Finnish Cinnamon Rolls

It's spring break here in Chicago. It's also been snowing throughout the week. Gross. Today at least the sky was bright and sunny, but I still had to bundle up against the wind. No lake-side frolicking for me just yet. I made these beautiful little cinnamon rolls a few weeks ago when I was in school stress mode, but I may have to make them again if it's going to stay chilly like this (and as my thesis deadline approaches). 

For now, though, I'm mostly relaxed, after spending an excellent weekend with my cousin Sydney and hunkering down at my favorite coffee shops throughout the week. Sydney and I spent a too-short day and a half exploring downtown Chicago, making fun of our parents (as only loving children do), and eating our way around the city. We visited the Art Institute first before making our way along the Mag Mile to take a few selfies at the Bean and stop into Eataly for lunch. We had an early dinner at Lou Malnati's (after a little shopping spree of course), then headed back to Hyde Park for some more wandering, 57th Street Books, and Sabrina at my apartment. We ate at Valois the next morning with Jimmy before she flew home again, back to being a star softball player and fabulous student. I miss her very much.

Next weekend, though, it'll be my turn to travel. Friends, soon I shall be visiting the bustling metropolis of Fort Worth, Texas! I'll be spending Easter with the Steele-McDonough clan, eating lots of delicious food and hopefully getting a little sculling in with my favorite doubles partner. I've never been to Texas before, so this will be exciting, and maybe I'll get some cowboy boots if I'm feeling fancy. Pictures to come!

Also 10/10 would recommend binge watching New Girl and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt with all of your free hibernation time before classes start again. Especially if you too are procrastinating writing your thesis (I'm looking at you fellow fourth years). I've also been reading The Master and Margarita again over break, in English this time, in preparation for a class on magical realism in Russia and Southeastern Europe. I'll be taking the class on top of a full load of psychology courses that I need to graduate, but I think it'll be worth it.

The My Blue & White Kitchen blog is acting up (it's asking me for a password to enter for some reason?), so I unfortunately don't have the recipe to post (or to use in the future *sobs*). If I figure out what's going on with the site I'll add the link in. They're basically cinnamon rolls that have a lot of ground cardamom in the dough, so they taste deliciously reminiscent of a chai latte, and in place of frosting they have pearl sugar sprinkled over the top before baking. They are glorious indeed.

Chocolate Cake

Hey kids, I'm back. And I have cake.

I know every quarter I say wow, I have a lot of stuff to do, lemme tell you how stressed I am, et cetera, but listen, this has probably been the heaviest course load I've had in my four years. Granted, I'm not also doing nine million other things (i.e. crew and all that it entails), so I am sane and well-rested. But pulling together my honors thesis has been quite the ordeal, on top of the two linguistics papers I told you about last time. Which naturally means that I've made two cakes this week, in addition to a batch of pierogies. I whipped this cake up last night just as I was sitting down to read for my Balkan languages and identity course, because, why not, it's not like I have two weeks left until finals... 

The first cake of the week was a clementine and almond cake with chocolate glaze from, you guessed it, the Jerusalem cookbook. I cannot praise this book enough, truly -- I also made Ottolenghi's burnt eggplant salad (which tastes so much better than it sounds) that I've been eating on pitas with classic hummus (also from his cookbook), swiss chard leaves, pomegranate seeds, mint, and parsley. So. Good. I've been eating my pierogies with a mountain of sour cream and braised red cabbage with apple cider vinegar and caraway seeds, and later this week I've got roasted chicken with parmesan cauliflower lined up. I can't complain. Jimmy has made a series of different vegetable stews, in particular a Moroccan chickpea stew from the New York Times cooking blog, that are super tasty as well. 

While I've been procrastibaking, I've also been planning for super exciting upcoming adventures! Papa Z and I will be doing some apartment hunting in DC in the coming months, so I've been figuring out the city's layout and finding nice places to live. I'll also be doing the classic post-graduation Euro trip this summer, and I've started seriously planning for that as well. Right now I'm thinking of spending a few days in Nice, France, taking a train along the coast to Genoa, Italy, and then hopping over to Bologna before meeting up with Jimmy and his family in Siena, just south of Florence. Then a few days in London before returning to Chicago to pack up and U-Haul over to DC with my life's possessions. Exciting!! 

Life is good, friends. I promise you'll hear more soon, especially because I have photos of two other recipes I've been meaning to share with you. Chao chao for now.

The recipe is from Tasting Table. If you haven't already subscribed to their emails, you really should, I'm just saying, look at this cake.