Because I was a girl,
I thought it was beautiful –
                        how bewildering.

I must have been crazy
when I went running West.
They gave me cigarettes,
six days a week.  Nicotine narcotic.

Daydreams kept me going.
Daydreams of being somebody –
the lovely actress or
the devoted playwright;
daydreams of being
brave – of being in love.

(Those things fade.)

I imagined it to be an innocent game
of hide & seek.
I masqueraded behind
A veil of mendacity

but men did not search for that beauty
that I so earnestly believed in.
Men prowled
to feed their curiosity.
My masochism must have been intriguing.
I came

to be a woman
when finally I escaped.  Leaving only a
vale of tears.

PictureCupcake Section Cut
Pistachio Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting
makes 12 cupcakes


for the cupcakes . . .
1/2 cup pistachios
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter (super soft)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs (whisked)

for the frosting . . .
1/3 cup Nutella
1/4 cup butter (super soft)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
*for thinner frosting add 1 Tablespoon milk

what TO DO

for the cupcakes . . .
preheat the oven to 350 F
line a baking pan with parchment paper
shell the pistachios
toast in the oven for 5 – 10 minutes (until they begin to brown)
remove & let cool
*leave oven on for baking the cupcakes*
use a food processor to finely grind the toasted nuts
(I used a coffee grinder . . . which worked just fine . . . )
add the sugar to the food processor (or coffee grinder) & process with the nuts

in a small bowl . . .
whisk the flour, baking powder & salt

in a large bowl . . .
add the pistachio/sugar mix
add the butter, mixing until fully incorporated
add vanilla, mix
add whisked eggs, mix
add the flour mixture & mix just until incorporated
beat high for 3 minutes

prepare cupcake pan . . .
(parchment paper works great if you do not have cupcake liners)
spoon batter into pan
bake on 350F for about 20-25 minutes, until they begin to brown on top
remove & let cool

for the frosting . . .
in a small bowl combine nutella, butter & powdered sugar
thoroughly mix, adjust quantities to taste  
if the frosting is too thick add 1 Tablespoon of milk at a time until desired consistency is achieved
spread on top of the cupcakes

store in an airtight container for 3-5 days

- Coco 

I smelled the field out back
where a vegetable garden once grew,
pollen polluting the air in ecstasy
for Summer’s late evening sensualism.

Winking, I traced atop the Blue Ridge
with my thumb
as the sun lowered its round hips
to sit upon the Ridge.

Summer’s hair, weaved of wheat –
                       for that I am almost certain –
glowed golden.  I could see the pollen collecting
and crowning her head, here is where the fragile princess belongs. 

He had her tiny hand
clasped firmly in his own
as they calmly stood,
watching the sitting sun.

Out atop the Blue Ridge
a wink can pause time,
just enough to help remember
those missed details –

winking, I traced atop their silhouettes
with my thumb.

His youth belongs to Summer –
that is what I envy.
My hair resemble the Raven’s,
I belong to the Night.

I stood behind them,
no longer wanting to wink,
(so I could blend into the looming Night)
and I let the sun slip below the Blue Ridge.

Orange Juice and I have a very specific relationship.

We do breakfast.  Only bagels and/or eggs. 
Very specific.  Very simple. 

Never cereal.  Never oatmeal.  Never pancakes, French toast, or waffles. 

It is the idea of dairy and citrus that makes my stomach flop. 
Well creamsicles are basically defined as dairy + citrus.
Creamsicles are the exception.  Why?
Nostalgia maybe. 
(They remind me of warm summer nights, star gazing on the beach with my family – toes in the sand and a hoodie pulled over my head)  
Cheers to summer nights.

I came across homemade creamsicles on THIS joyous site!
This recipe is very simple: dairy + citrus. 

makes approximately 8 popsicles

2-1/4 cups ice cream (store bought or homemade)
1 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed or bottled)
orange zest (optional)
1/2 cup cream (optional * minus 1/4 cup ice cream if using)
ice pop makers (any kind of disposable cup + popsicle stick works well)

what TO DO

in a blender . . . (or if you do not own a blender *cough-cough* a bowl and a big spoon works just fine)
add the ice cream & orange juice
add the orange zest and 1/4 cup cream (if using)
blend together
pour into ice pop makers
slightly whip remaining cream (if using) & top off the ice pop makers
freeze for a few hours

- Coco 


Dear Partner in Crime:
Cheers to this crazy year & cheers to further ‘slporing.
Again, I just want to wish you a very happy birthday.
I know you love turtle sundaes. 
So I baked you a cake, a turtle cake.

*caution: this cake turned out extremely messy
                                                                   & extremely addicting.



for the cake . . .
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon instant chocolate pudding mix
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil (olive oil or vegetable oil)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup piping hot, freshly brewed coffee

for the topping . . .
14 ounces caramel
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup chopped pecans

what TO DO

in a large bowl . . .
sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, pudding mix & salt

with a whisk or an electric mixer . . .
add milk, oil & vanilla, whisk until mostly combined
add the eggs, one at a time, whisking after each addition
add the piping hot coffee
whisk hard or on high, for 1 minute

in a saucepan . . .
melt caramel, butter & evaporated milk
add 1/2 cup chopped pecans

in the oven . . .
preheat to 350 F
prepare two 9” round cake pans
(butter the pans, sprinkle some flour in the pan, knock the flour around until all sides are evenly coated)
evenly divide the cake batter between the two pans
bake for 15 minutes, quickly removed from oven
quickly spoon 1/2 of the caramel sauce atop the partially baked cakes
immediately return cakes to the oven
bake for another 15-20 minutes
remove & let cool on a rack

back to the saucepan . . .
remove the remaining caramel mixture from the heat
gradually add powdered sugar
stir well after each addition, this will thicken into a frosting
the more powdered sugar you add, the more spreadable the frosting will become
I made a very runny topping to pour over the cake

once the cakes have cooled . . .
place one cake on a plate
drizzle/spread some topping/frosting in the center
place the second cake on top
drizzle/spread the remaining topping/frosting
sprinkle remaining chopped pecans on top of the cake

Happy Birthday
- Coco  

Oh hey there, would you like to get some coffee with me?  We can go for a stroll, or we can sit and scheme imagined tomorrows.  A little about me?  Hmm . . . I am left-handed, and I am accident-prone.  I eat cereal and chunky peanut butter practically every day, not together.  I also like French toast – preferably made with raisin bread – and punk rock, two things that go perfectly together – don’t you think so?  I grew up on the East Coast.  Late nights sitting up on the hill, watching the relentless city lights.  I tread out west now, but I know those lights have not faded.  Sometimes I miss it – not the city, but the watching the lights.  Mostly I miss my stomping grounds.    

Here’s a little taste of home:



2 – 3/4 Cups flour
1 Tablespoon Yeast
1/2 Tablespoon honey
1/2  teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons warm water

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon melted butter
5 cloves garlic
Fresh basil
Fresh mint

what TO DO

in a large bowl . . .
heat warm water to just above body temperature
add honey, olive oil & salt, mix
add yeast, mix until the yeast dissolves
let sit for 5 minutes, the mixture should turn frothy

while waiting . . .
on a clean surface sprinkle flour

in the large bowl . . .
add flour in parts, combining well with a wooden spoon
once all the flour in fully incorporated, knead the dough on the floured surface
knead for 5 minutes
return the dough to the bowl and cover with a clean dish towel
let the dough rise for 1.5 – 2 hours or until the dough doubles in size (this may take longer depending upon the temperature of the room)
once the dough has doubled, punch it down

on a floured surface . . .
roll out the dough (about 18” x 6”)  until it is about 1/4” thick
cut strips about 1” wide
roll each strip into a shoelace & tie a knot (loop, under, through)
once all the knots are tied, place them on a baking sheet & let them rise for 1 hour

in the oven . . .
preheat to 400 F
bake for 12 -15 mins.

in a small bowl . . .
combine olive oil, melted butter, chopped garlic & herbs

in a large bowl . . .
place the warm garlic knots
pour seasoning on top & toss to coat
-or- brush seasoning on top of each

best warm
store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days

- Coco

Peanut butter is very social.  It gets along great with apples and bananas, crackers and toast, honey and cinnamon.  Peanut butter and chocolate have a love affair.  I wonder how that makes Jelly feel.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs
approx. 15-20 eggs.


for the filling . . .
1 cup peanut butter
¼ cup butter
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup powdered sugar

for the chocolate coating . . .
14 ounces chocolate (dark or milk, whichever you prefer)
1 tablespoon butter

what TO DO

in a saucepan . . .
add peanut butter, butter & brown sugar
heat, stirring until melted and combined
removed from heat
add powdered sugar in 3 parts, stirring after each addition

on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper . . .
take a heaping tablespoon  of the peanut butter mixture
using your hands shape the scoop into an egg shape
place each egg on the parchment paper
place the cookie sheet in the fridge for about 30 minutes to let the eggs set

in a microwave safe bowl . . .
add chocolate pieces/morsels and 1 tablespoon butter
heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after every 30 seconds
heat until smooth and liquid
dip each egg into the chocolate one at a time
(you can just plop the egg into the chocolate and use a fork to flip it over)
let any excess chocolate drip off
(finger licking good)
place each egg back onto the parchment paper
place the cookie sheet back into the fridge for another 30 minutes

- Coco 

As the story goes, he needed dessert, right away.
The Apple Blossom Queen was on her way.
A simple, slightly sweet treat would be perfect. 
And of course, it had to involve apples.
So he whipped together a quick pie.
(Some people make the mistake of calling it cake – but it is a pie – I assure you.)
He layered spice cake, whipped vanilla frosting, and applesauce.
It was name Winchester Cream Pie.
It was a hit and became a tradition.

The Apple Blossom Queen hails from Winchester Virginia.
This is the home to the annual Apple Blossom Festival.
The he in this story is my Great-Grandfather who cooked for the Pentagon. 
Here is his quick, delicious recipe:

the STUFF:

yellow cake box mix (+needed ingredients)
heavy whipping cream

what TO DO:

prepare the cake according to the instructions on the box
add cinnamon & nutmeg to the batter (according to your taste)
bake in two 9” cake pans, again according into the instructions on the box

while the pies are baking . . .
pour the heavy cream into a large mixing bowl
whipped on high
add sugar and vanilla (according to taste)
whip until little peaks form

once the cakes have cooled, carefully cut each cake in half 
(*use a long knife, keep your hand on the top of the cake)
on a nice platter, assemble #1 layer:
place the cake down
frost with generous amounts of whipped cream
finally spoon generous amounts of applesauce on the middle of the cake, then spread evenly
(*leave an inch border so the applesauce does not leak out)
repeat with the remaining three layers
add a little more cinnamon and nutmeg on top for garnish

- Coco

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Today is a splendid day for brownies.
Maybe because it is Tuesday and the weekend seems too far away.
Maybe because that warm weather was simply a tease, and it is now snowing again.
Maybe because my fuzzy socks are so warm and the walk to studio seems so long.
Maybe just because chocolate is delicious.
Maybe just because.

I think homemade brownies are tricky.
Sometimes they are too caky.
Sometimes they are too thin.
Sometimes they are too chewy (the super, plastic-like chewy).
Sometimes they are just not chocolaty enough.

Boxed brownies are simple and quick (although waiting for them to bake always seems to take forever – anyway)
Boxed brownies also seem to get the balance just right.

The challenge: a brownie that is just the right chew, with a crusty top, and a rich chocolaty flavor.  Butter makes things cakey.  Most homemade brownies call for just butter.  Boxed brownies call for oil.  A recipe with both butter and oil might get the balance just right.  Here’s my attempt:

1/3 Cup cocoa
1/2  Cup hot coffee
1/4  Cup unsweetened chocolate (chop into 1” pieces, or use morsels)
1/2  Cup oil
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 large eggs + 1 yolk (using just the yolk will contribute to our chew factor)
2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
2 – 1/2 Cups sugar
1 – 3/4  Cups all-purpose flour
3/4  Teaspoon salt
3/4  Cup bittersweet chocolate chips/chunks/bits
1/2  Cup chopped pecans
5 heaping Tablespoons peanut butter + 1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar

what TO DO
in a small bowl . . .
sift together flour & salt

in a large bowl . . .
add  cocoa and pour hot coffee over (I used a coffee flavor called Mocha-Nut Fudge!)
whisk well until fully incorporated
immediately add unsweetened chocolate, again whisking until fully incorporated
add oil and butter, whisking just until incorporated
add eggs, one at a time, whisking just until incorporated
(*trick: to separate the yolk from the white: carefully crack the egg, keeping the yolk in one half of the shell.  Using the two shell halves, transfer the yolk back and forth between the halves over a separate bowl; the whites should fall into the bowl.)
add vanilla, stir
add sugar, stir
add flour mixture in two parts, fully incorporate, but be careful not to over stir!
with a rubber spatula fold in chocolate chips/chucks/bits and pecans

in a small bowl . . .
stir together peanut butter and dark brown sugar

in a pan (approximately 13 X 9”) . . .
prepare pan by: buttering/flouring or line with parchment paper
(*parchment paper allows for clean & easy removal from pan. )
pour batter into prepared pan, lightly smooth over with rubber spatula
spoon and spread 5 heaping tablespoons of peanut butter evenly spaced lengthwise (evenly spaced left – right)
using a fork spread the peanut butter widthwise (top – bottom)
run the fork lengthwise (left – right) to create a mixed pattern of the peanut butter & batter

in the oven . . . 
adjust the rack to the lowest position
preheat to 350 F
bake for 30- 35 minutes 
eat warm

conclusion: my attempt was a success!  The brownies were definitely heavy – more like a rich dessert bar than a slice of cake.  I used extra virgin olive oil (of course).  I maybe should have used lighter oil.  Maybe next time. 

- Coco

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I was meeting Sally.
They give you a key
I don’t remember exactly,
it was no fortune
or a king’s ransom,
I sort of forget –
you can’t blame them.
I imagine she’s nervous
I hated for her to know

But I didn’t ever do it.

1 Pound skinless, boneless chicken
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
2 Tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
2 Teaspoons brown sugar
1 green pepper
1 yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
1/2 Teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 Teaspoon chili powder
2 Teaspoons fresh ground pepper

what TO DO

Marinade . . .

Combine: 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and 1 tablespoon cornstarch/water.  Whisk well.

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and toss in marinade.  Transfer chicken to a shallow dish/bowl and pour excess marinade over the chicken.  

Sauce . . .

Combine 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon cornstarch/water, and brown sugar.  Whisk well.  Add seasoning, garlic, and cashews.

In a skillet, heat slowly on medium-low until aromatic.

Cook . . .

In another skillet, while the sauce is heating, cook chicken just until the meat is white.

When the sauce is aromatic, add the onions and green pepper to the sauce, sauté on medium-low. 

Once the chicken is white, add it to the sauce and simmer on medium-low until the sauce thickens.  If the sauce is too thick, add a little water.  Adjust seasoning to taste.

Serve . . .

Over steamed rice. 


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Killing Time

The crickets cease their abrasive symphony
The clocks hesitate, as if out of courtesy
The plane of the earth collapse, monuments
Topple quietly, just the sound of our breath

A drop of water, suspended

Seconds, like raindrops
Over the ocean

- Eviler Yank

Blake’s Gnarly Granola

the STUFF:

4 Cups old fashioned oats
1 Cup slivered (or chopped) raw almonds
3/4 Cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
2 Teaspoons nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons butter
1/4 Cup honey
1/4 Cup vegetable oil
1/2 Cup dark brown sugar
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 Cup dried fruit  (cranberries + cherries)

what TO DO:
in a large bowl . . .
mix oats, almonds, coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg & salt

in a small saucepan . . .
melt butter on low heat, until nutty in aroma
add honey, stirring
add vegetable oil, stirring
add brown sugar, stirring
remove from heat
add vanilla
pour into large bowl on top of oat mixture
(add gradually, stirring)
mix well, fully incorporate the wet mixture into the dry mixture

in the oven . . .
preheat to 375 F
line a baking sheet with parchment paper
dump the granola mixture onto the sheet, spreading thin & evenly
bake for approximately 45 minutes
(mix the granola every 15 minutes)
add the dried fruit after 30 minutes
once crisp, remove from oven & let cool

enjoy plain, with milk, over yogurt, atop ice cream, with fresh fruit
store in an airtight container for up to one week (if it lasts that long)

- Coco

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I know, I know . . . It’s been awhile.  My apologies.  I will spare you the excuses and get straight to the post.


HOME MADE bread.

Baking bread is not very difficult – I swear.  You do not need a bread maker.  You do not even need bread flour.  You just need time.  And patience.  I am usually impatient when it comes to baking bread.  But this time, I am NOT going to rush.  This recipe is adopted from Chasing Delicious; this website is absolutely delightful.  Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread:


3/4 Cup bread flour (all-purpose flour can be substituted in equal parts)
1 – 1/8 Cups milk (preferably whole)
1/4 Cup honey
1 Teaspoon active dry yeast

1/2 Cup + 2 Tablespoons bread flour (again, all-purpose flour substituted in equal parts)
1/2 Teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4  Cup butter
1 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup raisins

1/4  Cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cinnamon
1 Tablespoon nutmeg
1/8 Cup butter

what TO DO
Scald the milk on stovetop (heat milk on low, until it starts to bubble, approx. 8 minutes. Continue heating for an additional 2 mintues.)

Let the milk cool (to 115 F), pour into a large bowl & dissolve the yeast

Add honey & flour; whisk for a minute or two, until a thick batter forms

Let the sponge RISE FOR 1 HOUR (or up to 24 hours, if overnight cover and place in fridge)

In the bowl add the remaining flour, yeast, and butter (the butter should be super soft)

Knead in the bowl for 2 minutes.  Add salt, knead for 10 minutes.  Add rasisins, knead for 1 minute.

Cover the bowl and let the dough RISE FOR 2 HOURS (or until it doubles in size) 

Knead the dough for 1 minute, punching it down to remove the air, let the dough RISE FOR 1 HOUR IN THE FRIDGE

On a floured surface roll the dough to ½ inch thick (about 7 inches wide by 12 inches long)

Melt remaining butter & brush half on the dough (leaving ½ inch gap around the edges.

Mix sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg & sprinkle the mixture evenly over the dough (again leaving ½ inch gap). 

Roll the dough tightly along its length, brushing with butter as you roll.  Pinch the edges together and tuck into a prepared (buttered & floured) bread pan.  Sprinkle some extra cinnamon-nutmeg-sugar atop.   

Let the dough RISE FOR 2 HOURS (until it doubles in volume)

Place rack at the bottom of the oven & preheat to 350 F.  Bake for 50 minutes (until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean).  Resist the urge to open the oven too early. 

Remove from oven, let the bread cool and settle before serving . . . or before making . . .    

March reminds me of french toast.  The world is melting - the promise of Spring.  Try THIS recipe with your homemade bread.  Enjoy!   
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