I invited a few people over for Taco Tuesday this week, and by the time Monday night came to an end I had NO PLANS for dessert. It was like my whole world was turned upside down. How could I not have a plan for the most important meal of the day?! As I was lying awake that night, panicking about not having a dessert already made, much less even an idea of what to make, I remembered that I had heavy whipping cream AND sweetened condensed milk in the house. An anomaly for sure! The presence of these ingredients inspired me to prepare some vanilla no churn ice cream with chocolate chips. Also I decided to whip up a batch of my personal recipe of chocolate chip cookies (which of course includes browned butter because that’s probably one of my most favorite flavors ever)! The kicker is that since I didn’t think of any of this until I was falling asleep, I bounded out of bed at 5:45 the next morning so I could get it all put together before leaving for work. It turned out amazing - perfectly creamy and rich, combined with warm mini chocolate chip cookies that were baked while everyone was finishing their dinner, and topped with course grain sea salt for a delicious flavor contrast. Also as I’m writing this, I’m realizing how lucky I am that I have found something that inspires me to get up that early in the morning and be EXCITED about it! But I digress.
After making something that is heavy on the dairy and the sugar (and the love!!) I am so appreciative of the fact that no one in that Taco Tuesday group was adhering to a fad diet, and I’ll tell you why. I’ve had the happy realization that I’ve become my grandmother, partly because just like her, the way I show you my love and affection is to feed you.
Now, I’m not nearly as good of a cook as she was by any stretch, but I sure can whip up some desserts that will make your jaw drop & will probably make you lose all self-control when it comes to portion sizes.
And if you know me in real life, you probably know that I’m a bit of an enabler (at least that’s what everyone tells me. I prefer to see it as being supportive!), and that usually I’ll enable (support) you to do things that make you feel good or happy. I will tell you to buy those shoes because they’ll look great with your new outfit! I’ll encourage you to book that trip because when else are you gonna get to go?? And if you have to ask, I will insist that OF COURSE we should order one last glass of wine before we leave because we need to spend just that much more time together.
But when it comes to diets, I will NOT enable (support) you. I’ll become a stubborn three year old that you just told no, because I take it very personally when my friends go on diets. When someone close to me has shared that s/he is on a new diet or has decided to give up sugar for the month or is intermittently fasting I start seeing red. To me, it becomes a “why won’t you let me love you?!” sort of situation, and apparently I don’t take rejection well. Nor will I shoulder any of the blame for you needing a diet. I’ll just sit and brood about how your diet is stifling my creative opportunities, and I will probably try to talk you out of it.
Also once my people start going on diets, I then feel like I’m required try and conquer a whole other section of pastry that fits into their diet rules, whether it’s low carb, vegan, or sugar free (the worst!) and I beat myself up about it because I know that’s not where my skillset lies. The most recent incident (and the one the inspired me to finally speak out against my friends going on restrictive diets) was the one where my darling friend went on a diet THE WEEK BEFORE her birthday. I was so mad at her because HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO MAKE YOU A BIRTHDAY CAKE IF YOU CAN’T HAVE SUGAR OR CARBS?!? (My friends' birthdays are all about me, really.) Plus there was no time to research and test out sugar- and carb- free recipes for cakes and I was panicking!! -- FUN FACT: Most people don’t realize this, but sugar substitutes aren’t a 1:1 replacement for sugar in baking, nor are all gluten free flours. The sugar and flour substitutes can change the chemistry, liquid content, and protein bonds in the baking, so you have to develop specific recipes to work with that particular substitute. -- Fortunately this lovely lady took pity on me after my temper tantrum and switched her “cheat day” (I despise that term. It makes it seem like you’re doing something wrong for eating normally. Let’s just call it a “normal day”, shall we? Or a “non-diet day”. Or a “happy day”. Whatever you’d like.) to the day we were planning to hang out to celebrate her birthday, and she let me break out my old bartending skills to make her some birthday cocktails.
It’s at this point in the story that I must call out the absolute hypocrisy of my rant. You see, I have my very own special dietary restrictions that I never take a “happy day” from, so I ended up making three separate recipes of this classic, elegant cocktail – the French 75 - in order to accommodate all of us. Since I can’t have anything with bubbles, I made mine with white wine. Since our other marvelous lady friend was driving home in a few hours, she asked for just a half recipe for herself. And as for our splendid birthday-girl-on-a-diet (who lives across the street from me and walked over, so alcohol consumption was a non-issue) I couldn’t use simple syrup because that’s not allowed, even on her “happy day” so I used a sugar substitute that she very graciously brought over for me to use in her drink since I don’t mess with sugar substitutes under any circumstances.
So my tip of the week is this: please, please be nice to me and all the sweets makers in your life by eating your veggies and doing your workouts on the reg so you don’t have to go on a diet and ruin my day/week/month/however long you decide to stay on your diet. Please.