I went to a dessert party last night. Every year during finals, my late advisor would host a dessert party at her home, bringing together people from all different academic communities for a night of relaxation, strange drinks, chocolate fondue, and ice cream sundaes. To continue this tradition, her research group hosted the same party in our lab last night – potluck style. Turns out dessert parties can be a major bummer for a dessertaholic who’s given up gluten. Unless there’s a gigantic platter…or two…of chocolate covered strawberries. Every time I dreamed about the brownies and cookies spread across the table, I redirected my reach for another chocolate covered strawberry…and another…and another. So what? It’s fruit. It’s healthy. And today? I’m headache free. The night I caved and shoved a chocolate orange creamsicle cupcake in my face I should have exhibited the same restraint and stuck to this deliciously sweet gluten-free strawberry lemon curd tart with almond crust. Topped with a dollop of greek yogurt sweet cream. Hindsight is always 20-20.
Cupcakes are my kryptonite. So good, but so so bad. I swore off gluten entirely yesterday when I had a massive headache and horrible nausea for two days straight after eating only one (oh so yummy) chocolate orange creamsicle cupcake. Okay, two. I ate one on Friday when I served them because I had to make sure they weren’t poisonous before giving them to guests and I had to eat another when photographing them because how else would you know what the inside looked like? Light, fluffy, moist, chocolate-y, summery citrus-y. I mmmmed and ahhhhhed after every single bite (and I don’t even like chocolate all that much!).
Before I gush about this sweet creamy dessert, I’d like to update you on why I’ve been in hiding for the past few weeks. I’m debating how many pictures of wedding projects I want to share and how many I want to keep secret to surprise the guests. The suspense is killing me! Many people I’ve talked to have complained about the dreaded wedding projects they took on when they got married, but I’m loving (almost) every single second of crafting. As long as I’m not in charge of hanging all the lights in my parents’ backyard, I’m delighted to DIY all day. Luckily, hanging cafe lights between the trees on every square-foot of my parents’ acre backyard is right up Lucas’s alley. Below is a quick snapshot of the entryway into the yard…Lucas’s beautiful lighting project accents the impressive gardening my mom’s been working hard on every single evening for months.
Sometimes in the midst of chaos, you need a big bowl of comfort, a glass of orange juice, and good friends to sit around the dining table with. For Lucas, comfort tastes like Texas. And since, until last week, we didn’t own a grill and sopapillas aren’t on my gluten-free diet, I tried my hand at Texas-style chili…modified to simultaneously satisfy this California-born girl who wants lots of fresh veggies and beans. Oh, and to swap out ground beef for a leaner meat to make this dish wedding-diet friendly. So really, the flavor base boasts the essence of Texas chili, but the hearty substance screams California.