The person who really got me into cooking is a friend of my father. I really had no idea what I was doing in the kitchen until the summer I spent working in his kitchen for extra cash for my trip to Tanzania — he was more generous than the data entry job at the bank was back in 2005, and he promised that I would leave Los Angeles that summer with the kitchen basics. And he was right.
By trade, he ran a construction business. When I asked him why he cooked so much if he ran a contracting business, he told me that his entire life, he loved two things: “building shit, and cooking.”
So his decisions were rather simple: he started his business and found clients by word of mouth (much in the same way I do now, with design), and in his spare time, he cooked. Cooking was his hobby, and where he invested almost all of his time and energy.
Over the years, he let me in on a little secret that he had kept for years — something he called the Twelve Man meal.
Back then, it was a pretty well-kept secret. Basically, he and a few chef friends would host monthly dinners, all at different homes or locations. They coordinated and planned and cooked and paired, and each month, they invited a select few of their friends to share the meal. It was their boys club. And when word started to get around, the invitations became a coveted affair.
What I didn’t realize was that this was a supper club. I wanted this for myself. Still do.
It’s always been a dream of mine to move into a pretty Brooklyn apartment with a nice roof deck — a summer supper club with a few close friends and acquaintances twice removed is somewhere on my to-do list. Lately, friends have been getting me to visualize a pretty one-bedroom on the Upper East Side (primarily so we force each other to go to soul cycle on the reg), so it’s all up in the air.
Earlier this year, I said my goals for 2014 were to get hella fit, fall in love, and move to New York. And I’d be happy if two of those three things happened. Well, two of the three are well on their way.
I’ve been interviewing as aggressively as last year’s dating calendar (honestly, who goes on three dates a week for a year straight?! NEVER. AGAIN.) and hopefully, something will pan out. I wasn’t expecting such a good response from job apps, because, you know, I’m still in shock that I’m actually a designer and an art director and that people want to pay me to do these things even though I studied Arabic for years and not design. But I’ve been coming to terms with reality, and I’m starting to get a hold of what I want and what I can offer.
In fact, in an interview yesterday morning, I was asked: why New York, why now?
I’ve gotten that question before, but never phrased with the “why now” part. So I paused, and just spoke from the heart. And the words that I exhaled from my mouth said something to the effect of — you know, I’ve always loved — loved — New York, and I finally feel like I’m at a place in my career where I’ve learned all that I can at my current job, and that I feel like I really have something more to offer to my next one.
And it’s true: I will always love where I work now. It’s the first job I ever enjoyed, let alone been excited to go to every. single. day. Okay, maybe not every single day, but still a vast majority of the days. Even though I complain about wanting to do my job from bed (like every five minutes).
Anyway, the real talk is that I feel like my life is on the cusp of something big. I wrote something similar two years ago, when I was also aggressively interviewing for jobs and/or crying after I got my financial aid package from grad school — oh man, remember when I thought I was going to grad school?!
The past couple of years have been such an adventure. Too often, we find ourselves taking this adventure for granted. We get so caught up in the travel and every day stress of our jobs and the details that are, more often than not, absolutely meaningless. People advise us to do what you love or do what pays the bills or ask him out or make them earn it. The truth is that at some point, advice can only take you so far. You gotta do what’s right for you. I, somehow, by the grace of God or luck or science or whatever makes the world go ’round, found myself working for people that want the best for you — to find your dream job and create something amazing that will blow everyone’s minds, which we get to do pretty often as-is.
I guess the point of all of this is that I’m grateful. For the people who taught me how to cook, how to take photos, how to design, how to solve problems, and how to speak from the heart. And, as Emily says on the reg — “You do you, girlfriend. You do you.” Because we all gotta get somewhere, and the people that matter are the ones that will love you no matter where you go or what you do for a living.
When I first started writing this post, I envisioned connecting this recipe to that guy up there that taught me how to cook — because he keeps his own bees and sends me home-grown honey and lip balms and body butters every now and then. I digress. But anyway, this would be great if you had some home-grown honey. The store-bought works just as well, but you’ll have less to humblebrag about :)
Happy Friday. Lurve you guys. Recipe after the jump.
Honey Glazed Honey Cakes, from Olive Magazine
For the cakes:
125 g salted butter, softened
75 g light brown sugar
140 g honey
2 eggs, beaten
225 g self-rising flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
For the glaze:
100 g salted butter
70 g honey
125 g powdered sugar, sifted
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prep a 12-mold cupcake tin for baking — either lining with cupcake wrappers or greasing with butter. I used a silicone cupcake tray, and wiped the inside of each mold with the wax paper wrapper from the butter (a great little trick I learned from the Kitchn).
Beat the butter and the sugar together for two minutes on high, until light. Add the honey, beating for 1 to 2 more minutes.
Beat in the eggs one by one, and fold in the flour, ginger, and lemon juice. Divide between the cupcake molds, and bake for 20 minutes, until the cakes are springy and a nice golden color. Let cool for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, make the glaze by melting the butter in a small pan or the microwave. Stir in the honey, and whisk in the powdered sugar until fully incorporated.
Dip the tops of each cake into the glaze, or drizzle thickly over the cake tops with a spoon. If the glaze gets a little too solid, just nuke it in 10 second increments until it’s melted enough to work with. Let each cake cool completely to let the icing set. Ta-da!