Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pushing me over the edge

It's 5am and the cats are not letting me sleep.  Alba is walking up and down and all around my head.  It feels like... she's stomping on this this pillow.  *tosses her towards Cori*

Ingrid is over on the vanity, jiggling the sliding door where the fish food used to reside behind.  I sit up, hiss at her (this does nothing, as any cat owner will attest to), shout her name somewhat quietly (so as not to wake Cori), and contemplate throwing something soft in her general direction.  There's nothing to throw, so I go to get out of bed and ZIP!  She's under the bed.  *ugh*

It is now 6am.  Alba has taken up sitting on the highest point in the bed, which is somewhere between Cori's shoulder and her hip.  Ingrid, having given up on the non-existent fish food and crawled out from under the bed, is now curled up under my arm like a rag doll.  This would be cute, I think, if it weren't for her strong-armed kneading of my bicep.  Her purring is so loud and is so close to my ear, and she has this look on her face that says "IIIIITTTTT'SSSS JUUUUUUST TOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOD".  Um... okay, creepy.  What is just too good?  The kneading becomes so intense that I have to toss her further down the bed.  Sometimes I push her off the bed entirely.  She just comes right back up.  *someone save me*

It's 6:30am...  Alba has taken it upon herself to whine loudly while stomping around my head again.  Ingrid has decided my nightstand is full of things she needs to push onto the floor.  She stands ever so still while taking one paw, and with the tiniest motion she moves something off of the stand and THUNK!  There goes my lip balm.  THUNK! THUNK! I think that was a tiny picture frame falling off the edge and onto the carpet below.  I reach my right arm out from under the warm blankets, into the cold morning air... and push Ingrid off the table.  THUNK!!!!  *I'm going to kill her...*

It's 7am now.  Cori's alarm is going off and we're both pretending it's wrong and that we have more time to catch up on sleep before we really have to wake up.  Both cats are yowling, walking in figure eights all around our bodies and our heads, stopping only to knead on a soft bit of flesh here and there.  I know what they want.  It's the same as every morning, every evening, and every moment in between - food.  They're like furry Hoover vacuum cleaners.  I know if I were to get up, fill their treat balls with the object(s) of their desire, the morning madness would stop.  But I also know... I'd never get back to sleep.  So I have this inner battle with myself as to which would suck more - getting up and not getting back to sleep, or laying there, pretending to sleep, hoping Cori will be the first to get up and feed them.  Which is worse?  Which is better?  Ugh!  CAT, GET OFF OF ME!!!

It's 7:05am.  I'm in the animal room, filling treat balls.  *sigh*

Blackberry Macaron Tart
Slightly adapted from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut (I put it through the food processor for a few pulses and then measured it)
3/4 cup sifted, lightly packed natural cane sugar (or light brown sugar, if that's what you have)
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled for a minute
2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut (same process as before)
1/2 cup sifted, lightly packed natural cane sugar (or light brown sugar again)
4 large egg whites, lightly beaten
8 ounces fresh blackberries, halved (or any fresh berry or stone fruit you like)
*bonus addition: 1/3 cup crushed pistachios

*preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in the middle of the oven*

Butter an 9" round tart pan (or an 8"x11" rectangular pan), and line with parchment paper.  Cut off any excess that is peaking out above the pan line.  Set aside.

To make your crust, combine the flour, coconut, cane sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.  Blend with a fork.  Pour in the melted butter and blend again with the fork until just combined and no longer sandy/dry.  Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan with a fork,and baked for 15 minutes.  The tart shell should be just barely browning on the edge and feel firm in the middle.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

While the tart shell is baking, make the filling.  Combine the second allotment of coconut and cane sugar to a medium bowl.  Add in the lightly beaten egg whites and blend with a rubber spatula.  Set a side for a moment.

In the bottom of the cooled tart shell, evenly distribute the black berry halves.  Then, using your hands, drop dollops of the macaron tart filling all around the berries, mushing some of it underneath some berries and over others for a better visual effect). 

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the macaron filling peaks are deeply golden.  Let cool on a wire rack and serve.  Garnish with the pistachio nuts (if using).  Try to keep your cat(s) at bay while you consume.

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