Isn’t that a pretty plate of leftover veggie sides? On Sunday night, Matt and I finally hosted a game night. After months of procrastination and laziness, we invited a dozen friends over for dinner and games and we’ve been eating the remnants of the ridiculously large meal ever since. I would love to give you the recipe for the beautiful green salad at the bottom of the plate. It was the clear star, but sadly the recipe resides solely in my friend’s head. And even if she committed the recipe to paper, it wouldn’t do you any good because step one takes place two months earlier and requires that you turn your concrete parking pad into an urban farm complete with hand pollinated corn. Continue reading
We had a wonderful time in Maine last month. The weather was hit or miss with some days of sun and some days of rain, but the dreary days were far nicer than anticipated. A good excuse to bake cookies, read books, and drive forty-five minutes to the closest movie theater. (Or at least the closest theater that shows movies released in the current decade.) Rangeley is a tiny Maine town. There’s one grocery store, one bookstore, an old stone library, one K – 12 school with a dozen students per grade, a handful of restaurants, sporting good shops, and antique stores. And of course a historical society with a dresser full of local bird eggs and a logging museum full of chainsaws and old photos of bearded men wearing plaid. There’s an ice cream stand that serves Gifford’s and bags of corn kernels to feed the ducks in the pond out back. There are four churches. (Needless to say, there’s no synagogue.) Or traffic lights or chain stores. It’s a little slice of heaven. Continue reading
Wednesday was my office birthday. You know, that day when your coworkers surprise you with flowers, a card, and a box full of ridiculously awesome pastries from a local bakery? Oh, your office mates don’t do that? You should probably just submit your resignation now. Because I’m telling you, office birthdays are THE BEST and everyone deserves one. Even better than the sweets and flowers, birthdays in my office also come with a special birthday question, compliments of my boss. I knew the question was coming, so I prepared as best I could, by trying to summon up memories of birthdays past. Continue reading
I’m sure this is not the post that you expected after my rant about eating whatever the heck I want. You probably thought I would write about macaroni and cheese (again) or breaded, pan-fried chicken. I will eventually, don’t worry. But right now I have to talk to you about salad. You see, this weekend, I really wanted a salad. And when my body tells me it wants salad, I listen. I figure it’s a sign that I’m low on some essential vitamin or mineral and I need a whole bunch of green things to correct that. And sometimes I just want salad because it tastes good. Continue reading
Sometimes I have moments when I catch myself doing something that I very clearly learned from my dad. This happened on Saturday as I stood over a pile of freshly washed cilantro and dutifully plucked the leaves from the stems. This was my dad’s ritual. Every Saturday morning when we returned from the grocery store, he would immediately begin the process of cleaning his vegetables, paying extra care to the leafy greens. He would rinse them three times in ice cold water, spin them dry, remove any blemished leaves, trim the stems, and roll them up in a clean dish towel to dry. Several hours later he would remove the bundle of greens from the fridge, unfurl the towel, put the greens in a plastic produce bag, and gently press the air out of the bag to form a vacuum-like seal. Continue reading
For the first time in weeks, Matt and I are sitting quietly at home on a Saturday enjoying lunch together. I love these days, when our pace slows down and the stress melts away and we can sit cross-legged on the living room floor and happily eat our midday meal. Today we ate potato salad, full of crunchy fresh vegetables and tossed with a mustard vinaigrette.
Growing up, we ate a lot of potatoes – mashed with extra butter and chicken broth, cut paper thin and doused with Lawry’s seasoning before being oven-fried, or roasted in a cast iron skillet with olive oil and a healthy serving of salt. But everyone’s favorite potato dish was only served once a year at Chanukah time, when mom put me to work peeling potatoes over the kitchen sink. It took me over an hour, peeling potato after potato and watching the skins fall away in a long spiral into the stainless steel basin. One year, I neglected to run the disposal between potato peelings and when I finally tried to flip the switch the sink filled with murky brown and starchy water that refused to drain. Mom spent the rest of the evening plunging and fiddling under the sink. The disposal motor never worked well again. But it was worth these trials to get to the end result, golden brown and crisply fried potato latkes, salty, hot, and dangerously addictive. Whenever my mom’s dad visited, he always requested her latkes. He called them potato pancakes because he could never quite wrap his head around the Jewish words and traditions that his daughter adopted. But he loved latkes and would have been perfectly content eating nothing but latkes for the duration of his visit. Continue reading
Wednesday night we’re having dinner at our downstairs neighbors’ apartment (have I mentioned how much I love our building?) and I offered to bring dessert. I have a habit of baking chocolate desserts, partly because Matt and I are both chocoholics and partly because I have several absurdly easy and insanely delicious chocolate dessert recipes in my repertoire. And yet, I feel very strongly that summer desserts should be fruit-based; it just seems seasonally appropriate. All summer long in Maine, my mother made fruit pies with whatever berry was in season: strawberry rhubarb pie, blueberry pie, and (if we were really ambitious and went out to pick wild berries) tri-berry pie. I know mom’s pie crust recipe by heart, but I could never match a Janice pie. They are magazine cover pies and I just don’t have her magic touch or the patience to acquire it, so I am making a plum crunch instead. Continue reading