oh, spring

All week, you have been fascinating me with your comments on the giveaway post (where there's still time to enter!), as you've shared who inspires you to cook and/or some teachable kitchen moments you've experienced. With the inspiration answers especially, I find myself mentally nodding my head with you, because it's so true that I get pulled towards cooking via a myriad of sources---my family, other food bloggers, magazines, commercials, TV, something random someone says in the middle of the afternoon. And I think all these things are good to think about, especially so we can remember them on those days when we're not so eager to cook. But the inspiration for today's recipes is something I hadn't really thought about before, something that several of you said strikes you the same way: this beautiful time of year we call spring. Oh, spring. I have been marveling at spring this year: the buds on branches, the evening thunderstorms, the colorful flowers everywhere you turn. … [Read more...]

housekeeping

Picture 1

Well, I hope I'm not jinxing things by saying so, but that last post seems to have worked: it's looking and feeling more like spring every day! Today I drove with the windows down! Tonight as I'm typing, the birds are chirping! I've been hearing about Passover seders on Twitter and from friends, Easter is on Sunday, it's practically April, after all! So in the spirit of welcoming (i.e., wishing, hoping, begging, pleading) for this new season that has. to. come. eventually, it's time for a little spring cleaning. These are things I've been meaning to tell you, wanting to tell you or just plain am going to tell you. Settle in for a long post, cause that's what we've got (with lots of pictures!). … [Read more...]

always, with lemon (roasted cauliflower)

While it’s true I’m easily persuaded about most things, whether it’s trying cookies without flour, taking trips to new places or realizing I’d been wrong all along about that crazy thing called meatloaf, you could still say there are a few fixed aspects of my nature, ones I don’t expect I’ll ever shake. It’s hard to imagine a me that didn't love the sky, for example, who didn't stare at the clouds or gasp at a golden sunset. Would I still be myself if I didn't notice the seasons change? I love the way my dad chuckles when he knows he's wrong, the way my mom only shows her full grin when she's laughing hard, how my younger brother is a better driver, planner and cook than I am. And really, I'll always move towards relationships without pretense. That's just who I am. Since they say a person is defined by what she really loves, you might as well also know, in that case, that I like fall leaves and fresh fruit and people who sacrifice without expecting anything in return. I … [Read more...]

what is simple and complex and real

One thing you can say for green beans: they make sense. When you take a big bag of them out of your second CSA box, for example, confusion is not what assaults you (unless it's curiosity over which of the many good, good ways to make them you will choose). That's more than I can say for a lot of things, and I mean even beyond turnips or Swiss chard or bok choy. Like relationships---is there anything more wonderful, painful, easy, hard and just plain confusing than knowing another human being? In my life, I’ve sat across the dinner table from someone, recently, and heard myself sing-song-ing surface things like, Oh, you know, I’m just keeping busy with work, I like to bake, and nodding while they say, Yeah, here is what I do for a living and here is where I live and gee, it was great seeing you, let’s do it again sometime, while we both walk away with our pasted smiles, saying, call me later!, hoping we won’t, interacting on a shallow level when we both want deep (I mean, I want … [Read more...]

we’ll start somewhere

The smell of parsley makes me think of Passover, and the Seders we had at our house, all through my growing up years, with different friends each time, when my mom would make a big meal that everyone would rave about. On those nights, we'd dip sprigs of parsley in salt water---the parsley symbolizing spring and the newness of life, the salt water reminding us of the tears of Israel while they were in Egypt, before God parted the Red Sea and brought them out of captivity. Until last night, that was the only place I've ever eaten parsley on its own. I've had it in things---like Thanksgiving stuffing, where it reduces from leafy stalks to bending, fragrant herbs on the stove, drenched in butter and sauted with onions. I know bits of it---dried or fresh---go into all kinds of marinades and rubs, and I know it's very inexpensive to buy at the store (I want to say it was $0.99 for a bundle in November Wisconsin, which, when you think about it, is kind of amazing). But when I saw the … [Read more...]

never need to go back

When you tell people you spent your freshman year---and only your freshman year---in Florida, at a small school in Clearwater just a quick drive from white, sandy beaches and surrounded by year-long sunshine, the most typical response is confusion, especially when they find out you later transferred to the northern woods of Wisconsin, just a half hour from the U.P. What can I say? The truth is, Florida and I never quite hit it off: first, there was the intense heat when I arrived in August, with humidity that made my hair frizz any time I stepped out the door. Then there were the bed bugs, the failed French test, the homesickness and the time I passed out, trying to give blood. Mostly, there was Christmastime, and while I loved the beach on spring break in high school, it was an entirely different thing in December, when white twinkling lights and waving Santas dotted yards of palm trees and colorful flowers, and we still didn't need coats. One thing I will say for Florida … [Read more...]

take it with you

At the end of some weeks, what you really need is a pretty pink drink, you know? It's not that this past one hasn't been good---filled with kind people, strangers who felt like friends, unexpected work and unexpected rest---it has. In fact, like I could tell you about most of my life, it's been filled with grace---that which I don't deserve but which finds me, when I need it, when my strength is not enough, sent in the form of family who comes when you need them, people who pray, phone calls with old friends and, candied sweet potatoes from Boston Market late at night. But it's also been a little harder than I'd expected say, Monday afternoon, when I'd jotted down my to-do list of tasks for the night, none of which would end up being accomplished. So, just between us, I'm glad it's Friday again, I'm glad I've cleared my schedule for tomorrow and, you know, I'm glad I have something pretty and pink to hold in my hand. This simple spritzer is a blend of pomegranate and lemon … [Read more...]