Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Fight or Flight? Oh, yeah, Fight!
My daughter is a warrior. And although her name does mean princess, she's nothing like Xena, Warrior Princess. She's a lot buffer and tougher.
Last week she came home in the middle of the day with her baby girl in her car seat. As she walked through the front door she saw that the stereo was on the floor in the middle of the living room. Odd. That shouldn't be.
She set her girl down on the floor by the coat rack and was pondering whether her husband was unexpectedly home, or whether there was a burglar in the house, when she heard noises downstairs. Walking down the carpeted stairs, based on the quality of noises she heard, she decided, "definitely burglar."
When she rounded the corner into the family room she saw a pile of their things (xBox, stereo, laptop, etc) by the sliding glass door and next to it a man trying frantically to open the door. Unfortunately for him, that door is broken and requires a precise series of lift, shove, push, and lower in order to be opened.
The adrenaline already surging through my daughter peaked and she flew at the intruder, screaming at the top of her lungs, "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING IN MY HOUSE?" Then she punched him in the face three times. He broke free and ran upstairs, my daughter chasing and screaming the whole time. After he sprinted out the front door she called 911.
After the adrenaline surge left, the cops and her husband were able to gently tell her that what she had done wasn't the optimal course of action. When there's an intruder in the house, you should leave the house immediately and call 911. She was very blessed that the burglar was not a professional (he'd walked by more valuable things on his way to the xBox) and that he hadn't had a knife or gun on him. Also, that her daughter sat unfazed and untouched in her car seat the whole time.
I said that the burglar was blessed that she didn't think about picking up one of the 15 lb. dumbbells lying there.
So why do I tell you this story? Because I love that my daughter is awesome, confident, strong, and fearless. And she approaches life with the same attitude. Her kitchen is a place of wonder, mystery, and adventure where she tries out new things all the time. Zero fear of failure. She's teaching me new things all the time and she inspires me.
Recently, I finally got around to trying something new that's been on my to-try list for about 2 years. Homemade Nutella. I had some crepes leftover from a savory dish and really wanted Nutella and banana crepes. But, sadly, I had no Nutella. My younger daughter offered to bike to the store and buy some (she really wanted those crepes, too), but it occurred to me that I had hazelnuts in the freezer, so I should make it myself.
I don't know why I put this off for so long. It's so easy. It takes longer than opening a jar from the store, true, but I do have the satisfaction of knowing exactly what goes into my homemade version. Plus I get to check another item off my to-try list. Yeah and high fives to me!
adapted from Su Good Sweets
2 cups whole raw hazelnuts
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
up to 1/4 cup vegetable or nut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place hazelnuts in a single layer on a shallow baking pan. Toast until the skins are almost black and the meat is dark brown, about 15 minutes. Stir the nuts halfway through baking so ensure an even color.
2- Wrap the hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel or paper towel, and rub until most of the skins have come off. Don’t fret if you can’t get off all the skins.
3- Place the nuts in a food processor and process, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. At first, you will get coarsely chopped nuts, and then it will turn into a fine meal. After a little while, the nuts will form a ball around the blade, and it will seem like you only have a solid mass. Keep processing. The heat and friction will extract the natural oils, and you will get hazelnut butter! This takes about 5 minutes.
4- When the nuts have formed a paste, add in the sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Slowly drizzle in enough oil to make a spreadable consistency. Since the mixture is warm, it will be more liquidy now than at room temperature. Transfer the spread to an airtight container, and store refrigerated for up to 1 month. For best results, stir the Nutella before using.