The Cruller Purple

Raise your hand if you’re embarrassed about something you’ve done in the past decade. I’m currently typing with one hand while the other is waving proudly in the air. I imagine most people (at least those in their twenties) reading this are doing the same.

I could choose to write about probably a billion things from my high school years. Maybe I could tell you about my diary entries in which I planned my marriages to several boys at the local prep school. Then I could go on to describe the week in which I got a perm, cried and cried at the wet poodle look, chopped my hair off to my skull to start over, and endured months and months of bowl cut to mullet in the spirit of growing it all out. Finally, I could tell you to top it all off, having successfully survived and maybe even thrived in high school, how I began my salutatory address at graduation by singing. No warning, no accompaniment, not a song that anyone would know, but instead a soulful ballad from the musical version of The Color Purple (which I haven’t even seen).

In the somewhat epistolary form of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Celie writes letters to communicate to her sister, or even to God. Her letters are filled with horrible tales of domineering or abusive men, societal restrictions, and broken heartedness. Keeping all of that in mind, I’d like to communicate a message to my younger self.

Dear High School Laura:

Go ahead and dye your hair. Chop it all off; hair grows back. Plan your diary marriage to any one of those Devon Prep boys, even the ones you’ve only spoken to twice. Planning fake weddings is fun. Do goofy things and do them because you chose to. Sing your heart out at high school graduation because at no stage in life is singing out loud unacceptable. No one is stopping you, and that’s a beautiful thing!

Love,

Present Day Laura, who is contently reminiscing on the embarrassing moments and munching on a cruller purple.

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Cruller batter:

1 cup water

1 stick butter

Pinch of salt

2 tbsp sugar

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 eggs

Canola oil

Instruction:

1. Bring water, butter, salt, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla extract to boil in medium saucepan. Add flour and beat with wooden spoon over heat for about two minutes. (Batter should be smooth and should come away from the sides of the saucepan easily.)

2. Transfer batter to standing mixer and allow to cool until lukewarm. Begin to beat batter, adding eggs one at a time. Use piping bag or hands to form batter into desired cruller shapes. (These can be disks, tubes, or anything, really!) If batter is sticky, put already shaped cruller batter into freezer to firm up.

3. Meanwhile, heat oil to 350 degrees. Drop each cruller in, allowing to cook for about eight minutes (turning occasionally for even browning and cooking. Remove from oil and place on paper towel.

Blueberry glaze:

3/4 cup blueberries

Juice of 1 lemon

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/4 cup milk

Instruction:

1. In blender, combine blueberries and lemon juice. Strain into bowl, then whisk in milk and confectioner’s sugar until glaze is smooth. Drizzle over warm crullers. Garnish with confectioner’s sugar.

Enjoy blueberry glazed crullers with Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, and check in at http://warandpeach.com for future recipes and book reviews!

The Pancakening

I’ve been assigned to read The Awakening for several classes during many phases of life. Because of the times during which it’s cropped up in my life – early high school, early college, and finally late college – the novel has become a vehicle for reflecting on my own coming of age. For instance, the first time I read the book was during my freshman year of high school. This was the time in my life when my journal entries bemoaned personal flaws and the reasons no boys liked me. Like Chopin’s protagonist, Edna, it is easy to feel trapped in a situation, unable to see the bright future because the current situation seems so bleak.

Several weeks ago, I attempted to make pancakes for my boyfriend. I woke up early, went to the store, and came back with all what I thought were all the ingredients. Leaving out baking powder and several other essential elements, the end result was a weird gooey almost styrofoam-like mess. We chucked the evidence, ordered Chipotle, and didn’t look back. There were no subsequent journal entries about how my dreamboat crush would hate me because my pancakes didn’t turn out perfectly. It didn’t mean I was trapped in my own horrible, baking powder-less cage. (It did, however, make me determined to learn how to make good pancakes.)

The Awakening has followed me through many phases of life – ups, downs, failed pancakes, amazing pancakes. And depending on how much red wine you put in that syrup, you might go through these phases feeling like Edna, drifting away on the waves.

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Lemon Blueberry Pancakes

1 1/4 cup flour

2 tsp sugar

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup milk

2 tbsp veg oil (plus extra to coat the fry pan)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 lemon’s zest

1/2 cup blueberries

Instruction:

1. In small bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest.

2. In large bowl, whisk milk, egg, vanilla extract.

3. In three separate batches, incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet. When combined, add veg oil and whisk again. The batter should be a bit lumpy. Fold in blueberries until incorporated.

4. Add a bit of veg oil to a large fry pan and ladle pancake batter in. (I make three at a time.) Flip when small bubbles begin to form on the top and cook for about a minute further on the second side (until light brown).

Red Wine Syrup:

1/2 cup red wine

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

Instruction:

1. In small saucepan on medium heat, dissolve sugar in water and red wine. Allow liquid to reduce until a syrupy consistency. Pour on top of lemon blueberry pancakes and enjoy a decadent breakfast!

Red wine for breakfast? It’s 5:00 somewhere! Enjoy Lemon Blueberry Pancakes in Red Wine Syrup with Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, and check in at http://warandpeach.com for future recipes and book reviews!