Over the course of the last year, many of my friends have gone through some terrible times. Deaths, miscarriages, lost houses, divorces, lost jobs… and I was one of them. It seemed like everywhere I turned, someone I knew was going through something difficult.
Usually, when someone is going through something, I'm the first one to jump up and volunteer help, whether it be cooking, babysitting, or just some hang out time. But, when I was the one going through hell and back, there were very few people in my day to day life that I could count on to be "there".
My friend Heidi was one of these.
I could haul myself down to her office at any time last year, plop down in her papazzan chair, and know that she'd listen to whatever it was that I needed to talk about. When my sister and I were in Oregon, she was one of a few people that regularly checked in to see what was happening. I'm truly grateful to have her in my life, and am lucky enough that we get to work together.
Last year for Heidi's birthday, I made her pumpkin-chocolate-hazelnut cupcakes. They were amazing, but this year, I went a bit more traditional: chocolate cupcakes, cream cheese frosting, sprinkles, and silver liners. They're classic, simple, and… wait, who am I kidding.
These aren't just chocolate cupcakes. See, I have distinct memories of Heidi telling me, quite poetically, about the "amazing chocolate cake" from a restaurant near our school that was "thick chocolate cake with FUDGE in the layers" and how it would only be better with cream cheese frosting. One of her favorite boys informed me that the cream cheese frosting love was still going on, so Operation Happy Birthday Cupcakes continued.
I toyed for a few minutes with making something different, and then I remembered something else: Heidi started my cupcake obsession. A wedding gift of cupcake supplies piqued my interest, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I turned to my baking guru: Jessica. (Can I just tell you how excited I am to finally meet her in San Francisco at FoodBuzz fest?!) She had a recipe for brownie cupcakes. I didn't need to look any further.
I used a basic recipe for cream cheese frosting and ended up adding a bit more butter for stability's sake. I ended up just sampling the frosting and batter and never got around to actually sampling a cupcake! But, the important thing: Heidi loved them.
So, Heidi (I hope you're reading) Happy belated birthday! I'm grateful every day for your friendship, and am so happy we're lucky enough to work together!
Love to you always!
Oh, and cupcakes.
In other news, my head of curly endive wilted before I had a chance to cook with it. HOWEVER, we did choose a winner for the little contest from the other day, and that winner is Carol Belles with her beans and greens recipe! I'll be making it with the next head of endive I buy, but this time, with intent.