Good morning, dear readership (I love using that word!). I’m up early working on a gougère recipe to bring to an Oscar party tonight (torn between beer & gruyere and paprika & parmesan, so I’m making them both!). These are the decisions that plague my life these days. Believe me, I know how lucky I am. I watch Ryan study for hours every day and think, that’s gonna be me in a few months. I found out I was accepted to grad school (a totally unbelievable thing) and I’ll start in the fall. So, my life will change again. I’m very excited, and also, you know, scared.
I’ll say it—I avoided this post because frankly, while I enjoy the tradition of eating chili on Superbowl Sunday every year, there were just too many recipes floating around out there for little old me to throw my hat into the ring. Also, I didn’t make it until the day of the ‘Bowl, so it wouldn’t have gotten posted until the day after…and if you are anything like me, you were pretty chili’d out by then.
This recipe, though, is worth resurrecting now, as we near the end of a pretty weird February. As I write this, it is 50 degrees and raining out. Where I come from, we call that June. My seasonal eating habits do not know what to make of this. But whatever the weather, this dish will make you feel like you are somewhere warm and cozy. It is the kind of meal to make on a Sunday, when you want a big meal to eat early, and leftovers to last you throughout the week.
It’s a simple thing, sometimes, to be reminded of your hometown. We’re all susceptible to those waves of nostalgia: your favorite local band comes up on your iPod, the light angles in through the windows just so, and suddenly you’re closing your eyes and being transported, imagining the smell of fresh cherries on a summer day by the side of the Blue Star Highway. For me, food almost always does this, which is probably why I love making and eating it so much. There are so many senses to be engaged, and so much opportunity for reflection and joy.
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Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of the whole table, or the appetizer, or the wine, or….the people enjoying the food! Rest assured, however, that those things did exist and were lovely. I would have loved some champagne to have made it into the mix, but alas, we cannot have every single little thing …
Not that this is news to anyone, but it’s Valentine’s Day. I’ve always celebrated it in some fashion, despite my cynicism surrounding hyped-up over commercialized weekdays (it is, after all, just another day). But the truth is, it’s not the worst one of the bunch. Sure, all the red and pink doilies and hearts can make you feel a bit sick to your stomach, and if you don’t have a sweetheart, you might feel a bit left out of the celebration and forced into one of two categories: those who are single and celebrate anyway in defiance by eating chocolate, and those who eschew the romantic contextualization completely and celebrate making it through another Tuesday…by eating chocolate. It’s too bad that our culture demands that anyone choose sides on a holiday, which is supposed to be for everyone and not, as Bridget Jones puts it, just for the “smug marrieds.” But it is, after all, at its heart (pun intended), a holiday that values love and chocolate, which are pretty universal smilemakers, and happen to be two of my personal favorite things. And this year, I have a pretty good reason to celebrate.
Not much to say at this point, except it’s sad when anyone dies suddenly, especially when they have made some kind of impact on your life. Death can’t take her voice from us, luckily, or our memories of slow skating to “I Will Always Love You.” I remember watching the above video when I would ride the bus home from high school and sneak a few minutes in front of MTV. I can also honestly say that I tried my hardest to dress like her through college (that leather trenchcoat! that hair!). While in all honesty I certainly am not the world’s biggest Whitney Houston fan, I sure am a fan of music, and she recorded some great songs.
Lately I’ve been trying new things in the kitchen. One of the best things about having this blog is how much it forces me to get creative. I’m constantly inspired by all the amazing recipes other bloggers post, and having a blast looking back over family recipes and recreating them. But this, while incredibly stimulating and fun, doesn’t actually fit my normal eating and cooking habits. For example, when I am just cooking for myself, I probably eat the same thing for dinner three nights in a row, just to use up the leftovers. Incidentally, I have been thinking about adding a link at the end of each recipe called “Leftover Ideas”, as I always end up having to buy a lot more than what I actually need for a recipe. Because seriously, what do you do with that jar of specialty spice paste that you used exactly one teaspoon of? I’d probably just use it up over the course of a few weeks in a few different recipes, but how many recipes can you blog about using the same ingredient over and over? Musing, musing. What do you other bloggers do?
Anyway, on to today’s recipe. I made this for dinner the other night and it was a hit. I was inspired by a specialty ingredient I discovered recently, and now own a giant package of that will probably sit in my fridge for weeks. First. World. Problems.
Have veggies that are going a bit soft? Got half an hour? Want a meal that packs a ton of nutrition and flavor into every creamy (or chunky, or brothy…) mouthful? Do you like to make that slurpy noise every time you take a bite? It Ain’t. Even. A Question.
You know that phrase, “easy as pie?” Anyone who has ever tried to make piecrust from scratch knows that phrase is a bunch of malarkey. I’d like to submit a revision: easy as soup.
No recipe today, but instead a little reminiscing….
Today in history, February 7, 1964, the Beatles arrived at JFK airport and inaugurated the most documented obsessed fan freakout that has spanned decades, generations, and oceans. My own father was a music writer at the time and, though he would argue you into the ground that The Beach Boys far outranked The Beatles in depth, style, and talent, was so inspired by the fan response that he decided to engage in a response of his own.
It was a quiet weekend around these parts, with much baking and experimenting in the kitchen by yours truly. We actually went out twice but somehow still found time to nest. There was talk with some good friends over some delicious Pad See Ewe on Friday night about having a “Pho Night,” and you better believe that will get documented here! And yes, I did make chili last night…because even if I don’t know what the flip is happening on the field, I can still enjoy the down-home American Superbowl tradition of staring blankly at the TV over a big bowl of homemade chili and beans. I even topped it with bacon (find the chili recipe here).