The light blazing in between the slats of the window shades forced its way into the room with an unrelenting fury. To look at it was a mistake, my confused desire to confirm that all this daylight meant that it was indeed morning. The sun, in all its radiant indifference, slammed its rays through my eyes and into the back of my skull with shuddering force, like a gladiator swinging a halberd into the torso of his charging opponent.
“NYAAAAGH!!!” I cried and flipped back around to bury my head into the darkness of my pillow. “Why did you open the blinds?!”
“Because it’s ten o’clock and you told me to last night, ‘No matter what,’ so you could get your work done,” said BF who crawled back into bed before slipping into dreamy unconsciousness.
“Damn you and your punctuality. Damn me, too. Ugh,” I sighed. I peeked out from the covers to let a sliver of morning in and attempted to adjust my eyes. After a few minutes, now fully emerged from the darkness of my pillow-topped fortress, I pulled on whatever clothes were nearest to my hand (i.e. what I was wearing last night and had stripped into a pile on the floor, and that the cat had decided to make a bed out of). I wrapped myself up in a blanket and crawled out to the kitchen.
" I have to admit. I was surprised how well I held myself last night," I smirked to myself.
The previous night had been the post-thesis celebration. A rather impromptu gathering fueled by food and booze of every sort. It was a grand ‘ol affair that went late into the night with raucous conversation and brazen drinking of the kind that I hadn’t partaken in since I was 22. A bevy of cocktails made with a pitcher of freshly squeezed vanilla bean lemonade and a bottle of Absolut vodka started the night off with a sunny disposition. Eventually the group moved through a few bottles of red wine before diving into a dauntingly large bottle of champagne (my one true weakness). By the time we cracked open the tequila it was a sleigh ride out of sobriety and into the realm of near total shitfacedness.
“Still, I did not overtly swear, fall down, or fondle a single person last night. Plus, I remember everything that happened! I’m quite proud and more than just a bit than surprised with myself.”
"Mmmff," muffled back BF in sleepy agreement.
It’s true. I was. I can be a bit of a handful when I drink. My tipsy-akimbo position is one where one arm holds a drink while wrapped around the shoulders of a friend so I can stay standing, while the other arm takes to task touching any pretty lookin’ fellow who happens by me. Generally, I become the person you try to avoid and who you're embarrassed to have attended with. I'm quite the mess, really.
Somehow, still, by the grace of God, Vishnu, and a Euro-mix heritage that blessed me with a mighty liver I made it through the night without that happening. I think of it as a sign of maturation.
The hangover itself wasn’t so bad, either. I could move and I didn't wake up in the bathtub with a bucket nearby so already things were looking up. After my body adjusted to morning I was able to adequately go about my business except that I was accompanied by a dull headache. The sounds of the day would be chased by the constant hum reverberating in the front of my skull, a sound like the last trailing tone of a church bell’s bark.
I had set the alarm and the BF to wake me up because last night I had every intention of getting dressed and driving down the Farmer’s Market. As it stood now? Hells no. Whatever plans I had on cooking something elaborate and the story I had started penning to go with it were chucked aside. What for, though, was something I wasn’t quite sure of yet.
Once in the kitchen I plopped down on the linoleum floor and opened the refridgerator door. I zoned out as I tanned in the fluorescent light hoping something would club me in the face with inspiration. I pulled the blanket tighter against me as the cold air curled out and snaked around me. Grabbing my pounding head I wondered if Asprin studded scones would either be seen awesome or problematic. I imagine such a post would lead to a bunch of people unsubscribing to my blog feed followed by a whole new audience hitting the subscribe button.
Suddenly, the sound of a small explosion burst from the fridge. It was, in fact, simply a stick of butter falling off a piece of tupperware onto the floor of the fridge. My addled brain had moved from buring my retinas with light to liquifying my brain with sound. "How lovely," I thought to myself.
The cause of the butter crash had been my cat, Eat Beast. He had already snuck well into the back of the fridge in an attempt to get at a poorly wrapped piece of ham and that his tail had knocked the butter over. As I yanked him out - much to his verbal protest - the Aspirin scones suddenly seemed far more reasonable. Maybe with a dusting of ground Lithium and powdered sugar for garnish?
Pulling out the cat revealed that previously hidden behind his girth sat a box of puff pastry. Near it, a container of blackberries and half of a container of mascarpone cheese.
Turnovers it would be. They sounded like appropriate hangover food.
Having never been one for fast food my usual hangover cure has always been vegetarian Szechuan food. This is put together in the most haphazard way I can think of as cooking and wanting to die at the same time rarely ever go hand in hand and usually results in pretty piss-poor food. I simply smash up some garlic, ginger, and chili peppers and throw them into a wok with shimmering-hot oil. After a quick stir in goes whatever vegetables I can find and chop up without harming myself. (Handling a knife while hungover is never the smartest thing, but I figure if professional chefs in the 80's can do it while coming down from cocaine I can do it while recovering from tequila shots). A few minutes and a splash of soy sauce later I have my meal.
Doing this post-mowed is pretty miserable work. I power through it each time knowing that in the end my stomach will feel better, my head will clear up (at least, somewhat so), and I’ll be able to go back to sleep and feel rejuvenated.
Having no vegetables in the house meant no Szechuan food. That meant turnovers.
The whole thing came together rather quickly. The filling ingredients were stirred together in a bowl. The puff pastry quickly rolled and cut. The only tedious part was the egg washing and folding. Tedious-ish. Time was pretty fuzzy during all this so I'm not sure if it took five or fifty minutes.
Either way, they got in the oven. I was even able to take pictures, so props to me there. They also tasted pretty darn good. So, you know, more props.
They taste even better when your head isn’t an arena for knife fighting monkeys. Buttery, flakey puff pastry is a welcome sight any morning, and, I can confirm this now, a great hangover cure. Fill it with blackberries and cheese? Well, the jammy and creamy mess bubbling inside them is just dandy.
However, these turnovers are of a simple flavor and not a revelation. Rather, they have a flavor you appreciate when you’re in the proper mood for it. When you are, the turnovers tastes nearly life affirming. When you're reeling from tequila shots they're practically the perfect food; even better than a coffee and a Big Mac. Even, possibly, better than Szechuan food.
After that I went back to bed and crashed for a bit; perfectly content and full of puff pastry. I would sleep the rest of the hangover off happily.
To pick the winner I flipped a coin to choose whether the winner would be chosen from comments on the blog or comments on the Facebook thread. Blog won the coin toss. From that I entered everyone into a random number generator.
The winner is redstrands! Redstrands, please be sure to e-mail me with your contact info so I can send the books your way. Thanks everyone who entered!
Blackberry Mascarpone Turnovers
Makes 24 turnovers
2 7-ounce prepared puff pastry sheets
6 ounces blackberries, chopped
1/4 cup Mascarpone cheese
zest of 1 lemon or orange
1 tablespoon honey
1 egg, beaten
1. Combine blackberries, Mascarpone, zest, and honey in a bowl.
2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Working with one puff pastry sheet at a time roll out the pastry to a size of 9-inches by 12-inches. Cut into 12 3x3-inch squares. Use your finger to paint a the edges of each square with beaten egg (this will help the pastry seal). Place a teaspoon of the blackberry mixture in the center of the squares. Fold over the squares into a triangle shape (for smaller ones, just fold into rectangles, they aren't as pretty but they are easier to fold). Stretch the dough if you need to to close the turnovers. Use the tines of a fork to crimp the edges. Place the turnovers on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Chill for 5 minutes in the refrigerator before baking, or chill while you prepare the second puff pastry sheet.
3. Whisk a teaspoon of water into the beaten egg. Using a pastry brush paint the turnovers with the egg to give them a shiny glaze. Bake the turnovers for 15-20 minutes or until golden and puffy. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.