Sunday, February 10, 2013

Reconnecting with my kitchen

I love beautiful food. I never write about it here. I don't know why considering that so many of my resources (financial, emotional, cognitive, physical) go into thinking about food, shopping for it, growing it, cooking it, cleaning up after it... I often joke that cooking food is the one art form I'm capable of. I'm not one for recipes - I think it's the whole, can't follow directions thing. But I love to make things up on the fly depending on what's good and fresh in the market. Or, what I have on it's last legs in my veggie crisper.

Before Taran was born, Joe and I would take the time to make lovely food almost every night of the week. I'd pore through photos in Saveur magazine or just stroll through local markets for inspiration and I loved puttering around the kitchen for an hour or two drinking a glass of wine and listening to NPR as I concocted this or that. After T came along, this kind of event cooking usually happened only on date night and, if the rare mood or energy burst occurred, one other time during the week.
Now that I'm pregnant with number two and have a little electron to run after all day, dinners have been extremely uninspired affairs. We're talking cheese fries and box soups. Maybe a frozen tamale from Trader Joe's. At the end of one or two truly exhausting days, we've even been known to plow through a bowl of marshmallow oaties followed by a handful of spinach topped with bottled dressing and call it dinner (hey I've got my carbs, my veg, my protein from the milk.... that's a complete meal right?).
For whatever reason, this weekend I got a bit more inspired and we had numerous feasts.

Friday night: sun-dried tomato risotto topped with scallops simmered in butter and dry sherry with a sprinking of merlot sea salt.

Saturday morning: We started with toasted pumpkin cookies (more like muffins) I had made the day before, slathered with raspberry jam for starters. We then moved on to eggs scrambled with greens and jack cheese, oven roasted rosemary potatoes with homemade chipotle aioli and strawberries sprinkled with sugar and doused with cream.

Sunday morning: We used some leftover oatmeal that had been cooked up with dried fruit and brown sugar and whipped it up into almond meal pancakes served with blueberry jam and amber agave nectar. Served with savory turkey sausage and blueberries

Sunday night: I roasted up fingerling potatoes with onion and chicken thighs. I then put the chicken thighs on the stove with a sploosh of broth, several large handfuls of baby spinach, a generous spread of Israeli feta and some chopped garlic and let it all simmer down for a few minutes. Sooooo delicious.

I didn't take pictures of any of this stuff. I was too busy scarfing. But here are some things I made in the past when I had a shred more motivation to cook (I had to go all the way back to August before I could even find any food pics if that says anything):

Harvest from our garden, drizzled with unflitered california olive oil, currants, and basil

Stuffed and baked with fennel and lemon slices. Topped with sauteed mushrooms and garden tomatoes cooked with butter, white wine, and some sort of herbs. I think tarragon.

Homemade pizza with marinara, kalamatas, garden squash, fresh basil, spinach, mozzarella, and feta
The beginnings of garlick-y brown rice-turkey meatballs with greens (I think this was collards from our garden but spinach is yummy too)

new potatoes tossed with olive oil, lemon, garlic, chives, and chive flowers


  1. Sounds awesome. We spent last week in Portland eating Chinese (both Szechuan and Dim Sum), fish and chips, salmon, southern food (seriously!) And fresh Mex. Not really great for us, but a veritable conucopia of food that we cannot get where we live. Now, we're back home and ready to cook some good for us, great tasting food again. :-)

    1. I saw the cute pic that Patty took of you and Brian. Everything sounds so yummy, but I definitely relate to needing to get back to simpler food after a lot of restaurant eating. Did you all have an awesome time? Feel refreshed after a week away? I hope the answer is a resounding yes to both questions. xoxo

  2. Do Joe and the electron have good karma or what??

    1. Maybe I'm the one with good karma because I get to eat good food with these two amazing people every day. :)

    2. How could it be otherwise? I'm a link in that good karmic chain too, but as your father, my stance is predictable. I will own being proud of you. And enjoy it.