HELLO FEBRUARY! Though I went on two long-weekend adventures during the first month of 2015-- one to a cabin in Virginia for New Year's and another cross-country skiing in West Virginia-- the rest of my free time has largely been spent at home-- reading and writing, knitting and watching movies, listening to podcasts and making food. I've really been feeling the winter nesting alone time vibes; honoring those feelings has felt both productive and relaxing. I'm not sure if February will prompt a changing tide, but I'm open to whatever it sends my way.
In the first few years after I graduated college, my friends and I self-published a collaborative literary journal/zine called The Dovetail Collective. The theme and concept was constantly changing, but each issue had a regular column where members shared what they were currently reading, watching, and listening to. In what were largely pre-social media days (most of us had Myspace pages, but that's about it), it was a good way to get reliable book, movie, and music recommendations. In the spirit of that and my especially bookwormish tendencies as of late, here's what I've been reading/watching/listening:
Reading: Carolyn Chute's Treat Us Like Dogs and We Will Become Wolves. I've had the pleasure of getting to know Carolyn the past few years through NELP. She writes about a side of Maine-- her side-- that's not regularly depicted in the coastal tourist paradise stereotype we're often fed and her stories are raw and real and complicated. I also just started Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven and am totally enthralled.
Watching: Star Trek: The Next Generation. Yep, when I finally finish the sweater I'm knitting, there will be many hours of TNG invested in those stitches. Also, Broad City. For movies I recently enjoyed Selma and Iranian vampire movie, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night.
Listening: Serial and the new NPR podcast Invisibilia (one of the producers, Lulu Miller, was actually a member of The Dovetail Collective). Still blasting D'Angelo's Black Messiah in the work headphones and have been spinning Jake Xerxes Fussell's new self-titled album on Paradise of Bachelors.
Inspired by Hoosier Mama's Cranberry Chess Pie
Nothing in the House pie crust, halved
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60% or higher)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 Tablespoon yellow cornmeal
2 large eggs, beaten well
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 cups fresh cranberries, halved
1. Prepare half of Nothing in the House pie crust as per the directions, reserving the leftover egg for an egg wash. Chill dough at least one hour before rolling and fitting into a greased and floured 9-inch pie pan. Let chill in the fridge while you prepare the filling. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Place the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until both butter and chocolate are melted into a smooth chocolate sauce, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a medium bowl.
3. Add the sugar and cornmeal to the chocolate mixture and stir until well combined. Then add the eggs, vanilla, salt, and orange zest. Stir with a wooden spoon until evenly mixed. Gently fold in the cranberries.
4. Pour the batter into the pie shell and smooth with a rubber spatula. Bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating pie 180 degrees halfway through. When done, filling will be puffed and set and crust will be golden brown. Remove pie from oven and let cool until warm, at least 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with chocolate shavings, if desired.
Cranberry Chess Pie
Cranberry Hand Pies
Chocolate Chess Pie