Today is my little brother’s birthday.
He is twenty years old today, twenty years of laughing, learning, growing, and thriving with every curve-ball thrown his way. He’s more than my blood, he’s my lifelong friend. It hasn’t always been easy, in fact sometimes it was downright hard. I was bossy. He was stubborn. We’ve both grown up a lot since the days of our backseat bickering, and our relationship has been in constant evolution to become something I cherish with all my heart.
Austin, I love you so much! Your visit this past weekend was a much needed tonic.
These are my birthday wishes for you this year:
Trust your intuition. When everything is a mess, get quiet, and just listen. You know what to do. Take chances on love. Girls are confusing. They have no idea what they want. We’re all trying to figure this thing out. Love ‘em anyway. Choose Joy. Rugby. Trivia Night. Whatever. Life is short, keep doing the things that make you happy. Take a ginger or turmeric supplement. Okay, I’m trying to sneak this in here. They help with inflammation. For your back, (cough) rugby. Spend more time at the ocean. The cure to everything is salt water. This is coming from someone who spent four months on a boat. Trust me. Buy a journal. And use it. Write stuff down, get it out, no erasing. Trust the process. Invest in an ice cream maker. Seriously. Your friends will love you. Screw the system. You’re more than just a number. Get out there and experiment. Ask for help. Find a mentor. There are people who want to capitalize on your potential. Pray. Call it what you want, God, The Universe, Nature, Hayden, Hare Krishna, I don’t care. They’re waiting. Ready to listen. Plan an adventure. Hit the road. explore. Go alone. Pack a Clif Bar. Don’t stop dreaming the big dreams. Remember underwater roller-coasters? Let your mind wander and keep dreaming. Keep loving. “Intense love does not measure, it just gives.” You rock at this. Keep loving. Keep giving.
August Birthdays call for something light and fresh. Alice recommends that leftovers be toasted the next day.
Alice Waters’ Angel Food Cake with Fresh Whipped Cream and Orange Zest
- 1 cup cake flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 12 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Sift together the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, and salt.
In a medium bowl or in a stand mixer with the whip attachment, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Whisk in the water, lemon juice, and cream of tartar. Keep whisking until the foam is very soft, holds a slight shape, and has increased 4 to 5 times in volume. Whisk in the final 3/4 cup of sugar. Continue whisking until the mixture forms glossy, soft peaks. The mixture should not be stiff or dry. Sift a fine layer of the dry ingredients over the whites, and fold them in with a rubber spatula, gently and quickly. This is easier with four hands. Call a neighbor! Continue sifting and folding until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Pour the batter into an ungreased 10- by 4-inch tube pan with a removable bottom. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. When done the cake should spring back when touched gently. Invert the pan to keep the cake from sticking or deflating. (If the cake pan has legs, turn it over onto them, otherwise invert the tube pan onto the neck of a beer bottle.) Let cool.
To remove the cake from the pan, run a knife around the inside of the pan and around the center tube. Gently push up the bottom, using the knife to help guide the cake out, if necessary. Use a sharp serrated knife into water between cuts to help keep the cake from sticking.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp sugar
- orange zest (for the end)
With an eclectic mixer, combine heavy cream, vanilla, almond extract, and sugar on low. Increase speed to high and whip the mixture until it thickens to 2-3 times it’s size and is no longer a liquid. Top cooled cake with cream, strawberries, and zest of one orange.