At around 8pm last night, life reached flash flood status.
So I did what my ancestors have done for centuries: I cooked everything in the house.
In the past, when life reached flash flood status, I would do the other thing my ancestors have done for centuries and drank a bottle of wine solo.
But I don’t do that anymore, so the overwhelming discouragement and back alley beat downs of last week magically transformed into applesauce, Zuppa Giovedi, and tangerine biscotti. Little victories, praise Jesus.
Sunday nights in college used to be cooking nights too, way before ‘mealprep’ was an Instagram hashtag. My family has been doing that for generations. We just call it ‘Sunday’ and it usually smells like roasting garlic, and sounds like a lot of people yelling (they're happy, its just how we talk). Even now, my 25-year-old brother spends his weekends baking artisan breads, making stews and soups, and finding new ways to incorporate Asiago into breakfast. Welcome to the life of people who smell like oregano, and kiss strangers hello.
When I was in college, I was working two part-time jobs, taking six classes and participating in four academic clubs. I was a frazzled 20-year-old lunatic trying to graduate early because I was too poor to stay an extra semester. But on Sundays, the cloud of chaos settled onto a kitchen counter strewn with bits of citrus zest, dark chocolate chips, eggs, sugar, and flour.
And today it’s the same. I’m still working two jobs, but these ones are full time. It turns out the things I thought I wanted four years ago are not at all the things I want. They're not even close. God has given me new dreams and opportunities that are so out of my league, but are within His. I’m being confirmed and affirmed where I shouldn’t be, and shot down where I’m strong, which is tough gristle to chew on, I promise you that. New doors are swinging open, and the old ones slamming shut and I’m just trying to keep my fingers from getting pinched…
And avoid scraping my knuckles on the grater as tangerine rind flutters into the mixing bowl. The rind lands softer than the criticisms of last week, the callous words peppering off like a malfunctioning rifle leaving buckshot buried in my soft places. The eggs and sugar beat easier together than all of the broken life pieces I’m trying to whip into some kind of sense because my calling is taking a 180. And when I form the batter into a rectangle, and pat it into place….why can’t everything just sit so nicely? Bake for 35 minutes. I have less than 35 weeks. Scratch that: GOD will do it in less than 35 weeks.
Andrea Bocelli is singing ‘Caruso’ in the background like he has since I was four-years-old. My soup is simmering; its called Zuppa Giovedi, or Thursday Soup, because shopping is on Friday, and whatever is left on Thursday night goes into a pot. It’s amazing how mismatched leftovers and random bits become beautiful when you boil them down and add grated parmesan.
I’m tired of letting people treat me like a mismatched leftover. God has never treated me like a leftover. Not even once.
Even in the midst of the hurt, exhaustion, and biting my tongue while sitting in the cage, He’s teaching me to sing. He’s teaching me to wait with peace on the promises, because the promises are promised and they’re coming. If they’re not here today, its because they were not meant for today, but they’re coming.
In college, I would have put chocolate in the biscotti. Tonight, it needs to be simple. Something has to be simple. I drop the tangerine oil into confectioner sugars and it shines like golden dew against snow. I don’t have to prove my worth to anyone; its inherent. They don’t have to see it for it to be real. They don’t’ have to understand the promises for the promises to come. They don’t have to be likeable for me to show love. They can take those back alley punches, but compared to the blessings that are coming...
I drizzle the glaze over the golden cookies and wait. You never eat Sunday biscotti right away.
It’s always better to wait until Monday morning.
Preheat oven to 350°F
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
In a mixer, beat
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
¼ tsp. vanilla
2 tbs. almond milk
2 drops of Tangerine Vitality Oil
2 tbs. citrus rind grated
Add dry to wet, and mix until firm dough forms. If dough is too wet, add more flour. If too dry, add more almond milk.
On a greased cookie sheet, shape the cookie dough into an oblong-shaped loaf. Bake for 10 minutes or until the bottom of loaf starts to turn golden. Remove from oven, and cut loaf into diagonal slices.
Turn slices onto their sides, and return to oven for 10 minutes. When the slices are golden, flip, and bake another 10 minutes. This seals in the moisture, and keeps the biscotti from being too dry.
Remove from the oven and cool. Glaze with frosting (confectioner’s sugar and fresh citrus juice is what I use), or dip in melted chocolate.
Orange and chocolate – use orange zest for the flavoring, and chocolate chips in the mix. Can be dipped in chocolate or glazed with orange frosting
Key Lime and White Chocolate: Use Lime Vitality Oil and zest in the dough, and white chocolate chips.
Boozy Biscotti: Use one cup of unsweetened baking cocoa in place of one cup of flour. For the flavoring, use 1/3 cup of Kaluha liqueur or Baileys. Add chocolate chips to the dough, and glaze with a frosting of confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and liqueur.
Chocolate Mint: Use one cup of unsweetened baking cocoa in place of one cup of flour. Use Peppermint Vitality Oil for the flavoring and crushed mint candies in the dough. Decorate with frosting (confectioners’ sugar and mint extract), and sprinkle crushed mint candies on top.