If you felt a slight twinge of pity as you read that sentence, terrific.
That’s what I was hoping for.
But in all seriousness, friends, or rather, the lack there of, has been an overarching issue for me the longer I remain in New York. And no, I haven’t been repelling friends because I’ve become a meaner person.
Well, at least I hope it’s not because I’ve become a meaner person.
New York, as I mentioned in a few posts back, isn’t really a place people call home. Remember that movie “View From the Top” with Gwyneth Paltrow? There was that scene where Gwyneth likened Cleveland to a “great big, giant waiting room,” where you pay your dues and duke it out, and after a year, “somebody’s gonna call [y]our name.”
New York, I suppose in many respects, is a big, giant waiting room for quite a few people.
Like the friends I’ve met here.
A lot of my close friends came to New York for the same reason I did: to attend grad school. We duked it out for more than a year, paid our dues, and waited for our names to be called for whatever adventure fate had in store for us.
Sarah got called to Chicago. Gosia to Poland. Judy to Georgia. Brenda to Texas. Lisha to Michigan. Yudith to Singapore. Edouard and Lea to France.
Under normal circumstances I’m a fairly happy and patient person, but I’ve been getting a bit anxious because nobody else is here in the waiting room with me.
I’m still in New York City. Still waiting and deciding. Still hoping and dreaming.
I turned to the internet to make friends.
I’m not even joking.
I certainly wasn’t going to meet any friends at 30 Rock given my absurd overnight schedule, and the solitary activities I enjoy, such as Bikram yoga and running, weren’t really conducive to making new friends.
When Sarah was still in New York she mentioned in passing that she joined a vegetarian meet-up group, where she met some awesome people with varied interest. Recalling the conversation, I promptly registered on Meetup.com and after much perusing, poking and surfing, I joined a little meet-up group that held dinner parties every weekend.
What I love about t his particular dinner party meet-up is that each dinner party has a specific theme, from “Vegan Indian” and “Food on a Stick,” to “Summer Colors” and “Hawaiian Luau.”
I attended my first meet-up a few days ago, and the theme for this particular occasion was “Southern Potluck.” I’ve never been to the South, let alone eaten Southern food, so I found myself in a bit of a crux deciding what to make.
So, I turned to my favorite Southern movies for inspiration.
“Something to Talk About” was first on the list, which was just as well, because one of my many favorite scenes in the movie is when Julia Roberts eats a pecan pie in the kitchen, in the middle of the night, with the male friend she tried – but failed – to seduce.
Pecan pie it is.
After combing the interwebs for pecan pie recipes, I settled on this one by Closet Cooking because it uses maple syrup rather than corn syrup.
I know, I know.
Maple syrup is more of a Canadian, not a Southern, thing.
But I figure, if I splosh in a whole lotta Jimmy Beam, nobody would ever notice.
And I don’t think my dining companions noticed in the slightest.
Bourbon Pecan Pie
Adapted from Closet Cooking
Makes one 9-inch pie
1 1/2 cups pecans
3/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3 large eggs (lightly beaten)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
Tiny pinch of cinnamon
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust
Preheat your oven to 350F.
Scatter the pecans over a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 8-12 minutes, or just until the nuts get slightly fragrant.
While the nuts are toasting, you can go about browning your butter. As you can tell, I’m on a bit of a browned butter kick.
So, in a fairly large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, until it bubbles and froths. Watch it closely at this point, and just swirl the pan round. You’ll notice the butter turning an amber color.
To the browned butter, stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup and bourbon, and allow it to double double toil and bubble, stirring constantly. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and allow it to cool slightly.
At this time, distribute the toasted pecans over your unbaked pie shell.
In a bowl, beat the eggs, cream, vanilla, salt and cinnamon, and stir this into the cooled syrupy mixture. If you’re worried about having the eggs curdle, temper the eggs first. And by this I mean mixing in a bit of the syrup into the egg mixture, then stir the whole lot back into the pan of syrup.
Pour the molten mass over the pecan-filled pie crust, and bake for about 35-45 minutes, or until the edges are firm and the middle is slightly squidgy, but not liquidy. What you’re looking for is soft, custardy pie, so err on the side of under baking, keeping in mind that the pie will continue to cook as it cools.