We’ve been having beautiful, just-the-right-kind-of-warm sunny days and chilly autumn nights here in the Midwest. An Indian summer of sorts. Maybe not in the truest sense of the definition, but if I can describe what we’re having as some type of summer, then I’ll go with it. Did anyone ever see that Big Chill-esque early 90’s movie, Indian Summer? Don’t. Or do. Ok, it’s one of those strange guilty pleasure movies of mine….
The arrival of fall this week has had me daydreaming of NYC. In grad school, I would walk during the autumn months from my tiny studio on the Upper East Side of Manhattan across Central Park, to the Upper West Side for class. I was finding my way in the city at that time, and this ritual let me soak in my new surroundings. The park and its changing colors provided calm from the constant hustle and bustle. This was fall….
Scones. To me they scream, “Come on, sit down, take a break, have some tea.” My school year schedule is back to full warp speed. Coaching, work, orchestra rehearsals, swim meets. These days my favorite ritual to decompress is finding new podcasts and listening while baking. Hearing stories about what makes people tick; their passions, their struggles, their loves, and everything in between, is grounding and inspirational. Human beings are pretty incredible, aren’t they?
Strawberry shortcake has always symbolized summer for me. As a kid, strawberry shortcake was an exciting departure from the more common cookie or ice cream treat. At the thought of it, I am instantly transported to our family dinner table on a hot summer night. My little sister, sitting across from me chattering away, curls balking against her ponytail, shooting off in directions one didn’t think hair could go naturally. Me, quietly trying to hide (unsuccessfully) the day’s sunburn from my mom on my fair, not-made-for-summer skin. The ice cream truck and its jingle approaches, taunting the neighborhood outside. Normally, upon hearing this I would have shot outside with as many quarters as I could scrounge up, but who cares when there’s strawberry shortcake for dessert!…
In addition to the weekend being here, it is also the last day of school. All good things. And so, to celebrate, I’ve made these vanilla chai pots de creme, or more appropriately, “happy pots”. Call them what you will, these pots of happiness are simple. A sibling to the more high maintenance creme brulee, the prep for these creamy custards is much easier, plus no kitchen torch required. Or if you grew up in my family, no blow torch required. True story. (We used what we had)….