Don’t worry—I’m still here! The past two weekends have been as different as George and Percy Weasley. In other words, one was a bit more fun than the other.
Last Friday Jonji and I drove to the beach to meet up with a group of his classmates. It was a lovely day—not too hot (for once), and the swell wasn’t so big that we couldn’t go in the water. However, the tideline had a moat filled with rocks right where the waves crashed, which made jumping in a bit of a challenge. It was like walking in quicksand filled with dull nails. I hopped and limped along the water for about 5 minutes before I decided to end the tortuous massage, and ran through the trench. Back on the beach, we soaked up a little sun and attempted to simultaneously toss a frisbee and throw a football, which sort of worked. The two objects ended up on the ground more often than our hands, which wasn’t exactly unexpected.
After we had gone home, cleaned up, and made dinner, we decided to go out on the town with some of his classmates (I know what you’re thinking: Jonji and Hana go out on a weekend night?! Preposterous!). We left at 9 PM, despite my grumblings about wanting to sleep instead, and drove to Santa Monica. We were in such good moods by the time we got there that we didn’t even mind standing in line to get into the bar for 20 minutes. Once inside, we shared a margarita that his friend so graciously bought us. Luckily it was not one of the pink fish bowls that everyone else was holding, which apparently held 5 shots of tequila: we were not prepared for that kind of evening. Eventually everyone wanted to venture somewhere with a dance floor, so we trekked around town for almost an hour, looking for a venue we could attend for free. We finally found one and heard the opening lines of “Teach Me How to Dougie” and knew we’d found a good spot. We got our Dougie on and then continued to break it down in our own little corner, and didn’t leave until 12:30 AM (seriously!).
Saturday consisted mainly of homework, but Sunday was another great day. We had an early dinner and went to Neveux for a bit of ice cream, where I got to experience heaven for the roughly 6 minutes it took me to devour my ice cream (blueberry chèvre and toasted marshmallow). If you think my entire LA experience so far consists of ice cream, then you’re pretty much right. But that was just the beginning of our evening—we met Todd and Jessica and one of their friends in Hollywood for the Upright Citizens Brigade show, where they had so sweetly saved us a place in line. For these (free) Sunday shows, the line starts at 5 and the doors don’t open until 7:15. But the wait is totally worth it. I greatly admire improv artists—I couldn’t imagine getting up in front of people without a plan and just talking. But they did it, and they were hilarious! I shed several tears throughout the show, and not just because I was scared they were going to call on me. I recommend the experience to anyone who likes a good laugh, which, I hope, is everybody.
This past Saturday Jonji and I scored big time at a garage sale across the street. We got a shoe rack (finally) and a Le Creuset baking dish for $1 (not including the shoe rack)! And although that was extremely exciting, you can probably guess which weekend was “Percy”. After that glorious garage sale experience I took a field trip to the Getty Villa for one of my classes. The morning was beautiful, so the occasion was rather enjoyable—something I hadn’t expected, I assure you. It was pretty cool being able to see vases, cups, and pots that I had only seen before on slides in my Art History class, even if my mind couldn’t really comprehend the true age and context of the artifacts. I also got to see the lovely gardens, ponds and some creepy statues. Just to warn anyone getting into sculpture: if you put whites in the eyes but the rest of the figure is black, the effect is horrendous. Just a heads up.
Great news: our kitty snagged another spider this morning! That girl deserves a raise, which I will happily supply to her in the form of cat treats. Another tidbit: Arielle thinks she’s the queen of the house. When we get into bed to go to sleep she gets thoroughly annoyed that we usurped her throne, and so proceeds to meow incessantly until we have to shoo her out of the room. The other night she took a flying leap at the door and actually got it open, much like Ran, the huge battering ram, does in the third Lord of the Rings. She’s a feisty little thing!
But enough about the present. Something about the (very) slight chill in the air recently has made me think of the holiday season—although that could also be from all the Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations going up at every other residence. Cooking warm dishes, like pot roast and beef stew, has brought me back to rainy days in Santa Cruz, where I could hang out in the perpetually warm kitchen. It makes me think of tea by the fire, soup, blankets, and dinner with my family. One of my favorite meal accompaniments during the Fall season was cornbread, usually paired with minestrone soup. I still can’t resist a steaming square of cornbread, oozing with a slab of butter and dripping with honey. Now that I’ve moved away from home I make it almost once a week. Sometimes being an adult and making your own life choices is awesome. I’ve adapted the recipe since my childhood, but mainly by accident—there wasn’t much that I needed to change. Since Jonji has a sensitive stomach and sometime opts out of eating gluten, I usually make simple breads, like this one, gluten-free. In this case, I actually recommend using the same flour as I do—not due to the fact that it’s gluten free, but merely because it creates such a lovely light, moist crumb.
Note that you’ll end up with more of a wet batter, which is what you want—it’s what makes the cornbread so light and tender.
1 cup (170g) corn flour or corn meal (not corn starch)
1 cup (125g) Bob’s almond flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup (230ml) buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 tbsp (38g) honey
3 tbsp (42g) unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter an 8×8 baking dish.
Whisk together both flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Place buttermilk, eggs, honey, and the melted butter in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it. Stir until just combined. Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 20–25 min, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Serve with plenty of butter and honey on the side!