Thursday, March 10, 2011

What I Wish Life Was

Sometimes I wish that life could be simple, a mistake-proof formula of Steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 that lead to health and happiness ever after.

We all know life doesn't work that way.  Even when it's good, it can still be...muddy.

Like my life right now.  I have a wonderful opportunity to start a business of my own, but I'm not sure which kind I want, the one I'll be happy to tire myself out with each week.  While I wait for clarity (Psst, God, over here. Whenever you're ready.), I comfort myself with simple things that are soothing and sure: remembrance of guidance past, cups of tea, comfortable clothes, good reads, and always, always good food.

Since one of the things that I know I love is feeding some of that good food to friends here at the barn, we hosted a few of the collegiates from our church for freshly squeezed lemonade, homemade pizzas, salad, and Italian cookies last Friday.  The poor deprived dears consumed all the lemonade and raved about the homemade ranch dressing, both as a salad topping and as a sauce on one of the pizzas in combination with Italian sausage, red pepper, zucchini, and feta.  I'm very proud to say that the combo was my idea beacause it was wonderful.

Just when they had all decided that they loved me, I brought out the platter of cookies: delightfully bitter mocha puff balls with a texture reminisent of shortbread and glossy rich amaretti whose wow factor belied their ease of execution.  We all swooned further and ate at least one too many, just as we had done with the pizzas.

I think it was days later when I realized that my husband's new best buddies, the amaretti, are what I wish life was: simple, easy, and amazing.  A few basic ingredients are run through a set of clear steps and voila, perfect pleasure.  I even love their name, saying it in my best Sophia Loren accent just because it feels so good in my mouth. (So no, I'm not being a pretentious foodie when I roll out "Ah-ma-rhet-ee."  I don't even know for sure that it's right.  It's just fun and how I'm made.  Born mimics can't help themselves, you know.)

I suppose if life or my tangled mind were simple, I would know what I know and do what I do with no befuddlement or hesitation and all would turn out as sweet as amaretti.  Maybe that's how it will be if I ever get down to my own inarguable basics, as did the brilliant mind who concocted these cookies. If that takes a while, I can always make amaretti and drown my confusion in chamomile tea. 

from Simply Recipes

Makes about 30 cookies

2 1/2 cups almond flour OR 3 cups blanched, slivered almonds, finely ground
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
Extra sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor, mill together the almond flour or ground almonds and sugar.  Add the vanilla and almond extract and pulse for a few seconds.  Add the egg whites, one at a time, and continue to pulse until the mixture is smooth.

Place teaspoons of batter on the parchment lined pans and dust with extra sugar.  Bake for 24 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely before serving.  Store in a cool, dry place.

Note: If you like your cookies chewy, bake them for no longer than the 24 minutes.


Mel C said...

a few things:
1) that meal sounds like it was a blast and tasty too!

2) I wish I could have been there.

3) I can not find my copy of the vegetable curry recipe! I'm going to make it for my small group on Tuesday, but I've lost it! Can you send it to me? (email is I would appreciate it greatly.

Love you and miss you.

Ann said...

On its way, my friend!

me said...

And they're gluten-free! Always, ALWAYS a delightful bonus.

pugsx4 said...

Just found your blog, can't wait to get to know you better. I really like the way you write and your approach to food. Kudos!

Ann said...

Thanks for the encouragement! I will try to stay around. Do come back!