Risotto with radishes, kale, and lemon

April 25, 2013 § 4 Comments

risotto radishes kale lemon 1

Before we get to risotto, I have a few little announcements to make, housekeeping style.  I trust the risotto can wait a couple moments, even though it is not known to be the most patient of rice dishes.  But anyway, as I mentioned a little bit ago, this here little blog is undergoing a spiffing up process.  It’s like Five and Spice is going on Project Makeover!  That’s not a real show is it.  Extreme Makeover?  Anyway, that’s beside the point.

The point is that some major, and (so!) exciting renovations are happening, led by the (brilliant) ladies of Wooden Spoons Kitchen.  In order to make it all work, starting sometime on the later end of tomorrow (Friday) the site will be down for a while.  It will stay down over the weekend while the magic happens in the background.  Then on Monday morning it’ll be back with its brand new look and also at a new URL.  Instead of being at wordpress.com the site address will be plain old fiveandspice.com (took me long enough to make the change, right?! Some weird Estonian company or something had snagged that URL, I think in hopes of getting me to buy it from them. But when their lease on it expired, I snapped it up.  Take that!).

I’ll have the old site set up to redirect, so old links will all still work and whatnot, but just know that henceforth you’ll be able to look for me at that new address. Now this is important (hence the bold typeface) if you subscribe by email, that should keep working without interruption (at least in theory.  Fingers crossed.) but if you subscribe via an rss feed/reader type of thing, you will have to resubscribe.  But, this should be easy enough, right?  You did it once!  I bet you can do it again.  (I, on the other hand, have no idea how to subscribe to an rss feed.  I am a luddite.  This is why other people are in charge of moving the site over, and holding my hand, and talking to me in reassuring voices the whole time.)

risotto radishes

So, with that taken care of, let us turn to the risotto. « Read the rest of this entry »

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Spinach and pine nut soup

March 19, 2013 § 20 Comments

spinach pine nut soup 1

I wasn’t kidding about the soups (I even made another one today for lunch.  This one, in fact, but with kale instead of cabbage).  And, as you can see, I definitely wasn’t kidding about the spinach and pine nut soup.  Actually, I used the soup and my desire to make it as an excuse to have an impromptu St. Patrick’s/St. Urho‘s day dinner for a few friends.  Clearly there is nothing very Irish (or Finnish for that matter) about spinach and pine nuts, but check out how green that soup is!  I decided that with a side of soda bread and some good Irish butter and cheddar it would suit us just fine.

And it did.  It’s actually quite a wonderful soup.  No wonder I used to make it as a starter for dinner parties all the time!  Come to think of it, I think I first served this soup (or a version of it) at the first serious dinner party I ever hosted.  That was back in the day, back during my sophomore year of college, if I remember correctly.

toasted pine nuts

Courtesy of my first year of college, I developed such an aversion to the food at the school’s dining hall, I convinced the school to let me not be on a meal plan at all, and I started cooking for myself in the tiny – and usually disgusting with other students’ crusty leftover midnight macaroni and cheese pots and half eaten bags of microwave popcorn – dorm kitchen down at the end of the hallway.

That was pretty much my start of cooking seriously for myself, though in this context “serious” meant a lot of chicken breasts with steamed broccoli interspersed with granola or Special K bars for dinner.  (The Special K bar dinner was the saddest.)  I also discovered how very lonely it can be to sit and eat dinner in silence by yourself every single night.  I suppose that must have contributed to my passion for sharing meals, and I started devising ways to coax others to dine with me. « Read the rest of this entry »

Winter vegetable fattoush

December 29, 2012 § 30 Comments

fattoush winter vegetables 1

Hello there!  ‘Tis really and truly the season, isn’t it?

I feel as though it’s been days since I’ve gotten to bed at a reasonable hour, drunk anything that didn’t come from a just uncorked bottle, or eaten a meal that didn’t end with cookies.

And it isn’t even New Year’s yet!

Which is terrifically fun.  Obviously.  Though is it horribly dull of me to say I’m ready to get back to our quieter everyday routine?   What can I say, I’m a cancer.  Home and hearth is where my heart is.

Plus, I’m looking forward to putting my shiny new Christmas gifts to use!

My family tried (and semi-succeeded) in going mildly minimal on gifting this year.  That is to say, we gave presents that were things people needed (socks!  Oh my gosh, I love socks!  And I’m not even saying that in a sarcastic voice.  I reeeeaally love getting socks as a present.  Somehow I always need them.) or that were really high quality and would earn their keep with use.

fattoush parsley « Read the rest of this entry »

Sturdy green salad with lemon yogurt dressing

October 12, 2012 § 13 Comments

Well dear friends, the distillery, which after a flurry of ad hoc focus group testing with friends who are roughly in our target market and/or have clever things to say about names is now officially named Vikre Distillery, now has a Facebook page.  As of yesterday!  And you know, if that doesn’t make something real, then what does, really?

In the non-Facebook version of life, also known as reality, the distillery is still very much in the process of becoming extant.  But, we’re making a lot of progress and have found all sorts of amazing help, willing ears, editors, math-checkers, connection-makers.  Though so far, the number of people who have offered their services as first line taste testers outstrips the numbers of any of these categories by far.  Leaves’em in the dust.  No contest.  (Gee, I wonder why.)

By day, I find myself bopping between meetings and then back to focused data coding.  By night I continue to stare pensively at data with a furrowed brow breaking only to fill mason jar upon mason jar with vodka and herbs, trying to come up with our ideal gin blend and aquavit flavor profile, etc. etc.

Joel crunches and recrunches numbers, and perfects powerpoints, and pamphlets, and makes a lot of phone calls.  I’m glad I’m not doing that part.  I have a weird irrational quasi-fear of calling people.

Some days are awful and I throw up my hands, convinced this was the worst idea in the known history of mankind (worst, no exaggeration) and that it will all be a miserable failure.  Other days are bright and happy, full of hope and new connections and small successes and a sense that we can make things happen.   These things go like that.

Anyhow, progress, progress, progress.  Each little step, on any sort of day, is progress. « Read the rest of this entry »

Buttermilk peach smoothie

July 24, 2012 § 9 Comments

We are nearing August.  The air, thick with fresia, mosquitos, and humidity begs for laziness and simplicity.  I can partially oblige.

Simplicity.  Simplicity often has such beauty to it.  So much can be contained within so little.  Like a haiku.

A haiku:

Peaches, golden orbs

Buttermilk, kissed with maple

Blend until frothy. « Read the rest of this entry »

Italian mushroom and celery salad

June 21, 2012 § 23 Comments

First, the bad.  My hometown was ravaged by horrible flooding in the last two days.  Just torn apart.  A torrent of rain developed overhead and wouldn’t budge until it had dumped 7 inches, 9 inches, 10 inches of water in some places.  The wall of water rushed down the hill toward the lake taking out huge chunks of roads and sidewalks, dumpsters and bridges with it.

Perhaps you even saw it on the news yesterday.  I know the story about the seal that was swept out of the zoo by a river of water and was found stranded on the highway received a lot of attention.  Many of the other zoo animals – the little barnyard animals in the petting zoo – drowned.  I spent half the day in unremitting tears about this.  Unfair is not nearly a strong enough word.

It’s horrifying to be reminded how powerless we are. It’s  also probably really important to be reminded.  These extremes may be the new normal, and it’s time to be truthful about the fact that we are not remotely in control.  And perhaps the best we can do sometimes is bond together, lend a never ending supply of helping hands, and cope.

All my family and friends there are fine, though.  Thank heaven for that.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Strawberry gazpacho

June 8, 2012 § 25 Comments

So, I think I might have had more to share with you.  Some further reflections, maybe a recipe, and many many thanks for your wonderful, kind response to my post about my feast.  But it’s going to have to wait.  It will have to wait because my consciousness has been completely and irrevocably subsumed by this soup.

It’s like a secret that’s just too good.  It takes on a will of its own, growing and pushing and elbowing until it burbles out to be shared, whether or not you meant for it to be aired.  I do want to share this soup with you, and it has decided that it simply can’t wait any longer.

When we ate it for supper a while back Joel exclaimed, “this is the first soup that I can say without qualification that I love.”  Myself, I would count it among a very small handful of soups that I have truly loved.  But it is the only one of said soups that does not also contain more than my week’s allotment of cream in a single bowl.

« Read the rest of this entry »

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