Spain, for example. I can't even believe that less than three months ago, I'd be waking up on the eleventh floor of Maria's apartment, grabbing my backpack and heading out on the routine 3-mile walk to campus, strolling past unassuming bookshops and cafes along narrow Valencian streets. Feels like years. And yet, not quite so.
This weekend marks the end of the second week of the semester, and yet it feels like it's been going on for ages. Like there was no summer. Papers, hundreds of pages of reading, mundane assignments, insomnia, having to wake up early, wanting to procrastinate with Netflix. It's like I've been doing this for years without pause. The familiarity is nice, of course, but also draining. Feeling like I've been doing this for years also means feeling like I never get quite enough sleep.
But being a third year now, I don't have to deal with the torture of having to familiarize myself with a new place, overwhelmed by enormous classes and distant professors, new hallmates and suitemates and RAs, missing the ease of having a car on hand.
Instead, I have the ability to drive down to a good friend's apartment at any hour I please, dressed up [for once] and an almost-vegan but totally ethical cake in hand for a relaxing and sophisticated dinner party.
I'd have to say, playing Taboo and discussing anthropological differences in pop-culture film dubs, in a room full of college students well-fed with butternut squash lentils, roasted Brussels sprouts, stewed beans, and ethical cake, is a rather excellent way to spend an evening.
Chelsea invited us over this evening, meeting new friends and reuniting with old ones, for a small little dinner party. Since she eats ethical now, we had a vegan dinner and I took it upon myself to offer to make dessert. I have to admit, the challenge of baking ethical was hugely intriguing.
The cake is a dense walnut chiffon, adapted from Rose's almond chiffon cake recipe in her gorgeous cookbook, made ethical with the use of eggs from happy chickens [courtesy of Whole Foods, of course, and borrowed from Chelsea for this dessert]. Being a chiffon cake, it lacks any sort of dairy and thus is completely vegan save for the eggs.
The frosting is something I've been dying to try for quite a while now; chocolate-avocado "buttercream." Avocado is extremely useful in foods with consistencies like sauces and frostings, as the oil content acts very much like butter. Here, the cocoa powder does a rather good job of masking the avocado taste, and though on its own the frosting is pretty distinct [in neither a positive nor negative way, mind you], on top of a cake it's absolutely brilliant.
And paired with raspberries, it's almost sinful.
Admittedly, I was extremely nervous about this cake. I mean, if it turned out disastrous...a room full of hungry people would be there to tell me all about it. Luckily, it was a hit. And everyone who was unaware of its ethical nature was absolutely floored when I told them about the vegan frosting. Which, I suppose, is the beauty of any sort of substitute dessert: the ability to make them taste convincing. I definitely hope to experiment more with avocado in future.
The rest of the weekend will be spent successfully muggling Famer's Market-bought Ezekiel bread into Panera bread, reading philosophy with a caffeine IV. A trip out of town on Sunday is the only thing motivating me to grin and bear tomorrow's day of catch-up.
As for now, I'm running on about 5 hours of sleep and am in desperate need of some shut-eye. Isn't college just the best?