Mojo between sisters

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You really do.

No one eats with more reckless abandon while on vacation than I do. Add my constant treat-yourself mentality and you’re looking at a lot of calories consumed on any given out of town trip. Case in point: my recent jaunt to South Florida.

When my sister announced we were having donuts for breakfast Sunday morning, I was fully on board and off we went to Mojo Donuts in Pembroke Pines, the otherwise barren desert of strip malls and gated communities.

While I’m a lover of just a plain ol’ French cruller or a classic Boston cream, my sister loves really over-the-top  donuts, filled with jams and custards, crusted with all manner of confections and drizzled with syrups and sticky, sugary things.

Mojo was one hundred percent my sister’s kind of donut shop, but you know what? I thought it was pretty great, too.

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You really do.

For a light breakfast to start off a day that would end up with me in a bikini by the pool, we went with a red velvet, banana cream pie, pistachio mousse chocolate, cannoli, guava and cheese, and Nutella and bacon assortment of donuts.

Completely over the top? Uhm, yea. Gluttonous as all hell? Duh. Finger lickin’ good and a perflectly acceptable way to bond with your sibling over your shared love of carbs and sugar when you have little else in common? Absolutely.

When the spirit moves me

I always have to correct people when they assume I know how to cook, or even that I enjoy cooking. I don’t. I just like to eat. And dammit, I’m great at it.

But every once in a blue moon, something’ll inspire me or circumstances will leave me with no choice, and I’ll have to actually make something in the kitchen. Now, don’t go getting any crazy ideas. If I’m “cooking” it’s usually something pretty basic, something with only a couple of ingredients, something pretty idiot proof… Cause that’s my kitchen style.

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Pretty good, huh? And I didn’t even burn the house down!

A couple of days ago, while visiting my sister and being trapped at her house while she was at work (no really, I was trapped in her gated community with no key for the stupid gate. When I went for a run that same afternoon, I had to wait for cars leaving and coming back in so I could chase behind them. You can keep your suburban life and I’ll keep my city freedom, thanks.) I decided to whip something up I’d seen on Instagram: baked pears.

I had picked up the ingredients earlier when we went to the enormous, sprawling Publix where she does her groceries. Once I had run, failed at going to the pool (cause again, no key to that either), watched all the garbage tv I could stomach, napped, read my book and played with the dog, I decided I should eat.

I took out a pear, sliced it in half longways,  and scooped out the seeds so it made a little hollow. Next, I popped both halves on a small baking sheet, sprinkled them with pumpkin pie spice mix (since my sister didn’t have the plain ol’ cinnamon I was looking for) and a little drizzle of honey and set them to bake for  about 30 minutes at 400 degrees. (All numbers I chose at random, cause I never fully know what I’m doing.) When they were done, I plopped some creamy, cool, large curd cottage cheese in the hollows, sprinkled more spice over them and drizzled them with more golden honey, and sat down to hoover it all down.

Warm, creamy and spicy, with all the smells of the soon-to-come autumn I love so much (even if only back at home in New York and not in the forever summer of Florida) I was pretty proud of my little kitchen creation.  A no brainer, sure, but I did it myself, unsupervised, and it was delicious!

Now that oughta hold me over for at least another couple of weeks until I get my next burst of inspiration.

It’ll be ok, there’s matzo ball soup

Ever have one of those days that feel like you’re riding the struggle bus and no matter how many times you try to get off, it just seems to be going express, making no local stops as it barrel asses down the road, hitting all the pot holes along the way and giving you the worst car sickness ever, and you just can’t get off? Well I’m having one of those months.

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Even in hot weather, this soup is a bowl full of comfort.

I must’ve looked especially green-in-the-face and in need of a hug the other day because the struggle bus managed to give me a break and dump me outside of Frankel’s Delicatessen and Appetizing, Greenpoint’s newest Jewish deli, where I found exactly what I needed, the edible equivalent of a back rub and a “don’t worry, honey, everything’s gonna be fine.” Matzo ball soup.

The weather that day was muggy and hot (insert shocked face here), it was soup and not ice cream or a cold beer, that did the trick for me. Frankel’s matzo ball soup is the kind of deeply comforting, belly nourishing, spirit warming affair of broth, chicken, carrots, dill and a big, soft carby goodness matzo ball that can make you forget your troubles, even if only momentarily.

As I slurped the hot broth and carved out soft spoonfuls of the tennis ball-sized matzo ball, I swore I felt the struggle bus roll by and man, was I happy to  not be on board.