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 »

Chocolate and nutmeg tart with hazelnut crust

February 7, 2012 § 24 Comments

…Then Nutella slipped the shoe gently onto Eggnog’s foot.  It fit perfectly!  They gazed into each others’ eyes, and each knew it had found a soul mate.  And they lived happily ever after.

I mean, is there anything else you really need to know about this remarkable combination of milk chocolate, hazelnut, and nutmeg?  I don’t really think so.  Of course, that has also never stopped me from waxing poetic for at least a couple more paragraphs.

I don’t normally eat milk chocolate.  I’m a dark chocolate girl.  Switching your tastes over from milk to dark seems almost a rite of passage.  You know, paying your own rent, choosing subtle shades of eye shadow, drinking coffee, and eating dark chocolate.  They’re signs you’ve entered adulthood.  And, it’s not just because dark chocolate is healthier.  Milk chocolate is often palate-deadeningly sweet.  Just a single, uniform brushstroke of sugar across your tongue, while dark chocolate has notes of coffee, berries, caramel, wood, vanilla…

« Read the rest of this entry »

Warm custard spoon bread

December 13, 2011 § 12 Comments

Does’t that just sound like the food version of cuddling on the couch in front of a fire?  Warm custard spoon bread.  Every word there is like a friendly little squeeze.  Every word there says to me, “I am unbelievably amazingly delicious and decadent.  You should probably drop everything and make me right now.”

I don’t know why but I am an absolute sucker for foods that have the word spoon in their title.  (I am a sucker for warm, custard, and bread as well.  But, those are more standard enticements than you’d expect an eating utensil to be.)  It’s like a short hand for something being so ooey gooey, soft, and tender that you have to eat it with a spoon.  Like Nutella right from the jar.

I have been actively yearning for this dish for a year now.  At least I have whenever it has been brought to my attention.  Then, as with most other things that are actually important to me to remember (as opposed to random facts and other people’s schedules which stick in my mind with remarkable fortitude), I promptly forget about it as soon as I am not looking at the recipe.  I don’t know why this happens, but I know I’m not the only one who does this.  I’ve heard from all sorts of people that it can somehow take months or years for them to get around to making a dish that they desperately wanted to try upon seeing it.

Maybe it’s a built in mechanism to allow us the great pleasure afforded by deferred gratification.  Maybe people did experiments on us when we were little, telling us not to eat the marshmallow in front of us, and this is the strategy we developed to succeed.  Most likely we’re just scatterbrained by virtue of the way the information stimuli in our society are fed to us. « Read the rest of this entry »

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