Almost time for a New Year’s cleanse. Time to rid the body and spirit of 2015’s excesses and plant the seeds for next year’s projects. (Disclaimer: this post will be rife with symbolism so let’s accept it now.) Time to start cooking more, drinking less (booze). Purging the toxins – habits, substances, maybe even people. Sorry to be all neg, but that’s what I’m doing. And I’m going to replace the old with better habits like using my new Kitchen Aid mixer (thanks Mom), meditation and sleeping – things I don’t do enough. That and focusing on the true and good folks who are already in my life. Because if we take a moment to reflect on all of the people who make our lives enjoyable on a day-to-day basis – friends who check to see how your weekend went, coworkers who make you belly-laugh at 5 in the afternoon before you return to your work cage, sisters who text every day just to say good morning – I’m sure there are at least some people on that list that we forget to show our appreciation for.
Also time to create that 2016 reading list. A little preview of my list looks like this:
- Moby Dick by Herman Melville – because I’ve started reading it THREE TIMES and now the book itself has become my white whale that I need to kill;
- Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari – because AZIIIIIIIIIIZ. I binge watched Master of None in probably 3 sittings. He’s my favorite food-loving comedian who hits dating in New York and – well, Modern Romance, on the nose;
- Purity by Jonathan Franzen – because cultural relevance;
- The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook by Danny Bowien – I skimmed most of this book while standing in McNally Jackson Books, but I need to own it and re-read all of it, including the recipes. It has Q & A style storytelling of Bowien’s past and I never knew he was a culinary school dropout. It inspires me to consider that at a certain point in time he had no clue that he would become the successful chef and restaurant owner he is today. Like that Steve Jobs quote that I read in Arianna Huffington’s Thrive:
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path; and that will make all the difference.
I keep trying to connect the dots looking forward, but I’m going to practice focusing on doing quality work, voraciously consuming things that inspire me and having faith that the dots will connect.
- Hartwood by Eric Werner and Mya Henry with Christine Muhlke and Oliver Strand – because it’s written by the owners of Hartwood in Tulum and I went there once and it was amazing – but more importantly, I love their story of not having any real connection with Tulum except for having visited, but living in Brooklyn and then up and deciding to do the thing one day – because really, sometimes creating a new restaurant or business or whatever is as easy as deciding to do it and then figuring out how to get there.
In memoriam of last year’s refuse, we cleaned out the pantry and made the (AMAZING) compost cookies from Milkbar. The tastiest, junk-filled cookies you ever will make. Savoring the extra space and ROOM TO BREATH in the kitchen of my family’s home in the Catskills, I made these cookies using the pre-made Milkbar cookie mix, which makes the whole process a cinch and can be purchased here. The more ambitious bakers out there can take on the from-scratch recipe, available here. And today, we will be eating these cookies and sending all of our good juju to the Jets.
It’s going to be your best year yet. Happy holidays and feliz año nuevo from Back to Spain.
- cookie mix
- compost packet
- 5 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 cup potato chips
- 1/2 cup mini pretzels (but I used PB-filled pretzel nubs)
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
- Spray baking sheets with non-stick spray OR line with parchment paper
- In a large bowl, combine the cookie mix, butter and egg by hand (that’s how they did it in the old days) or with an electric mixer on low-speed until moistened.
- Stir in compost packet, crushed tater chips, crushed pretzels and any other junk until evenly distributed.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Drop golf-ball size rounds of dough onto baking sheets, 3-4 inches apart from one another – make sure you separate them sufficiently or you will end up with a sheet of cookie.
- Bake 10-12 minutes or until cookies have puffed, spread and browned slightly around the edges. Let them cool, then transfer them to a plate or airtight container.