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.
May 7, 2012 § 141 Comments
When you think about it, it’s remarkable, really, just how many opportunities we have every day to do something new. Much of the time it doesn’t feel like it. Our days follow patterns. We have baskets full of habits and well-worn ruts that we comfortably cruise along in.
And actually, a certain amount of repetition and stability in your life turns out to be really important and healthy. Which makes perfect sense. Nature is full of rhythms and patterns. We reside within them, and if completely rhythmless we feel jostled and jarred and seriously uncomfortable.
But if we don’t keep our eyes open to all the myriad of tiny dips and swerves within the patterns, it can be easy to feel trapped in some sort of mold that looks a lot like same-old-same-old.
I forget sometimes, that I’m the one making the decision to walk down the exact same street to get to the subway every time I go, when in reality, there are dozens of paths that run there. The destination is the same – rhythm – but I can switch the route up – discovery!
Same with cooking. We need to eat. Pretty darn regularly, in fact! And it’s easy to find ourselves making the same things over and over again. Of course, I’ll be the first person to sing the praises of old weeknight standbys (did somebody say spaghetti?!). They’re lifesavers. But, it’s also remarkable to me just how very many things I’ve never made before, or techniques I haven’t tried. Even with a decent number of years of cooking under my belt. « Read the rest of this entry »
September 16, 2011 § 10 Comments
I feel like I’ve been wanting to make zucchini pancakes (or fritters, I’ve seen them called both. They’re the savory small kind of pancakes, not zucchini bread-esque sweet ones) since approximately the dawn of time. Though, when I think about it a little bit more carefully, it’s more like since about mid-July.
Remember Sofra Bakery and Cafe, which I mentioned a while back? (More accurately, which I gushed over, swooned over, and nearly asked to marry me, even though Joel, I think, would have been slightly peeved if I had run off with a bakery-cafe. I, on the other hand, would have been very well fed. But perhaps starved for conversation. Anywho…) When we were there, I watched (I have a terrible staring habit sometimes) as a young woman, wearing aviator sunglasses if I remember correctly, sprang up to fetch her order when her name was called, and walked back to her seat carrying a dainty copper tray laden with a stack of slim golden cakes, flecked with green. What were they? Whatever it was, I had missed it. My eyes darted up to the menu and scanned over it again. They had to be the zucchini pancakes. I was instantly consumed by food envy.
Then I turned back to my flatbread, stuffed with cumin-spiced sausage, oranges, green olives, and yogurt sauce, and I was pretty much entirely happy again. But, zucchini pancakes stayed on my mind.
September 5, 2011 § 8 Comments
This is going to be another short one as it’s been a long full weekend and I’m pretty beat. We spent the last couple of days exploring Portland, Maine with friends. It was wonderfully fun, with an abundance of walking, chatting, laughing, and eating.
At home now, I’ve spent the evening avoiding the work I need to get done for tomorrow morning by watching the sparrows. They’re diving and swooping and snatching bugs right in an easy line of sight. When swallows are flying low like that, it means that a storm is coming, or so they say.
August 18, 2011 § 24 Comments
Did you know that eggplants kick their blossoms off if they don’t get fertilized? Just kick them off! Like a bouncer unceremoniously tossing an unruly guest, by the collar, out into the back alley. “And stay out!” I know this now, after a bit of internet gardening-forum perusing, gasping, re-searching, and confirming.
As you may well have imagined, I developed a sudden, keenly focused, interest in the subject after I kept finding the blossoms of our eggplant lying scattered about on the porch below it, completely open and intact, un-chewed upon, as if they had been strewn by an industrious flower girl. I had missed the wedding though.
At first I suspected birds or insects. I imagined little beetles and ants popping the blossoms off and tossing them to the ground, laughing and egging each other on. Like the insect version of cow tipping. Until, finally, one day it happened right in front of my eyes. One moment the blossom was on the plant, and the next it just fell off. As if the eggplant simply didn’t want it anymore and was cutting it off, disowning it, which, I guess, in a sense, is what was happening.
August 9, 2011 § 8 Comments
We drove to Washington D.C. and back last weekend. We weren’t even there for the weekend, really. We left at 6am on Friday to attend a wedding that evening (which was really lovely, but also set in a stately, picturesque, and totally un-airconditioned – read 105 degree – church, and the ceremony was not a short one.).
We danced into the night and had the requisite midnight snack of soggy, greasy pizza in slices the sizes of our head (does that happen to you too? I always find I’m starving by the time a wedding is over because I’ve been dancing the last 3-4 hours since dinner), went to sleep, and then dragged ourselves out of bed at 6:30 the next morning again to drive back up to Boston.
We listened to far too much news on the radio, which always winds up making me upset and dour about the state of the world. And we listened to Paul Simon, which made me feel better. And we just generally spent way more time in a car than one should reasonably spend over the course of two days.
The full throttle approach to the road trip was my fault. You see, I had decided that since we were going to be driving through an area ever so vaguely in the general proximity of Brooklyn, we needed to make sure that that happened before 2pm on Saturday because I was going to go to Smorgasburg, come hell or high water.
August 2, 2011 § 13 Comments
Oh, hello! Are you there? Because I’m not. Ok, technically I am physically here. But my mind appears to have vacated the premises. Half of it is scurrying nervously around, dusting off specific aims and trying to make sure its hypotheses match (sort of like socks, those hypotheses, in fact, I think my dryer might have eaten one of them). The other half has up and taken off for the Mediterranean. It seems to be hanging out on terrazza somewhere along the coast between Nice and Portofino.
Obviously the latter half is much cleverer, and knows what’s up. It watches the busy, blustering academic part with a shrug of ‘who knows what that’s about,’ and pours itself a glass of wine while sighing contentedly, “ah, la vita really es bella, isn’t it?”
July 29, 2011 § 6 Comments
We were just talking about drinking, so I figured it was time to move on to smoking, right? (And then we can talk about the really interesting vices…joke.) There’s only one type of smoking I can get behind, and that is the smoking of meats. Fish in particular. I don’t know how to do it myself, and therefore I choose to picture it as an esoteric mystical practice, kind of like a druidic rite, in which slippery pieces of fresh fish are enveloped in wafting clouds of smoke, amidst some hand waving and muttered incantation, and then they come out rich and flakey and salty and as delicious as candy (if candy were rich and flakey and salty, which, perhaps, more of it ought to be).
I have met a man who owns a shop that sells smoked meat and fish, I’ll call him ‘Eric the smoker’, and he makes the most unbelievable smoked salmon and whitefish. It’s pretty hard to believe anything that good could be legal. (His pate is in a class of its own as well. Mine is not bad, though.) At his shop they also sell posters with heavy woodblock prints and funny slogans. My favorite is “Fish: The healthy smoke.” (My other favorite is “Cheese: the adult form of milk.” I own both.)
Admittedly, some nutritionists may argue that smoked food is not good for you. Smoking meat can produce some carcinogens that you then ingest. But, allow me to go on a little scientific
rampage tangent, and just point out that these carcinogens have only been shown to be carcinogenic in lab animals. Now, if a chemical that you apply to skin or something of that sort is carcinogenic in lab animals, we should take it seriously. And, we should take it seriously for food too, but with a caveat. You see, these carcinogens are produced by the cooking process, and humans are the only animals that naturally eat their food cooked. Growing evidence points to the possibility that we’ve been doing so for a loooooooong time. In fact, it may be what allowed us to evolve into humans!
July 23, 2011 § 9 Comments
I’m afraid I don’t really know what to say right now. I’m in shock. Still in shock and disbelief over the unspeakable tragedy yesterday in Norway.
My parents and brother are there right now visiting the rest of our family. I got a call to say they were alright even before I saw the news. I was relieved, but also had the wind knocked out of me by the horror. I spent the rest of the day checking the Norwegian news for updates. And intermittently bursting into tears.
July 18, 2011 § 12 Comments
Some magical things are going on amidst the pots of vegetables on our porch. One of our tomatoes turned red. Suddenly. One day everything was green, and then the next there was a startling splash of red beaming at us from under a leaf! It looked like something out of a fairytale, as striking as a single red rose on a bush.
And the eggplant is suddenly dangling with tiny eggplants, like charms swinging from a bracelet. I keep feeling like the plants should give some sort of proud cluck, like a laying hen, before they sprout a fruit seemingly out of nowhere.
But, instead it happens stealthily, in the night.