You know that feeling of relief and security returning home after a trip? Finally you can kick off your shoes, lie on your own couch, and sleep in your own bed. I experienced that familiar joy times 10 this week after visiting my dad and sisters. No no...not because it was a bad trip. Quite the contrary! Refreshingly unlike my usual exchanges with kids, my sisters SL and M took to me right away and would hardly let go, even at night! But experiencing firsthand the energy required to keep up with them did give me renewed respect for Dad, his wife, Michelle, and parents everywhere =).
So what happened to make me so desperate for home? Just another round of travel delays - affecting me directly this time. My 6:30 pm flight out of Florida was delayed 4 times before Airtran finally canceled it at midnight. While a supposed lack of crew was the reason for our delays, we watched as the stewardesses clearly meant for our plane were moved to another flight. It was 2 am when we got to a hotel and our rescheduled flight was for 6:30, so we barely got a wink in before it was time to pack up again. With all the passengers ready to go at the gate, we were then told there might be another delay because the captain overslept! Finally, a man had heart failure as we were about to leave the gate and had to be carted off the plane. I really hope he's alright.
Quite the trip, wouldn't you say? I don't mean to sound like a brat, especially since we did get free hotel rooms and even a ticket for our inconvenience. But these delays do have very real consequences. One passenger was quite distraught to learn that a loved one passed away while we were waiting. Sadly, she'd have made it to see him one more time had the flight arrived on time. I certainly don't expect airlines to control or predict bad weather, but they could certainly have better procedures in place to save everyone, including their own employees, some stress and frustration.
Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. I'd like to end this post on the sweet note you all deserve. Here is another treat that I baked for my sisters. I find they have a sophisticated air about them from the lemon zest and neat slices. And the crunchy texture from the cornmeal is really a delight to the taste buds! They're not too fancy for the little ones, either, who munched away happily on these during our car rides. My littlest sister, M, was so impressed by them that she started calling me "cookie," and it took some effort to talk her out of it!
Lemon Polenta Cranberry Cookies [Printable Recipe]
Slightly adapted from Bon Appetit via Milk and Cookies
Makes about 32 cookies
XIAOLU'S NOTES: Please note that the dough needs to chill at least 2 hours before baking. Any small dried fruit, such as golden raisins (which the original recipe called for) or dried cherries would also work well in place of dried cranberries. If your fruit is a bit too dry, soak it for a few hours in some warm water or appropriate juice. For that extra sumthin' sumthin', mix a lil' rum into the soaking liquid.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/3 tsp salt
2 large egg yolks [refrigerate or freeze the whites for use elsewhere]
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup dried cranberries (about 4 ounces)
Powdered sugar, to garnish (optional)
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in lemon zest and salt, then egg yolks. Beat in cornmeal, then flour. Stir in cranberries. Knead dough just to combine; divide in half transfer each to a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Using plastic or parchment, form dough into two 1 1/2 x 6-inch logs. Refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or up to 1 day.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice dough log into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Arrange rounds on prepared baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart and reshaping into rounds if uneven.
Bake cookies until golden at edges, about 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to rack. Cool completely, and dust with powdered sugar, if desired. Store airtight at room temperature for up to 4 days.