"When did you start thinking of yourself as a woman? Like an adult woman and not just a girl," I asked my friend Jenna.
I asked her this question, because she is one of my friends that I undoubtedly consider to be a woman. She's married, has a house, and just had her second child. Her answer wasn't what I expected.
After a pause, "When I had Ari."
Ari is her second child.
I asked, "Not when you had Ingrid?"
Jenna replied, " No, I didn't think I was doing anything right. Jairus has always been so sure of everything. It's something I've always admired about him. He sets out a plan and does it. We did everything so fast. I kind of felt like I was pretending."
From the first time I stepped foot inside Jenna's house and met her daughter Ingrid, I realized a stark contrast between her life and that of my other friends. At the start of my other friendships in my twenties, I'd been introduced to old, drafty houses with mismatched mugs and a revolving door of roommates. I even knew someone that would purchase nice kitchen things for when she'd get a "grown-up apartment". Jenna, on the other hand, birthed her roommates. Her house is a home.
To hear that she only recently started to consider herself a woman, was strangely reassuring. My twenties have gone through all manners of fits and starts towards this simultaneously rigid and nebulous idea of adulthood. It made me feel better to hear someone who had ticked some of the significant adult boxes had been feeling the same insecurities.
Girls first came out when I had just graduated from college, when you think to yourself Oh shit. College is over. What do I do now? Figure it out. The clock starts now! I didn't realize it was a timed race. No one told me it was gonna be a race, but it feels like we're racing. Should I have trained more for this?! So now I'm panged by the impending loss of Girls, because it's operated on a similar timeline to my own life as a Millennial girl trying to figure it out. In honor of the series finale of Girls, I've paired each of the four main characters with a dish that I think personifies them respectively. R.I.P Girls.
Bathtub Cupcake (Lemon & Ginger Curd-Filled Vanilla Cupcakes w/Cream Cheese Buttercream)
If you wake up and swing by the fridge for a cupcake to snack on while you take bath with your best friend, you're really living life. Every day is Treat Yo Self when you're a young writer trying to enrich your life with experiences worth noting. So why not wake 'n' cake?
Lemon & Ginger Curd-Filled Vanilla Cupcake w/ Cream Cheese Buttercream
makes 1 dozen cupcakes
Vanilla Cupcake adapted from Add a Pinch's Yellow Cake
1/2 cup of butter, softened
1 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cupcake pan with baking cups.
In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light in color, about 3 minutes. One at a time, incorporate the eggs and egg yolk, making sure that each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together salt, baking powder, and flour. Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Mix until combined. Add half of the buttermilk, then add the remaining half of the dry ingredients, followed by the remaining buttermilk and vanilla. Mix to combine.
Spoon batter to fill each cupcake liner 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 15-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool completely.
Lemon & Ginger Curd
2/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons ginger juice (I used a juicer, but you can also place the peeled ginger in a blender and strain the solids to extract the juice.)
2 eggs yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 stick of butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
In a medium metal mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, lemon juice, ginger juice, eggs, and yolks. Place the metal mixing bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure that the water does touch the metal mixing bowl, or your curd will cook too quickly. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a pudding, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in salt, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Transfer curd into a medium bowl. Press plastic wrap to the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming on top. Chill in refrigerator until completely cold, about 2 hours.
Cream Cheese Buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup cream cheese, softened
4 2/3 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a stand mixer, beat together the the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat until smooth.
Fill a piping bag fitted with a tip (It doesn't really matter what kind, but a star or round tip with a medium to large opening is easier to work with) with the curd. Pipe 1 to 2 tablespoons of the curd into the center of the tops of the cupcakes.
Using a small offset spatula or knife, place about 3 tablespoons of buttercream onto the center of the cupcake top. In one smooth motion, push the buttercream to the edge and around the circumference and work your way in a spiral that lifts off at the center. But, hey, do you! Mine were no beauties but still charming and delicious.
I obviously have feelings about Marnie. Jkjk. She's grown on me tremendously. Here's the real one...
Duck Breast Salad w/Pomegranate Molasses Dressing
Marnie's all about that presentation! She's bougie but on a budget. This is an homage to the paltry duck dinner that she prepared for the girls and several uninvited and ungrateful guests in the Hamptons. Whether it's meticulously enunciating every word she sings or curating a visual narrative on Instagram, she's trying really hard. This duck breast salad is as elegant and ambitious as she is.
Duck Breast Salad w/Pomegranate Molasses Dressing
Pomegranate Molasses Dressing
1 tablespoon of finely minced shallots
1 1/2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, whisk together all the ingredients but the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. While whisking constantly, in a thin, slow stream, pour the olive oil into the mixture. Season with salt and pepper again if needed.
Duck Breast Salad
2 duck breasts, each about 4 to 6 oz
6 cups of greens (I used an arugula and spinach mix, but do you)
segments of 3 medium or large citrus fruits (I used 2 cara cara oranges and a grapefruit)
1 cup of blackberries
1 medium radish, quartered and thinly sliced
Pat the duck breast dry with a paper towel. Using a sharp knife, score the duck skin in a cross-hatch pattern, being sure not to cut the meat. Salt and pepper both sides.
Heat a pan on medium-low heat. Once the pan is sufficiently hot, place the duck skin-side down into the pan and cook until the skin is crisp and golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Turn the duck over to cook on the other side. To achieve medium-rare, another 3 to 5 minutes will do. The texture should be firm and tender but spring back slightly. I like mine a little more done, so I added a lil' more cooking time. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
Slice the duck breast and place on a plate. Lightly toss the greens and radish in some of the dressing. I start light with the dressing and add more if needed. Top the duck breast with the greens and radish. Garnish the salad with the citrus segments and blackberries. Et voila!
Chili Pepper Pot Brownies
I don't mean for this to be an over-simplification of angry, former addict Jessa. I dedicate this dish to Jessa with the utmost respect for her complexity as a soulful, aggressive, seductive, mercurial, sharp-toothed mermaid. These brownies are decadent, chewy, dark, very spicy, and a little fruity from the habanero. P.S. Weed.
Chili Pepper Pot Brownies
1 g kief*
0.5 ounce (15g) of Dutch-processed cocoa
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon boiling water
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 egg + 1 yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup sugar
124 g all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon all spice
1/4 teaspoon ancho powder
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/8 teaspoon habanero powder
3 ounces chocolate, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (I used 70% cocoa, but you can even use semisweet chips if you'd like)
We first need to decarboxylate the kief to make it psychoactive. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Place kief in a small ovensafe container (I used a ceramic pinchbowl) and cover with foil. Bake for 7 minutes. Allow to cool with cover on, about 20 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the rack in the lowest position. Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with foil and lightly coat with vegetable oil spray.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, spices, and salt until homogeneous.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa, instant coffee, unsweetened chocolate, and boiling water until smooth. Whisk in the oil, butter, and kief. Add the egg, yolk, vanilla, and sugar and whisk until smooth.
Using a spatula, mix the flour mixture into the wet mixture. Fold in the chocolate pieces. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted halfway between the center and the edge comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool completely, about 2 hours. Cut into 25 squares (5 rows of 5). The brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temp and are best enjoyed within 4 days.
*A note on dosage: It's nearly impossible to precisely determine the THC dosage of at-home edibles, but you can get to a relative estimate. It will depend on the THC percentage of your kief. Here's how to calculate the dosage:
1 gram = 1,000 mg
My store-bought and lab-tested kief is 63% THC.
63% THC of the 1,000 mg of kief = 630 mg THC in the entire product a.k.a. pan of brownies.
Divide the total THC by the number of servings.
630 mg THC divided by 25 brownies in the pan = 25 mg THC per brownie. (This is considered a strong dosage.)
That being said, your individual tolerance for THC and/or edible THC is another factor that is difficult to account for. So I recommend starting off with half of one serving and waiting an hour before deciding to consume more. Most beginners start off with a 5 mg THC serving. For reference, most store-bought cannabis edibles are sold in 5 mg or 10 mg servings.
Cronut from Dominique Ansel Bakery Japan
Duh! She met her future husband at a friggin' Sprinkles vending machine! There's always been a lightness, a girlishness to the cute trend-loving Shoshanna. Shosh might just be Millenial Pink incarnate. Surely, a marketing maven like Shosh is down with the branding power and innovation of the Cronut.
Dominique Ansel's At-Home Cronut recipe can be found over at ABC News.