Do you ever do things that make you feel just adorable? I felt that way this weekend, momentarily. We live close to downtown, so I told my husband that we should bike to one of the nearby farmers’ markets on Saturday morning, then over to the arts festival that was going on. I was so excited by the prospect of our bike trip, I went out and bought a few summer dresses.
Dresses, because that’s what hipsters wear on bikes, right? I don’t have a cute vintagey bicycle, so the least I can do to make up for it is wear a dress and some colorful flats. I spent the entire evening prior to our ride trying on different outfit combinations and (unsuccessfully) attempting to wrap my malformed head in a scarf. I already have big wayfarer glasses and a wicker basket for the front of my bike, so my quaintness level was going to be through the roof. I was determined.
When we were ready to leave, I was like: I am the queen of twee. I’m practically Zooey Deschanel right now. I should sing songs while we’re biking and give flowers to children.
And that’s where that fantasy ended.
Seven minutes in, we hit the first hill. My calves were killing me and I was panting like my parents’ old, obese beagle. Possibly with my tongue actually hanging out. That was also when I realized I was about to cross a bridge over the highway, and I began to hyperventilate and squeal out of fear. On top of the fat-dog panting. Decidedly NOT CUTE.
After stopping to catch my breath, sop the sweat off my face, and regain my composure, we continued on through the festival grounds. It was still early, so it wasn’t difficult to weave through the few people who had gathered. But as we went up onto a sidewalk, I veered into the grass. No problem, right? Just veer back onto the sidewalk.
Nope. Veering was not in the plan that day. What was in the plan was my tire getting caught in the small space between the sidewalk edge and the grass and me being launched off my bike, scraping up my palms, mangling my leg, and crying in front of total strangers.
I bet Zooey Deschanel never falls off the cute vintagey bike she undoubtedly rides.
All’s well that ends well, though, and the rest of our “adorable” bike date ended with the purchase of a bag of little cherries from the farmer’s market, a stroll through the arts festival (where I discovered my new favorite artist, Kate Morgan), and the best food truck meal ever, consisting of macaroni & cheese covered in barbecue pulled pork. Hallelujah.
The lesson to be learned here is that you shouldn’t get so caught up in the idea of something going perfectly, or portraying yourself in a certain way. You just have to roll with the punches. Or roll with the bike crashes, as it were. And also something about bicycle safety (helmets are important?) and the healing power of pulled pork.
I just hope I have some scars from the experience so I can tell people about the time I got into a fight with pirates. Totally true pirate-fight stories are adorable.
- 16 graham cracker sheets (248 grams)
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
- ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 1½ cups (240 grams) fresh blueberries
- ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 8-ounce packages (680 grams) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
- 1 cup (227 grams) sour cream
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar
- 8-10 small apricots (1½ to 2 pounds), sliced
- Preheat oven to 350°F. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse graham cracker sheets and sugar until finely ground. Pour in melted butter and pulse until mixture resembles wet sand and holds together when pressed between your fingers. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.
- Using a fork, whisk together cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until berries are softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in cornstarch slurry. Bring to a boil, then cook for another 2 minutes, until sauce is thick. Transfer to a blender or clean food processor and blend/pulse until smooth. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add sour cream, flour, and vanilla and beat until combined. Add eggs and beat on low until just integrated. Pour filling over cooled crust. Plop the blueberry sauce randomly over the top of the filling, then swirl it around with a butter knife, being careful not disturb the crust.
- Place the springform pan inside a 10-inch cake pan, or wrap the bottom and sides tightly with a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil (the cake pan is leak-proof; foil is not. I highly recommend investing in a cake pan if you make a lot of cheesecakes!). Place inside of a roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with cool water until the water reaches halfway up the side of the cake pan/springform pan. Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes, until center is almost set. A thermometer inserted into the center of the cheesecake should read 160-165°F. Remove from water bath and cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 3 hours.
- In an oven-safe skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add sugar, stirring to dissolve. Cook until lightly browned, then add apricots and cook 5 minutes, until softened. Place skillet under the broiler for 5-8 minutes, until some of the apricots are charred. Remove from broiler and cool on a wire rack. When cool, spoon over chilled cheesecake and serve immediately, or return to the refrigerator to chill for another 30 minutes before serving.