Saturday, August 27, 2016

Feeling it

For weeks I have confined myself to the house, shades drawn, to escape the heat and humidity. Occasionally daring to leave the house, I hurry to the car and crank up the air conditioning. Now that it’s almost September, I realized that I have barely been outside all summer. So with incredible courage (drama queen!) tonight I turned out the lights and sat outside in the dark, simply breathing and looking at the night sky.

I had nearly forgotten what a summer night feels like. I grew up without air conditioning. How could I have forgotten the feel of summer? Tonight I let my bare arms and legs be sacrificial lambs to the over-abundant mosquito population, without moving or swatting them away. The planet in the western sky (Jupiter? Venus?) was the only light in the muggy sky. Street lights were encased in a soft mist. Crickets sang. I wish I had seen the bats that I usually see at sunset but they were hidden in the darkness.

I just breathed and soaked in what a night in late August feels like. Like this. And I looked at the sky and silently said, “Lord, help me to accept what is. Give me the strength to be present. When I need comfort and support, when I need to trust you in the hard times, please be there. When I rejoice in the good times, let me remember to be grateful. No matter what, let me walk through life with my eyes—and my heart—wide open.”

If tomorrow morning I am covered in mosquito bites, I may consider myself a fool. But for now, I am glad I had the opportunity to feel a summer night.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Vidalia onion doughnuts

I’m losing my mind. It’s a combination of heat stroke, cabin fever, and carbohydrate craving all rolled into one ugly ball. There is no food in my house. By food, I mean doughnuts. Barbeque potato chips sometimes work as a substitute, but in this heat the only thing I want is a doughnut. At about 4 in the afternoon—the carb crazy witching hour—I started prowling through my pantry. There was nothing there worth eating. Then I began looking in the drawers in the living room where I sometimes hide pieces of chocolate or Strawberry Twizzlers so I won’t find them. If there was anything hidden, I didn’t find it. Well done, Miss Hider.
For nearly two weeks the outside temperature has hovered around 100 degrees. I say this with clenched teeth, trying not to curse about the appalling heat index that the meteorologists use just to further annoy me. It would be ridiculous to leave my air-conditioned house and get into my car that is so hot the seats would render lard into liquid fat. For even longer than two weeks, I have had a migraine nearly every day. I don’t usually get migraines. Except I am in a bad phase. Don’t blame me, it’s organic brain disease.

So. In my addled condition, I start thinking there must be some way I could garner all my culinary creativity and make doughnuts with the few ingredients I have on hand. Here are my choices: canned tomatoes, frozen veggie burgers, panko, one egg, some Parmesan cheese rinds, a vanilla protein drink, and a package of exotic lasagna noodles. There also is a jar of hatch chile salsa in my pantry, but that just seems wrong. I've got a lovely basket of organic Vidalia onions that shouldn't go to waste. Is that just too weird? I want a simple cake doughnut with crunchy sugar on top. I'd have to use the old brick-hard dregs of a package of brown sugar for the topping. Stevia won't do. But the dough? Can I put the exotic lasagna noodles in the food processor with the panko? It might look like flour if I grind it enough. My lovely stainless steel Kitchen-Aid stand mixer is supposed to perform miracles. I can add the egg, pray that I have some baking powder or soda, and throw in some of the protein drink to get the dough consistency right. Do you think it will work?