December 29, 2012 § 30 Comments
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.
December 9, 2011 § 19 Comments
It’s the quality of the light at this time of year, more than just the quantity. There’s something about it. Do you know what I mean? It seeps into my pores, follows me around, tints my day in a very particular way that I can’t quite describe.
When there’s snow on the ground the sun is so amplified during its brief daily visit that you don’t necessarily notice. But, when the ground is brown, littered with twigs and oak leaves, you can feel that the light is almost timid. It sneaks up above the horizon, peaking about with a muted – sometimes pallid – glow. You can tell as soon as it comes up that it’s already contemplating its journey back down, leaving us in darkness again.
I feel as though I barely get my day going and then I’m looking up and it is rapidly becoming dark outside. And, try as I might, even though it may only be 3:30 or 4:00, I can’t really concentrate on getting any more work done.
If I’m working from home, when it gets dark it means it is immediately time to initiate that day’s Cozy Winter Evening, something I feel is essential if one wishes to keep from being overcome by dreariness. For me this involves turning on a couple of our lights that cast a very warm yellow glow, lighting candles is good too, turning on some cheesy music (this is key), and taking a moment to briefly contemplate the tiny Christmas tree that we decorated and now have perched on the dining room table. « Read the rest of this entry »
June 28, 2011 § 7 Comments
Having lots of pots of herbs growing on our little balcony has allowed me to develop another brand new obsession. Salsa verde. I’m telling you people, this stuff is magical.
Imagine someone walking out to a lushly growing herb garden and snipping a bountiful spray of fresh herbs from each patch. Then, grinding them all together into an emerald green paste, with some garlic, capers, and anchovies because, you know, why not?!
The result is a massive wave that breaks over your taste buds in a spray of woodsy, grassy, briny, garlicky flavor. I’ve been racking my brain, and I don’t think I can think of anything else I’ve had in quite a while that packs so much beautifully blended and balanced flavor into even a tiny bite.
I discovered salsa verde when making a riff off of the summer squash gratin from Sunday Suppers at Lucques, by Suzanne Goin. My mother and I cooked it up while I was at home, with a few tweaks and the addition of a hefty amount of extremely good Italian sausage. It was seriously delicious (though it had too much bread-crumb action sprinkled throughout for my taste).
June 1, 2011 § 41 Comments
Mushroom-falafel! (Yes, the exclamation point is necessary there.) It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, I’ll admit. But, what was I supposed to call it? Mushlafel? Falafshroom? See? Those are even worse sounding. But, like the kid with the weird name who is so awesome that by the end of the year all the other kids also want to be named Kermit too, this mushroom-falafel is so fabulous it straight-up owns its name.
I’m a little embarrassed that I get as excited as I do when I make something really good. But, I do. I get quite delighted with myself, in fact, and can’t wait to share how delicious said really good thing is. This dish definitely falls into that category.
It started with a falafel craving.
One of the most unfortunate things about having discovered an intolerance to a sprouting inhibitor enzyme (besides not being able to eat almonds, but I’ll save that complaint for another day) is that I no longer eat falafel because of the chickpeas. It’s a huge loss because I used to practically live off of falafel. I was obsessed with the stuff.
March 26, 2010 § 6 Comments
I’ve been having an long-running debate with myself about whether it’s ever worth it to go buy a bunch of parsley. I’m not really a parsley girl to begin with (cilantro is another story – I’m fanatical!). Then, so many recipes that call for parsley call for at most a couple of Tablespoons in the recipe and as a garnish. And then you have this big bunch of parsley leftover, standing in a jar of water, getting more and more wilted in spite of your best efforts to garnish everything in site, until finally it’s so bedraggled looking you have to sacrifice it to the trash/compost (sadly this even happens frequently with leftover cilantro as well). And I HATE wasting food. So what’s the point? I can make do without garnishes. I could cheat and use a bit of dried parsley in dishes that call for the fresh stuff. Maybe I should just cut fresh parsley out of my life all together. Would that make me a poor excuse for a cook?
Well, a winner has suddenly been declared in this internal debate. And, exactly on the opposite side of the one towards which I have been leaning for a long time. Never again will extra parsley go to waste! Indeed, I may start buying it in extra quantities. Oh yes! It’s true. I have contrived to put parsley to use in a delicious and unexpected way that has completely changed my opinion of the stuff: herb jam. Yes, it sounds totally weird. But it tastes totally phenomenal! Salty, earthy, a little smokey, a little bright and acidic, and only very slightly green. So good, it may be my new favorite snack, and appetizer, and sandwich spread, and…you get the idea. « Read the rest of this entry »