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.
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).
It’s been a warm week here, almost spring-like. Whenever I think of spring I always want easy, light, fruit-based desserts. I imagine myself on a porch somewhere in the south of France (a place I’ve never been, but bear with me), hanging crisp white linen on a line and reaching up to pluck a perfect little lemon from my lemon tree. I examine it, smile a secret smile to myself, and then drop it gently into my apron pocket, as a warm breeze floats through the backyard carrying the scent of lavender. Then Johnny Depp sneaks up behind me, enveloping me in his manly embrace. Then I, um, bake a tart. WIth Johnny. Let’s move on.
Life has taken such a monumental turn for me these past few months. I have seen another continent and moved out of my hometown. I am currently unemployed and get to spend my days cooking, reading, walking, and googling cats on the internet. Life is beautiful.
So let me just make it clear that when I say I miss Ann Arbor, I don’t mean I’m unhappy here. Quite the opposite. There are, of course, plenty of things that are different enough to notice and take issue with, like the traffic (oh, the traffic). Suffice it to say I’ve been honked at and wanted to honk back more times in the past month than I ever have in my life. But let’s not talk about the traffic. It’s not like I miss Ann Arbor’s traffic.