September 6, 2011
“My baby don’t mess around/because she loves me so/and this I know fo shooooooo…”
Things I’ve learned recently: having the song “Hey Ya!” stuck in your head for two weeks straight won’t actually do you physical harm, even though you may become convinced that you’re going to lose your mind. Eventually you will just let go and make peace with its presence, even embracing it on a few enthusiastic occasions which may or may not involved serenading the dog while dancing around the kitchen with her in your arms. (Usually we stick to Lady Gaga while dancing around the kitchen, but sometimes you have to make concessions.)
I’ve also found that a person can get really, really, REALLY excited about spending her Labor Day weekend…painting her bathroom. For serious. I am now bffs with the folks behind the paint counter at my neighborhood Home Depot. Today we laughed over the more ludicrous paint name colors (“Hallowed Hush,” “Frosted Wine,” “Chilled Lemonade”) and wondered how one goes about getting the job of naming them while my second gallon of “Swan Sea” was mixing. My bathroom-painting project is three-quarters complete, and I must say, I never before appreciated just how many DAMN CORNERS there are in that bathroom. Guarantee I will never look at them the same way again.
Also, Friday nights? Turns out the Jewish people have been right all along, they are totally for resting. Jill and I have begun to observe our own Sabbath of sorts: no company, no plans, and no TV. We decline all invitations for Friday events and instead cook dinner, read, take baths, and are usually in bed by 10:00. We are so, so boring and it is so, so wonderful.
What have been your revelations of late? I’d love to hear them.
LEMON-LIME BASIL SHORTBREAD COOKIES
very slightly adapted from Bon Appétit, July 2011
Another thing I seemingly need to learn–basil is just not going to grow in my yard. Rosemary? Tons of it. Sage? Oh yes. Mint? Like a weed. But that elusive basil, despite the efforts of greenest-of-all-thumbs-Jill, just won’t seem to thrive. So I have decided to let go. I have wonderful friends who bring me giant bunches of their enormous, thriving basil plants, with which I make batches of pesto, toss the rest into salads, dressings, pastas and…these cookies.
Not too sweet, with a nice tang of citrus and just the slightest, herby hint of basil, it’s all-too-easy to down a handful of these with a cup of tea. I think they’d also be lovely rolled out and cut into shapes.
1 cup flour
½ cup powdered sugar, plus a bit more for shaping the cookies
½ cup cold, unsalted butter cut into cubes
a big handful of fresh basil leaves, sliced
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lime
1 T fresh lemon juice
sanding sugar (optional)—you could substitute Turbinado, Demerara, or any other large-crystal sugar, or just use plain ole table sugar
pan: parchment-lined baking sheets
Place all ingredients but the sanding sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until large clumps form and the dough starts to come together. (You could do this by hand with a pastry cutter or your hands, it will just take more time and elbow grease!)
Roll heaping tablespoons of dough between your palms to make balls. Place about 2” apart on the baking sheets, then use the bottom of a glass rubbed in powdered sugar to flatten each ball of dough. If you’re using sanding or decorative sugar, sprinkle it over the tops of the cookies.
Bake until the edges turn light brown, about 15-20 minutes. Cool on racks. These keep well in an airtight container for a few days.