Thursday, February 25, 2010

All I Need...

…is love, love… and food. My son is having a love affair of epic proportions. In case you forgot, he is four. Well, very soon to be five. Tristan has always been social. He loves people, but he has never had one special friend. All that has changed now, now there is Lucy.

So she came over after school for a play date the other day. All morning my sweet little boy was like an insane wind up doll, totally unable to contain his joy. While, a bit taxing, it was so sweet.

Knowing Lucy would be coming for lunch I had great intentions of knocking her socks off. I planned to make a three cheese macaroni that would make her weep. However, as is so often the case in my life, it just never happened. I felt bad that all I served up was a pitiful PB&J, on store bought bread no less. I will get Tristan therapy to resolve the shame I am sure he felt. She, being the very gracious guest, made no hint of, what I am sure, was her horror. She pretended quite well to enjoy it and even cracked a smile or two while eating. I snapped this picture while they ate. Later, when I was uploading the pictures into my computer I realized something, something I haven’t’ quite been able to articulate until now. However, when I looked at those three sweet souls all giggles and joy my thoughts finally came full circle for me.

I love food. I do. However, as a “foodie” I don’t quite fit in the larger community. I read fellow bloggers blogs and they talk about “flavor profiles’ and “upper notes” and such. That is lost on this girl. I have said it before, and I will say it again, at the end of the day, for me, it is a simple “good” or “bad.” I often thought, “How can I say I love food. What is a top note? I clearly don’t, and furthermore have NO desire to analyze food in such a way.“ These thoughts make me doubt myself. Then I will read a blog and blogger will make a comment like, “ I only purchase shade grown coffee, picked on the first Tuesday after the last Spring rain. I find it is the only coffee that I find palatable anymore.” I read something like this and feel a mix of slight shame and frustration. Shame because, I think, “what I am doing? I can’t blog about food, CLEARLY I have no idea what I am doing.” The frustration, I have never been able to figure out, until now.

Here is what I figured out…I am not a food critic. I am a food lover. What I love about food, is the shared experience. I think that is what leaves me frustrated with so many blogs/ food reviews. Food has become a way to elevate ourselves, to set ourselves apart from the uneducated, the uncultured, the “have not’s” We are beginning to lose the truest value (outside of sustenance) of food in the foodie community and that is that food, is the ultimate community builder. Food is a very concrete and tactile way to explore other cultures. It is the first toe we often dip in into the other world of people, and often the first glimmers of respect and awe we begin to feel for their traditions. It brings us together in joy and, celebration. It is how we extend ourselves to others in their grief. Food is the great community builder.

I think often, we forget. We forget, as we pull out the Pouilly-Fume, aged gouda and French baguettes, that there are millions… right at this moment… that have nothing to eat. Nothing. We forget that our neighbor just lost her best friend 6 months ago and that maybe asking her over for dinner, even if it is just frozen ravioli and jar sauce (gasp, horror) would be the best meal she had in months because she would not be so lonely. We forget to be thankful. We forget to share the joy. We forget. We forget that food, restaurants, wine, it is all meant to bring us together, not pull us apart. And this sense of shared experience starts, likely at birth, but certainly by four.

So, I guess I am a food blogger after all. As is so often in my life, it took a four year old to remind me of what my 36 year old brain forgot. Thanks Lucy. You are the best future daughter-in-law I could ask for!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kale Soup

I made this yesterday for lunch. I was having competing desires for a warm meal and something leafy and bright. This was my odd compromise. It hit the spot though and hubby loved it that night. Today I pulled it out. It is a gloomy day with snow threatening us again. I am a great lover of snow, but just this weekend it was brilliant and beautiful and I started on yard work and mentally made the leap to spring. Sigh. So with the new gloom in the air I had this for lunch but added a dollop of greek yogurt. Double yum. Plus, it is low cal, fast and cheap. Trifecta!

½ onion sliced
½ bag chopped kale (or about 3 cups??)
2 cartons of beef stock (could used veggie, chicken, or broth if you prefer)
1 can chick peas
2 tbs sweet curry
1 tbs olive oil.

Heat olive oil, sauté the onions until soft. Add stock, kale and chickpeas and bring to simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Add curry and any salt you want. Viola!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Pork Loin Stuffed with Clementine’s

I have two topics today. The first, dinner the second wine. Actually, on second thought, maybe I will start with the second and go to the first. I find it is always best to start with some good wine!

A while back my dad was given a bottle of Rendition Petit Syrah. He had forgotten who had given him the bottle and spent ages tracking down where he could by it. It was an outstanding bottle. Lucky for all involved he finally found it and it was a Trader Joel wine. Even better is was under $10 a bottle. Hooo-rahh. The other day I went to stock up, and they were out of the Petit Syrah, they did however, have a Zinfandel, so I decided to try it. It was amazing. So go give it a try!

Now on to dinner. Also at Trader Joes where clementine’s. I was very happy because I love clementine’s. I mean, love…love. However, this year they all looked either shriveled or green (I mean really a GREEN orange…need I say more??) so I have not had any. The ones at Trader Joes looked great and were pretty cheap. So I tried them. They were that perfect tart sweetness I love. This lead me to tonight’s dish. It came out really well, with complimentary moans and professions of love from my husband. I made both tenderloins in the package, if you are making one, half the recipe.

Cut the filets in half about ¾ through and open, then gently pound (how is that for an oxymoron!!) the meat out. Salt pepper and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400.


5 Clementine’s pealed, sectioned and white membrane removed.
2 sprigs of rosemary finely chopped
Zest of 1 Clementine
¼ of walnuts chopped
¼ c. goat cheese
1 TBS Dijon
1 TBS soy sauce

Mix spread down the center of filet, and bring meat around and tie to form roll. Place in baking dish.


3 TBS orange olive oil (if you don’t have use olive oil and add 1 tsp zest)
Juice of one Clementine
3 TBS soy

Mix and pour over filets. Cook for 30 minutes.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ludicrous Lamb!

The dinner party went well. I did not snap as many pictures as I intended or should have. I really only can offer the view of the table while setting up and the cheese plate. Sigh. Best of intentions, down the drain. Such is my life! Oh well. Here are the few I have.

Now onto one of the best lamb dishes I have ever made I must say. I think this would be great in a crock pot to.

Leg of lamb

4-6 small or half cloves of garlic
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 large can petite diced tomatoes

Cut slits in lamb and put garlic cloves down in, salt and pepper lamb well. Put in a covered dish ( I used s turkey roasting pan with lid) pour both cans of tomato with the liquid over. Cook at 250 pretty much all flipping day. I cooked mine for about 7 hours.

It ends up coming out like pulled pork. Tender, all shreddy (I know that is not exactly a word). I then fished the diced tomatoes, and a ladle or the crushed from the bottom of the pan. I put it in my food processor and gave it a quick pulse or two with about a teaspoon of oregano. I didn’t processes it too much because I wanted it thick and chunky. Ladle over meat and eat.

No pictures of this either. It was gone too quickly!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Patrick Henry Dinner Tonight

A while back, Patrick Henry had an auction to benefit the school. I donated a dinner for four. They picked tonight for the dinner. As of yesterday, they said, weather be damned, they were still coming. Brave souls!! I will make sure to have the bourbon ready to warm them. They wanted to do a slow night with multiple courses, which, for me, makes it super easy. For all the things I manage to pull off in the kitchen, timing is something that I am not great at… it stresses me out. So slow courses makes it nice for me, plus it is really such a nice way to have a meal I think.

So here is the menu, too late to change it now, but tell me what you think.

Assorted cheeses - Mountain View Local Marmac, Artequeso Manchase, Le Roule

The above will be set out in the living room, I will serve cocktails and let them settle into the evening. Then, after a bit, I will have them go to the dinning room where the following will come in courses.

Smoked Salmon Boat- Smoked salmon with lemon infused cream fraiche, topped with a sprig of dill in an endive leaf boat.

Beef Consommé Laced with Sherry- topped with shaved parmesan and cracked pepper.

Beet Salad- Beets mixed with argugula and goat cheese

Spinach, Pine Nut, and Feta Pasta - spinach wilted with garlic, and crumbled feta. Topped with lemon zest and toasted pine nuts.

Cardamom Pound Cake- Topped with maple whipped cream and caramelized apples and toasted walnuts.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Over The Top

I was honored by fellow blogger and friend extraordinaire Swestie over at . I am lucky to not only know and love Sallie through the blog-o-sphere, but she is a neighbor and friend. I know! How lucky am I??

In order to receive this award, I must answer the following questions with one word answers and then pass the award on to 5 other bloggers whom I believe are also "Over the Top!" (They will then repeat.) Here goes:

Your Cell Phone? Old (5 years…really)
Your Hair? short
Your Mother? kind
Your Father? grumpy
Your Favorite Food? cheese
Your Dream Last Night? bizarre
Your Favorite Drink? wine
Your Dream/Goal? joy
What Room Are You In? living room
Your Hobby? Blogging (duh)
Your Fear? Loss
Where Do You See Yourself In Six Years? successful
Where Were You Last Night? Home
Something That You Aren't? perfect (sigh)
Muffins? Meh?
Wish List Item? Dunno? Nothing?
Where Did You Grow Up? Richmond
Last Thing You Did? breakfast
What Are You Wearing? jeans
Your TV? on
Your Pets? none
Friends? Awesome!
Your Life? Great!
Your Mood? Excited?
Missing Someone? Always
Vehicle? VW
Something You Aren't Wearing? Makeup
Your Favorite Store? Anthropologie
Your Favorite Color? aqua
When Was The Last Time You Laughed? Too long
Last Time You Cried? Too long
Your Best Friend? hubby
One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? Kroger?
Facebook? rarely
Favorite Place To Eat? Bistro 27

So I am passing this on to the few people that have stuck by me during my blog hiatus. Thanks guys! Not only is she charming, and warm, and someone I really hope to meet face to face, her food is amazing. chris has been every ready with a funny quip to my rare posts and for thant I am thankful. Plus, this man is a serious grill hound and, if you are not already, will make you long for summer. Donna, is truly the blogger I hope to be when I grow up. She is funny and warm and is always honoring her fellow bloggers. Plus her food ain’t too shabby either!! Darling and infectious. Really, a girl you will want to spend time reading and could totally see myself hanging out with. , so besides the scrumptious peanut butter cake that greats you at the top of the page… when feeling glum about our cold weather, I always feel a tad better when I see flashing on her page, the temperature in Wasilla. How could such cold weather produce such a warm person?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cheese Sublimation

I am a little bit back logged as this is a sandwich I made after my last post. It was lunch time, and I was blue. Too early for cocktails, so cheese had to do. However, I had no tomato soup, and I love that creamy bit of tart with my grilled cheese. So I decided to experiment. I put sharp cheddar and creamy tart goats cheese together. The pictures are terrible, my camera somehow got on some odd setting (likely because I had been stupidly toting it about in my purse) and hubby was not around to rescue me from my camera ignorance…so I had to make due.

I have to say, I the goat cheese adds an extra sharpness that I loved. I still missed my soup though!!