Music is essential in my kitchen. Cooking in silence is just weird. Sure, TV provides decent background noise, but there’s just something so energizing about having a killer playlist under any culinary attempt. With that in mind, I’m going to start sharing with y’all some of what I listen to while I cook each week.
This past week was the anniversary of David Bowie’s birth and passing. He’s one of my favorite musicians so this week’s list is basically a bunch of hazy cosmic jive. Click the link below! Enjoy!!
In a small bowl, soak the cranberries in the orange juice for about an hour.
Bring the milk to a boil, remove from heat, and let it cool.
Pour the water into a small bowl, then add the yeast, and the sugar. Mix, and set aside for 10 minutes, until the mixture is foamy.
Drain the cranberries, reserving 2 tablespoons of the orange juice.
In a large bowl, add the yeast mixture, butter, and milk to 3 cups of flour. Stir with a wooden spoon. Once mixed, add the remaining 3 cups of flour, the cranberries, orange juice, and salt. Mix until everything is combined.
Using your hands, knead the dough for 5 minutes, folding it over onto itself repeatedly.
Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 hour in a warm spot. The dough should double in size.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, punch down the dough, and roll it out to 1/2 thickness. Cut out rounds using a biscuit cutter, a mason jar lid, or a glass (whatever you have on hand that will give your muffins a nice round shape). Sprinkle cornmeal over 2-3 cookie sheets, place the rounds onto the sheets, and dust with a little more cornmeal. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375. Bake your muffins for 8 minutes on each side (yes, you have to flip them). Let cool, and enjoy!
Ooh, look at that! I finally learned how to make my recipes look good on the blog! I’m also going to start putting the recipe first, so y’all can get to the good stuff right away. Then if you feel like sticking around for stories, tips, and tricks, they’ll be here. So…..
Towards the end of 2017 I really drifted away from my kitchen. I wasn’t cooking much, I wasn’t baking, and I was feeling like total crap. I had very little motivation and I just felt overwhelmed by everything. So I’ve stared making smallish changes to trick myself into loving the kitchen again. I’m halfway though a deep clean of my space, I’m seeking out colorful new recipes, and I’m making small promises to myself. One promise I made was that I wouldn’t rely on the pastry case at work for breakfast every morning (I’m a barista, and every morning I have to stare down a gorgeous case full of donuts, croissants, and all kind os goodness and say “NO!” It’s like, really hard). That means bringing breakfast with me. I’ve been making big batch steel cut oats that can be dressed up just about any way you can think of, but I also tried making myself some English muffins. I like foods that are portable, and versatile. I want to be able to have sweet or savory on a whim, and I don’t want to have to work very hard for it.
When I found Brooklyn Farm Girl’s recipe for blueberry English muffins, I was pretty hype. These are an easy easy way to get a little fruit into your morning meal, get a little sweetness without going overboard, and the recipe makes a big batch so you only have to invest a few hours maybe once a week. It’s a great recipe! I’m not the biggest fan of blueberries, though, so I decided to try it with dried cranberries. I still wanted the berries to be plump and juicy when all is said and done, so I soaked them in OJ, and added a little of the juice to my dough, just to tie all the flavors together. I think these would also taste great with a little ground ginger added to the dough.
I’ve been munching on these basically since the beginning of the year, and I’ve only eaten one work donut in the past 11 days, so maybe they’re working? The great thing is that even though these English muffins are fruity, they taste great with savory toppings. One morning I toasted a couple of these babies and topped them with peanut butter, spicy habañero jam, and a couple pieces of bacon. It’s not the healthiest breakfast, but was it good? You bet your sweet butt it was!!!
Give these muffins a try and let me know what you think? What do you like to spread on them? How would you customize your English muffins?
Also, if you have any tips for getting over the kitchen blahs, holla at ya girl!!
Every November/December I start scouring every food magazine for recipes and pictures of pretty Christmas cookies. I love them all. I love the cookies that sparkle. I love the cookies that leave a trail of powdered sugar as you eat them. I love the spicy ones. I love the jammy ones. I love the cookies that are pretty much just a vehicle for frosting. And I love making Christmas cookies. I always have. But I don’t do it anymore (or at least I haven’t for at least six years now). Why? The whole business turns me into an anxious puddle. There isn’t a single step of the process that doesn’t fill me with dread or feelings of inadequacy.
My friend’s mom makes the prettiest Christmas cookies I’ve ever seen. To be on her cookie list is one of the highest honors a Seattelite could hope to attain (though most don’t know it). Her cookies are every bit as perfect and detailed as every inch of her home. They’re curated. They’re delicious. They are the product of hours and hours of labor, hundreds of dollars in supplies and gadgets, and, I suspect, a team of housekeepers. They look, feel, smell, and taste like a million dollars.
I will never have a million dollars ever, in my life.
The first time I made cookies to give as gifts, is one of my most bittersweet memories. I remember a rare snowfall outside as I creamed the butter and sugar together, watching “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” with my mom as we frosted the cookies, the inch-thick layer of sprinkles that lined our kitchen countertops when we were finished. I also remember the ingredients themselves costing $40, a sum that, to my seventh-grade mind, was obscene. I could have gone to Claire’s and bought each of my friends a pair of earrings for less than that! But that was also $40 of my mom’s money. We didn’t have a lot. I felt really guilty for spending enough money to feed us for three days, on cookies that were just going to be eaten within five minutes of gifting—or worse, not eaten at all, what if they actually tasted nasty?!?!?!!!
I can’t tell you what these cookies looked like or tasted like because I don’t remember. I remember a slight sense of pride at having made something, at being able to share that work with other people. But mostly I remember feeling guilty about wasting my mom’s resources and time. She never complained, by the way, this was all in my head.
My cookies never come out perfect. I almost never have enough space, or the right tools, or even enough time. Sometimes the cookies themselves come out a little too dark around the edges, or the frosting I make is a little too runny, or I end up buying the wrong kind of sugar to decorate them with, or, or, or…
The cookies I make that aren’t meant to be visual showstoppers always come out fine. Why don’t I just gift those? Nobody’s going to be upset with getting a box full of chocolate chip, Nutella, or molasses cookies. But that’s not the point. This is the time of year where you pull out all the stops, go the extra mile, throw the extra tinsel, just to prove to the people you love that they are special to you. That’s the point, right? We do all this to show our people that they mean everything to us.
Why does it cost so much to say to another person, “you mean a lot to me?”
Ok, I’ll spare you the Charlie Brown diatribe against the commercialization of Christmas. But I’ll ask you something instead: have you ever thought about those extreme holiday baking competitions? Have you ever thought about how many people a life-sized Christmas tree cake can feed? Have you thought about the folks who can’t afford a loaf of bread, while somebody out there is baking a 6 foot cake that only three judges will take three bites of?
Granted, extreme cooking challenges and at-home baking are two completely different things. But I can’t help but see some similarity between the two when it comes to holiday gifting and entertaining. How can I justify making batch upon batch of elaborate cookies when I know people down the street from me are worried about freezing to death before they can find their next meal?
Put a pin in that question. Let me tell you about the first time I was given ugly cookies.
I was in high school, a vain teenager, and I didn’t want to eat them. They were lumpy, and discolored, ugly af. But somebody made them just for me. I couldn’t not eat them. Maaaaan, these cookies tasted like love! They were not the best cookies I’ve ever eaten, but every bite carried a message, “I keep you in my thoughts… you deserve a treat… be kind to yourself…”
I think that’s what we all mean to say when we give food as gifts. We give each other food because we want our people to fill themselves with those nice sentiments.
So I guess, this is where I’m supposed to tell you to go forth and make ugly cookies, use whatever you have, and just pour all your love into the recipe. And I want to say that. But I know that five minutes after I post this I will be back on Bon Appetit’s website, researching complicated cookie techniques, looking for the finest castor sugar and whole vanilla beans on Amazon. I will continue to chase perfection. I will spend more money than I would ever find reasonable, and I will continue to beat myself up when my confections don’t look the way I expected them to. Or maybe, I just won’t bake anything at all. It’s likely that my anxiety will get the best of me and I’ll decide a nice card with a handwritten note is probably all that my loved ones really need.
But I give you permission to make and gift ugly-ass baked goods. I give myself that permission, too.
I’m trying to come back to blogging on the regular. I keep falling into the mental trap of waiting until I have something BIG to say before I post something. My oven has been broken for a month, and I’ve been working my tail off, and I’ve been using those as excuses not to get on here and write. Well, no more! Here’s a post about my favorite at-home pasta dish!
As a late-20-something who works full-time and side-hustles often, it’s not that unusual, despite my love of cooking, for me to order out upwards of twice a week or to simply sit in front of my computer for six hours, snacking on Oreos and Red Vines instead of making dinner. This behavior has become much more common since my boyfriend started splitting his time between Chicago and New York. In my mind, it’s just easier to cook a meal for two people than it is to cook for one.
But this dinner I’m about to share with you is pretty dang easy! And you can customize it according to your mood, what’s in season, or how many people you want to feed.
I think I prefer to have an audience for my food, so when I’m cooking for just myself I tend to get bored. So I’ve picked up a few tricks to make eating alone more exciting:
Eat off of pretty dishes! I found these blue plates and bowls on sale at Crate & Barrel and now they’re my favorite things in my kitchen. Plus, they’re really photogenic; I feel like they make every food look prettier.
Keep it simple, keep it small. Honestly, if it takes more than 20 minutes to make, chances are I’m going to give up right off the bat and end up browsing Grubhub for the same amount of time it would have taken me to cook. So having a few simple ingredients around that work well when you throw them together is the easiest way for me to make sure I get back in that kitchen.
Play with your food. Find foods that make you laugh, that pop with color, that look new and strange to you! You might be the only person eating, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make every meal an adventure.
So now to the main event: my weeknight pasta surprise!
I’m currently obsessed with campanelle pasta. They look like little ruffle-y trumpets and I love it! I’ve been buying multiple boxes of it every time I hit the grocery store.
Next, I pick a protein. For tonight’s dinner, I’m using Aidells Cajun Style Andouille sausage (it’s not even close to authentic andouille, but it’s smoky and has a little kick), but you can use whatever you want. I also really like using chopped pancetta or some prosciutto. Bacon will do the trick, too! You can leave out the meat, if you prefer. I like having something that’s maybe a little salty, or smoky to add an extra layer of flavor to the dish.
Veggies come next. Right now my refrigerator is pretty sparse, but I have some nice asparagus and green beans hanging out in there, so that’s what I’m using. Frozen peas are also nearly omnipresent in my kitchen, and are super easy to pop into almost any meal.
Put an egg on it! I like to add a poached or fried egg to my pasta. I just love the way a runny yolk looks, feels, and tastes. Of course, if that’s not your jam I’m not judging. You do you, Boo!
I also like to add some aromatics to my pasta, whether that’s a little lemon zest, some basil, or a little crispy fried garlic. Tonight I am without herbs or lemons so fried garlic it is! If I’m frying garlic, I like to keep the olive oil I fried it in to fry up an egg with later. That oil gets infused with all the garlicky goodness my little heart can stand.
Now that you’ve chosen your players, it’s time to get cooking.
Cook your pasta according to the directions on the box, but if you’re only cooking for yourself, don’t make the full box. I make sure my pasta water is really well salted. That saltiness will transfer to your pasta as it cooks so you don’t have to add much more when you’re adding the other ingredients later.
While you’re waiting for the water to boil, prep your veggies. If you’re using asparagus or green beans, throw them into the pot when your pasta is about one minute away from al dente. If you’re working with something that takes longer to cook, like broccoli, add it to the pot when you add your pasta. Strain the pasta and veggies together, but make sure you reserve about 1/3 cup of the pasta water for later.
Once you’ve drained the pasta, you can set it aside for a minute. I like to prepare most of the dish in one pot so I have less to clean up later. In the pot I just used for the pasta, I melt a couple tablespoons of butter or olive oil over medium heat. Then I add my meat, and maybe some garlic or chopped shallots. You can even throw some mushrooms in if you’ve got them!
Once everything looks nicely browned and tender, add your pasta and the water you reserved before draining. That water, and the starch that it contains from the pasta will help to bind everything together. Turn the heat down a little and start stirring. As I combine all the ingredients together, I also start adding a hefty sprinkle or two (or five) of parmesan cheese. I keep stirring and adding cheese until the dish looks slightly creamy, but not super saucy. You can also add more butter and olive oil to help facilitate the process.
Next, I plate my pasta and prep an egg to go on top. If I have fresh eggs, I poach one (it’s actually pretty easy to do). If not, or if I want more diversity of texture, I fry one up in olive oil.
Jamie Oliver gives a pretty nice tutorial on a few ways to poach eggs.
Again, you can make as much or as little of this dish as you want and you can use pretty much whatever ingredients you have in your kitchen. It’s easy, it’s pretty, it’s fun, and it keeps me fed even when I don’t think I have the energy to cook.
Let me see what you’re cooking tonight and how you make your perfect pasta!
Even though the weather here in Chicago has been all over the place lately, I say it’s still pie season. I’m lucky enough to live in an apartment that’s on the small side, so on days like today, even though its chilly out, I can turn off the heat, fire up the oven, and stay nice and toasty on that residual heat. I decided to make the most of my oven and play around with an old classic of mine, sweet potato pie.
Pie is wonderful! I loooooovvveee pie! And Sweet potato is my favorite. But guess what? I hate pie crust. Okay, before you gasp in horror and question whether or not I have a soul, hear me out. Pie crust is THE trickiest thing to get right. I’ve had pie crust that’s too soggy, too dry, too flaky, you name it. I’ve probably made every incarnation of a bad pie crust. I’ve made some really excellent ones, too. But I think that my favorite pie deserves a crust that goes above and beyond. I think a truly delicious sweet potato pie deserves a chocolate cookie crust.
You heard right!
It’s crispy, crunchy, buttery, sweet, crumbly, and absolutely perfect for the fluffy filling of this pie. Plus, chocolate goes really nicely with sweet potato pie.
I used a recipe for chocolate wafer cookies from Laura’s Sweet Spot. This is a great basic recipe for chocolate wafer cookies in general. These cookies are delicious, and the site recommends using them for an icebox cake– a thing you should totally do if you get the chance!
Of course you can purchase your favorite chocolate wafer cookie at the store and go from there. I don’t normally have the time to bake a huge batch of cookies just so I can use them in other baked things. No shame in taking shortcuts, BUT I guarantee you won’t regret making your own.
Once you’ve got your cookies, toss them in a food processor or a blender. You’re basically going to treat this the way you would a graham cracker pie crust. Hopefully you’ve made (or bought) a lot of cookies because you’re going to need about a cup and a half of the ground cookies. Mix your cookie grounds with some sugar and butter, press it into your pie dish, bake it for a little bit then let that baby cool! You can prep the crust the day before if you don’t feel like slaving away over a hot oven for an entire day.
Now, if you’re making your cookies from scratch, and you don’t like the texture of a crumbly cookie crust, just treat your chocolate cookie dough the same way you would a traditional pie crust. Roll out your dough, fit it to your pie dish, par bake it, and then let it cool. Chocolate pie crust > traditional pie crust, I promise.
So all my local grocery stores do this thing where they carry humongous cans of sweet potatoes, enough to make like five pies from. I never have enough people to make that many pies for, so I’ve started roasting my own sweet potatoes instead of searching all over the city for smaller cans. Feel free to use store-bought, but I’ve found that baking your own sweet potatoes allows you to better control how sweet your pie is, which is kind of nice. If you’ve got the time (and believe me, this is one of the least hands-on elements of this pie), skip the can.
I also like to top my pie with pecans, because why not? If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m deeply invested in my sweet potato pie and I don’t mind taking it over the top. If you want to take this pie even further, you can make caramel from your sweet potatoes (!), and pour it on top of your pie as it cools. Or if caramel isn’t your thing and this pie still isn’t enough of a showstopper, make a meringue and pipe that on top of your pie about halfway through baking (if I’m doing this, I skip the whole layer of pecans, and just sprinkle a few on top of the meringue).
Now invite your friends and family over because you have just made the best pie in the world and everyone needs to know it.
…or just save it for yourself, I won’t tell.
Ain’t She Sweet Potato Pie
Sweet Potato Filling
3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1/2 cup water
1 8oz can of evaporated milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch of ground nutmeg
Enough pecans to cover the surface of your pie (optional)
Chocolate Cookie Crust
1 1/2 cups ground chocolate wafer cookies
1/3 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons of butter, melted
Mix your cookie crumbs, sugar, and butter together until well combined. Press that mixture into your pie dish (I use a 9 inch pie plate), and bake it at 375 F for about 7 minutes. Let it cool before adding filing.
Roast your sweet potatoes along with 1/2 cup water in a 9×13 baking dish covered with foil for 1 hour at 425 F. Take the foil off and roast uncovered fro another 15 minutes. Let those sweeties cool, too!
Mix your roasted sweet potatoes with the evaporated milk, sugar, egg, cinnamon, and nutmeg until the mixture is smooth. Pour your sweet potato mixture into your pie crust, top with pecans, and bake at 350F for about 1 hour. You’ll know it’s done when a knife it toothpick inserted into the middle of the pie comes out clean.
Fat Tuesday is always one of the most conflicted days of the year for me. During the Mardi Gras season the swamp water that fills my veins encourages me to ask, “what would I do, who would I be if there no rules for me to play by?” The season always fills me with a sense of possibility, hope, and mischief. I wake up every year on Mardi Gras day and yell out a joyous greeting to the world. But then I immediately remind myself that for the people around me, it’s just Tuesday, and my exited antics will only annoy people everywhere I go.
I haven’t been able to spend Mardi Gras in Louisiana since I was a little kid. Every year, I spend the holiday in places where people just don’t understand the holiday.
“Right, isn’t today the day where people get drunk and girls show their boobs?” -Every northerner I’ve ever met.
This morning alone I’ve seen several northerners (des Américains) try to give their take on how to celebrate the day. From feast menus that worry a little too much about the texture of gumbo, and turn king cake into something that looks like it would be served at a child’s birthday party, to vegan po’ boys, My day has already come with it’s share of northern aggression.
So let me tell you what Mardi Gras means to me:
Mardi Gras is the season, the day, the spirit, that brings all kinds of people together during one of the leanest times of the year. It’s a time when barriers get broken down and folks can look at each other is equals. Mardi Gras is when communities come together, so, naturally, food is essential to this holiday.
Courirs de Mardi Gras are held this time of year: a few folks run from house to house in their neighborhood or town, collecting ingredients for a gumbo from every house. One person might give a chicken, another the onions, somebody else volunteers their pot. At the end of the courir, everybody gets together and shares a meal. Gumbo, too, is such a communal dish anyway, I think the only folks who really stress about the texture of the okra used in it (if any is used at all– Creole gumbo typically leaves it out) are folks serving it in restaurants. At a courir, nobody is going to send back their bowl of gumbo because they’re not used to the texture of okra.
The king cake is a mainstay of Mardi Gras parties, helping to bring an air of egalitarianism to the groups if people gathered to celebrate. It’s often suggested that whoever finds the baby in the king cake is supposed to throw the next party (Mardi Gras is a season, y’all, not just one day; folks have a lot of opportunities to return the favor of playing host). The king cake relies on traditions of openness, of inviting people into your home no matter what you have or don’t have. Mardi Gras is about bringing what you’ve got to the table, and mixing it with everybody else’s something.
At the very least, that’s Mardi Gras at its best.
There’s a whole history of elitism, classism, and racism tied to the holiday. But since folks in Louisiana started celebrating the days between the Epiphany and Ash Wednesday, just about everyone, no matter who they are or where they come from, has found a way to get in on the action. Look at the history of the Mardi Gras Indians. Hell, look at the ragtag Krewe of Couche Couche out of Lafayette, Louisiana that my family has had the honor of marching in for decades.
As I took my first sips of coffee this morning I said a little prayer, “please, let northern folks leave their sensible nonsense behind today and find some joy.” Now more than ever I think we need to be able to smile at strangers on the street, offer up a little of the good inside us. We need to find ways to sing and dance and laugh even when the world around us is bleak. That’s what folks do in Lousiana. When things look dark, they light the world with their joy. That, to me, means choosing constantly to engage with the world in joy and love in spite of what anybody says. I don’t think that’s such a silly or frivolous notion; I think it’s necessary of any of us are going to survive to a ripe old age.
If you’d like to try some more traditional Louisiana recipes today, here are a few:
(from Talk About Good! La Livre de la Cuisine Lafayette compiled by the Lafayette Junior League)
16 lumps sugar
12 jiggers of cognac
4 sticks cinnamon
2 twists of lemon peel
24 whole cloves
4 large twists if orange peel
10 demitasse cups strong coffee
Allow all ingredients (except coffee) to muddle 1 hour before serving. Blaze all for 1-2 minutes. Add coffee slowly. May top with whipped cream if desired after serving.
Momma’s Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
(A family recipe)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup vegetable oil
2 bell peppers (whatever color strikes your fancy), chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (5 pound) chicken, cut into serving pieces
1 pound smoked sausage
2 ½ quarts of water
2 bay leaves
Tony Cachere’s (a Creole seasoning mix) to taste
Heat oil in a stockpot over medium heat, add flour and stir until the roux is a dark brown. Add onions, bell peppers, and garlic, and continue to stir for 1 minute. Next add the water, bay leaves, chicken, and a healthy sprinkling of Tony Cachere’s. Bring to a slow boil and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and tasting to make sure it is properly seasoned. After 30 minutes have past, skim the fat off the top of the gumbo and add the sausage. Cook for another 30 minutes or more, until the gumbo has reduced by at least one third. Continue skimming fat off the top as it cooks. Serve over rice and chow down!
Note: While some might consider this sacrilege, you can buy a pre-roasted chicken from the grocery store, shred it, and use that instead of a raw chicken. I often do this so I don’t have to worry about bones in my gumbo.
Southern Living also has some great links to king cake recipes and more on their website. Please, whatever you do, don’t build your king cake like a birthday cake, they’re not the same thing even if your birthday happens to fall on Mardi Gras this year!!!
January 6th is, for most folks, just another day in January. For some, it’s the official end of the Christmas season, the day to throw out your Christmas tree. For my folks in Louisiana, January 6th, or Epiphany, marks the beginning of the Mardi Gras season. Today people in much of the French diaspora celebrate the visit of the wise men to the baby Jesus. I’m not what you would call a religious person, but I will never turn down an occasion to celebrate– especially if it involves cake.
There are so many wonderful foods that I associate with the Mardi Gras season in Louisiana (king cake, jambalaya, calas, beignets, and of course, gumbo), and I plan on making every one of them for y’all this year. But today I’m going to focus on a traditionally French confection, the galette des rois.
I love these cakes because they combine three of my favorite things: puff pastry, sweet almond paste, and prizes! The galette des rois is pretty common to northern France (in southern France, the gâteau des rois looks a little different), and around this time of year French bakeries go all out in the making and selling of these cakes. Inside every galette, you’ll find a tiny prize, or fève. Fèves can range from a simple almond or dry bean to some of the most beautiful tiny porcelain figures you can imagine. If your slice of galette contains the fève, you’re crowned king or queen for the day. You can see why this tradition is fun for the whole family, right?
Now, I grew up eating king cakes from Louisiana which are pretty different from galettes des rois. And while I’ve made king cakes before, this is my first galette. I’m using David Lebovitz’s recipe because he keeps the measurements pretty clear and also because he’s a huge fan of French food and an all-around talented dude.
When I finished making the filling I kind of freaked out because it looked like there was way too much for just one galette. I then calmly reassured myself that vertical height is a good thing and that a great many soft substances thicken up when you chill them overnight. So after assembling my galette, I chilled it overnight. Lebovitz says that if you’re worried about any of the filling leaking out, you can mix a little corn starch into it. I decided that I didn’t need to add anything extra. This was a mistake.
When I took my galette out of the oven it had an almond filling tail. I didn’t take a pic for y’all because I was ashamed. Luckily, the filling explosion baked really nicely and was easy to just pull off of the rest of the galette.
I probably should have etched my designs deeper into the crust, but I didn’t want to fully puncture the dough. I think it still looks nice though.
If you’re making this with a kid or kids in the house, it is customary to let the youngest one dictate who gets which piece. Don’t forget to chew carefully as you eat, there may be a fève lurking in your piece. I used a walnut in mine and accidentally cut it in half! I guess that means my boyfriend and I are both royalty for the day.