This weekend we celebrate motherhood – the hardest and most rewarding job there is. I skip through snippets of memories tucked in the back of my mind over the years. First tooth. First words. First steps. Cute little presents made by the tiny hands, such as this pink birthday card with a picture of a pig in the front, signed in big shaky letters: Love, Daniel. I still have it, and I still don’t have the slightest idea what the darn pig was doing there, but I’ve decided to take it as a compliment. Pigs are very smart animals, after all.
I remember laughs and tears, and lots and lots of learning. Learning to hold, learning to let go. Learning to hold back when you ask them for a little more respect and they tell you with an arrogant teenage eye roll: “So you gave birth to me. So what? Big deal.” (For the record, said son is still alive. I still love him and he now claims he doesn’t remember any verbal squabble in which he’d utter a similar statement, and swears he’d never dream of saying something like that to his Mother).
Yes, we give birth to them. And then find out we can go three days and three nights in a row without any real sleep to speak of. We can answer hundred whys in an hour. We can live through a half an hour long bus ride all smelly and covered in vomit, because the rickety ride made the munchkin sick, so he barfed all over you, himself, and his stroller. We can read the same story about a little mole over and over again, until hordes of fat black rodents haunt us in our dreams.
Yes, we can.
It’s funny. When you’re in the midst of it, the days can seem endless. You count minutes till bedtime, convinced you really won’t make it this time. And then suddenly they’re taller than you, and you’re wondering where the hell has the time go. You see the awesome people they’re becoming – in part thanks to you and in part despite everything you’ve managed to mess up as a parent, and you know without a shadow of a doubt It’s been all worth it, and you’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. Barf and all.
So here’s to motherhood. A wonderful experience, powered by love, coffee, and wine. But mostly love.
Brazilian Cheese Puffs
(recipe makes about 25 puffs)
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup mild tasting oil (or butter)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 10 oz. ( 280 g) tapioca flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1½ cups (6 oz.) parmesan cheese (or any other cheese, grated)
- Preheat the oven to 450 °F (230 °C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk with oil (butter) until very hot but not boiling; take off the heat.
- Transfer the hot milk/oil in a bowl of your food processor or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add all the tapioca to the milk/butter mixture; stir until well combined. The mixture should be thick, smooth, and gelatinous. Let the mixture cool until lukewarm.
- Gradually add eggs to the lukewarm mixture, mixing well after each addition.
- Lastly, beat in the cheese. The mixture will be very soft, almost like a cake batter.
- With a cookie scoop or a tablespoon, portion out rounded mounds on a parchment lined sheets, spacing them at least an inch apart.
- Put the baking sheets into the oven, and immediately turn down the temp to 350 °F ( 175 °C). Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until the puffs are dry on the outside and are nice golden brown.
- Let cool slightly and serve with wine.
These little cheese puffs are a must for those “it’s wine o’clock” moments. They’re similar to French Gougères, but better, because unlike their French counterparts, these little munchies are made with gluten-free tapioca flour, which means even folks with allergies, such as Mr. Photographer can have them. We all know the wining moments don’t apply only to Mothers. Sometimes it’s just better for any parent to pour himself/herself a glass, and shove a cheese puff in his/her mouth, before
yelling out saying something that he/she wouldn’t be proud of five minutes later. These little balls are best steaming hot from the oven, when they’re crispy on the outside, and soft and gooey on the inside. But they also freeze really well, which means you can (and should!) always have a first aid in the form of bottle of wine and some cheese balls at home!