and back that day, and I let Bets linger in my parking lot for a few more weeks, un-drivable and defeated, and hoping that she would miraculously be healed. Having dumped a huge amount of money into trying to keep her chugging the previous summer, I didn't bother to take her in to my hott mechanic (see: Fred). You know, no need to beat a dead horse and all.

So, I said my goodbyes and donated her off to the Special Olympics.

Thus began my first year, ever, of not having a car. Betsy was my car before I even had my license, and got me through 8 years of a lot of life changes. 

I'd like to say that this has been the best year ever, and I realized having a car is foolish and needless in a walking city with accessible public transportation (if one can call the B line thus. . .). For sure, I didn't miss having to shovel out a car this winter, or pay for car insurance, or feel the helpless frustration of walking up to my parked car and seeing a telltale orange paper tucked beneath a windshield wiper.

But, really. I'm over this.

Sometimes I just want to go to Target at 8 o'clock at night for no other reason then to look at sunglasses. And sometimes, I want to grocery shopping and have it not take 2 hours. Also, as much as I wax poetic about this blessed city, sometimes I just want to get out of it. 

I want to go home to the country, or the beach, or just go to dang church on a rainy Sunday and not have it be a giant production involving planes, and trains, and (gracious) friends who've offered into giving me a ride. I would like to go visit my grandma, who always asks me when I'll be in town, instead of reminding her I don't have a car so I won't be in the wilds of northern Connecticut anytime soon.

 I've been trying to look on the positive side of this past year. I hope that I have grown more patient, and less structured. That I am more compassionate with people for tardiness and changed plans, and grumpy arrivals. Especially now that I know what it's like to watch the bus (that showed up early) drive by my stop while I stand on the other side of the street jabbing at the walk signal and wondering if I have the ninja skills to run through traffic in enough time to catch it.  I hope it has made me more vulnerable, and willing to admit to people I need help, because sometimes I do. 

But, OK, also, I really hope that this next year brings a new car. . .