Beet and Mascarpone Salad (AMAzing)
Fresh Pasta with Homemade Pasta Sauce
Lavender and Walnut Scones with Lemon Curd and Fresh Berries
Overall, the night was filled with yummy tastes, good conversation, and a plan to go rock climbing!
For those of you who haven’t rock climbed before:
1. Do it, it’s super fun.
2. The people that are making it look easy are LYING. They just practice a lot.
3. It’s scary when you get up high and look down. No matter how ballin’ you are, it’s scary.
4. Seriously do it. It’ll be an experience that’s simultaneously heart-pounding and addictive.
So we went out yesterday night to the site, our backpacks packed with various and sundry items, including multiple nalgenes, over 4.5 gallons of water, climbing ropes, shoes, and a tooth brush. We were well packed. Setting up the tent was loads of fun, I realized both A) how useless I was in that matter B) how much I am definitely from the city. But we managed, I learned, and Tyler and I fell asleep under the starry Texas night with Jacques standing guard. Honestly, he woke me up every hour on the hour by growling at a shadow in the distance. Our protector–a 12 lb. neurotic poodle.
Anyways, we woke up at the ungodly hour of 5AM, with the sun still down, but the coffee definitely on, and were packed up and headed out to “demon mountain” by 7:00. It’s not really called demon mountain, but I shook my fist at it vigorously several times, so I decided to name it that.
Man alive was that hike hard! Seriously, I was like, “oh cool, a fun little hike, how nice” LIES. H-, J-, and Thoppy were running up that beast of a mountain, while I was huffing and puffing like a 40 year old smoker with emphysema behind them, flashing the thumbs up sign when they looked back so as to not look like a lost and confused puppy. Meanwhile, the real puppy, Jacques, who was on a leash in my hand, was bounding around, jumping gleefully from rock to rock. It was as though the “wilderness” had turned him from normal poodle-dog, into poodle-wolf, capable of a great many feats of jumping that his person was clearly incapable of doing. 12 lb dog > me on a hike.
We finally made it up to the top of the mountain, where I spent my time vacillating between admiring the gorgeous view of the desert-area, greenery, and sunrise, and looking over the precipice trying to internalize my impending doom. Clearly unable to comprehend my deep-seated fear, H-, J-, and Thoppy happily went along setting up the rock climbing gear, and made their way individually up the climbing routes. I must say, I gained a new respect for Thoppy–he showed that mountain whose boss…until he twisted his ankle, and a bit after too. I, in turn, simply stared at the whole situation of them climbing the demon-mountain, paralyzed with fear. I politely declined climbing, saying “who would look after the dog? He’s clearly afraid” [Reality: poodle-dog to poodle-wolf transformation was complete. He was not afraid.]
My big accomplishment there: I actually stood up on the slanty mountain by myself, and looked over the edge. I think that me and that mountain are going to become friends some day. Don’t the best friendships start with rooted fear?
Anyways, long story short, we hiked down again, and I climbed a smaller mountain [Reality: not a mountain, a large rock]. Yes, that’s right, victory was mine. I took on my fear by climbing, and claiming, my very own rock. I grabbed on to “holds,” I maneuvered, and I learned how to do it properly and better, so that next time maybe I will go on demon-mountain.
After that crazy day, what do I need to do to unwind? Make rosemary, lemon shortbread cookies! I got the inspiration from this lovely lady, but I didn’t have any thyme, so I figured I’d try rosemary and see how it worked out.
GREAT. That’s how. These cookies have a light flavor of rosemary (if you want it heavier, use more than I used) with the lemon kicking in later. Great for afternoon tea, a thank you gift for someone, or just a snack.
Rosemary Lemon Shortbread
Modified from 17andbaking.com
1 cups of granulated sugar
3 cups flour
3 sticks butter
1 tsp. vanilla
0.5 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1.5 tsp. lemon zest (one medium lemon)
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped up
Preheat the oven to 325. Attach the paddle attachment to your mixer, and blend together the bugger and sugar until it’s light and fluffy, about 2 min. Then add in the vanilla, the salt, the lemon juice, the zest, and the rosemary. Mix on medium-high until incorporated.
Then, turn your mixer down to slow, and add in the flour. When it’s all added, turn your mixer up to high for 30 seconds, to make sure all the flour is mixed in properly.
Divide the dough into two equal balls. Get some plastic wrap, and wrap the balls up and refrigerate for at least 30 min.
When you want to bake it, role it out to about 1 in. think, and either cut it into square, or cut out shapes (I used hearts). Be careful, if the dough gets too warm, it’ll be hard to work with. It’s better to do it when its cold.
Place them on a parchment paper or silpat lined baking sheet, and cook them for about 10 min, or until they are golden brown on the edges. Pull them out, let them cool for about 5 min. and then try one!