Archives for category: food

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

As a holiday gift one of my students presented me with a home-baked coffee cake. Possibly one of the best coffee cakes I’ve tasted. I knew I was in trouble from the first slice and so I did the only reasonable thing: I cut the cake in half, wrapped one half in foil to share with a friend and put the remaining half in the freezer. My intention was to reward myself from time to time with a sliver of its walnut and buttery goodness.

Yeah. That kinda didn’t happen.

Because this is that weird week. That odd week at the end of each year that we don’t really know what to do with. We’re sort of finished with the gluttonous food frenzy that began at Thanksgiving, and yet we still have New Years to contend with. For the self-employed yoga teacher it’s that week when not all classes are in full swing. Private clients are off skiing or basking in Hawaiian sun. In other words – I have a bit of time on my hands. Sure, I could put this time to good use like cleaning my kitchen floor or organizing my storage space. But didn’t I just get done making a resolution to be kind to myself? I think I did (you can read about it here).

And so I had no choice. I had to eat the coffee cake.

Now before you picture me a twitching, glassy-eyed madwoman with brown sugar crumble smeared on my face and trailing down the front of my sweatshirt – I didn’t say I ate ALL the coffee cake. In fact, I backed away from the coffee cake after the second sliver (ok…third sliver). Yep. I burped that Tupperware baby and slipped that bad boy right back in the freezer where it belonged.

Because half the fun of luscious coffee cake is the anticipation of enjoying that last slice on Sunday morning, warmed gently, with a mug of steaming fresh pressed coffee.

Besides, like I said, I resolved to be kind to myself. And to me that means taking a middle path. Showing a bit of moderation. Even when the best coffee cake in the world is begging to be enjoyed.

Is it Sunday yet?

ps…Yes, I’ll try to get the recipe… 

376 words/20 minutes with 10 minutes of fussing

 

I nestled it in my palm and gave it a small squeeze. It was soft all the way around. Not mushy. Just soft. I knew it was a gamble but I didn’t have much to lose. I carved a neat circle with the point of my paring knife, took hold of the dried foliage and pulled. Inside, near the skin, the orange crimson flesh was soft – almost gelatinous. But it was the firm core that troubled me. Had I done it again? Had I given in too soon?

One gorgeous, beautiful, ripe persimmon.  Worth waiting for.

One gorgeous, beautiful, ripe persimmon. Worth waiting for.

Maybe all this meditation is paying off, because the persimmon was just a few hours shy of being perfect. My spoon slipped into the melted flesh. The cool fruit had the perfect amount of sweetness balanced with a tang that reminded me of ripe passion fruit.

If you crave instant gratification you’re better off grabbing a banana. But if you want to enjoy the most delicate, complex flavor (and practice mindful patience at the same time) keep the company of five persimmons for six weeks and then, when they’re almost mushy, one-by-one chop their cut little tops off and scoop spoonfuls of Mother Nature’s Instant Pudding down your gob.

Speaking of patience, being mindful, meditation and compassion: Santa Claus brought my upstairs neighbors a television. I couldn’t be more thrilled. Really.

They fell asleep in front of it last night. Or at least I think they did because when I pulled out one earplug at 2:00 AM I couldn’t hear his booming bass voice but I could hear the booms from the war drama they had been watching.

No, I didn’t hear him until 4:00 AM. He wakes up at 4:00 AM and although their apartment is the exact size and floor plan as mine (about 200 square feet) he’s worried he won’t heard with all the racket of pre-dawn going on outside in our little patch of suburbia.

Sigh.

No, I don’t enjoy complaining but neither do I enjoy confrontation. Moving is not an option, but these are:

  1. Stop complaining because, quite frankly, I sound like a cranky old lady.  And I am not a cranky old lady.
  2. Begin a gratitude practice: I’m grateful for the roof over my head. I’m grateful for the sounds of life and happiness that surround me. I’m grateful for earplugs. And valerian. And red wine.
  3. Be grateful for those moments when I am in “the flow” and whatever is happening around me (or above me) melts into the ether and I don’t hear a thing. Like now, for instance.
  4. Extend the hand of friendship. I should introduce myself. Perhaps with a holiday card welcoming them to the neighborhood and a basket of almost ripe persimmons. (NO! They’re NOT getting the persimmons!)
  5. Accept the things that I cannot change: I cannot move. I cannot build a sound barrier between their floor and my ceiling. I cannot become a raging lunatic pounding with a broom handle and shouting at them to “Turn down the damn TV!!”  That is SO not an option.
  6. Embrace the things I CAN change: like my attitude. My practice. If I can wait weeks while persimmons ripen I can adapt to the cacophony of noisy neighbors, creaky floors, bombs falling and couples in love.

Yes. I can.

554 words/about 30 minutes with a bit of revision

English: Bird on a Persimmon Tree. A Nuthatch ...

They arrived in a plastic bag. Five orange orbs hard as rocks.

“They’re from my tree. Aren’t they beautiful?”

They were beautiful. They are beautiful. Persimmons are beautiful.

And the most painful test of patience known to humankind.

Six weeks later and the five persimmons on my kitchen counter are settling in just fine. One or two yield slightly to my fingers. The others refuse to show any indication that they intend to ripen anytime this year. Or this century.

Still, if I can just hold on a few more weeks. If I can wait until January. Oh! What a treat I’ll have!

But I never do.

I am a woman of limited patience.

And I know that in a few days – in a weak moment on Sunday afternoon – I’ll cradle each persimmon and gently press. I’ll fool myself into believing they’ve given in to the decay that calls them and their beautiful fruit has turned into a sweet, gooey pudding. I’ll choose the one that I know – I just know – is ready, and I’ll slice its top off.

One look indicates that now is not the time. That my patience failed me again. But I’ll refuse to admit that this was a bad idea. I’ll take a spoon and scoop a bit of reluctant persimmon flesh into the spoon’s bowl. As it heads toward my mouth I plead to the Goddess of Goodness for the taste of sugar.

Anyone who has ever eaten a persimmon too early knows what happens next.

Instead of sweetness, my mouth puckers. The saliva that could help me complete the process of mastication has disappeared. Drawn up and away. It’s not sour, nor bitter. Just vile. I spit the fruit from my mouth.

Another year. Another wasted persimmon. Another tragic gastronomical moment. Because if I had waited, I would have tasted bliss. The effects of an unripe persimmon on the mouth’s mucosa are despicable. But a ripe persimmon? It’s like tasting heaven.

As I clean up the mess I promise myself and the four remaining persimmons that I will wait. I will wait. Because some things are worth waiting for.

And then it occurs to me. Persimmons are late bloomers. Just like me.

374 words, 15 minutes, very limited revision