Eating well and beautifully

I haven't the slightest idea what season it is or what season the season gods think it to be. Burning, cold, drenched, parched, hide the jackets, find them, confident blooms, meek ones. I desperately want to be able to count on temperatures north of 65. Want to be able to plant basil and tomatoes with assurances of growth. And yet.

There is, as a dear friend told me today, always room for practice. 

She told me that after I called her in tears, a tough morning having primed my ducts before she left a loving message that pulled the boy's thumb from the Netherlandish dike, and after I forced myself to pilates which was great minus the overly chatty women in the rear corner and the individual who farted stink bombs continuously throughout. 

Indeed. There is always room for practice.

For me at least, one balm for such trying times is a mealtime well spent. With friends or alone, cooking or dining out. I have told you many times that I hate wasting the opportunity granted in all of the three daily meals but especially lunch and dinner. Snacks are lovely, and I am a snacker, but a proper midday sup or after-a-long-day dine is sublime. It heals, sates, restores, and offers a new focus, even if for only a brief time.

Do you know of Molly Yeh? She writes My Name is Yeh and also has a recently-released cookbook, Molly On the Range. She has a megawatt smile, an affinity for backyard chickens, a loved one known as Egg Boy, and a real gift with marzipan. It is rare that I make her recipes and wish I hadn't doubled them. (Well, the funfetti cake was a bit much, but otherwise...).

Hers is one of the few blogs I subscribe to, and I recently received a missive about a carrot salad with feta, pistachios, and an orange blossom toss. OMG. That is so up my alley. Simultaneously, I rediscovered the recent New York Times Dining section in which David Tanis -with whom I have a real love-disappointment relationship- shared a gorgeous charred asparagus salad with chimichurri

In my opinion, both of those dishes plus some steamed new potatoes to dress in any leftover chimichurri seemed like a dreamy dinner. And so it was. 

Ribbons of freshly shaved, freshly plucked carrots. Just torn mint. Season's best asparagus. Chimichurri. Pistachios. Cardamom. I gasp at the memories (although I like my regular chimichurri recipe better). 

a beauty from my yard

a beauty from my yard

Chimichurri = THE spring sauce

Yesterday, Opower (the company T works for) went public which is such exciting, great news. A party was planned for last night, and though I scrambled to find a sitter, T ended up going alone. No problem, I stayed with the kids, made a cocktail and toasted the news from here. I'd planned to make steaks with chimichurri so did so anyway because leftover steak, sliced all nice and thin, makes for a fantastic lunchtime sandwich the next day; indeed, that's what hubs had for lunch today. But back to the chimichurri. It is a preposterously beautiful and flavorful sauce that brightens everything from steak to scrambled eggs. There are many, many variations of chimichurri, based on place of origin, application and so forth; because of that, you really don't need a recipe for chimichurri -another aspect of its appeal- as long as you have the mainstay ingredients. For me these are: cilantro; parsley; red wine vinegar; olive oil; garlic; and red pepper flakes. Cumin and coriander are great too, and of course you need a little salt. Blitz in a food processor, and voila!

I started the steaks in my Lodge and finished them in a 350° oven. They were delicious; the kids ate half of Tom's!

It's possible I made another cocktail and toasted Opower again. Salute!


Mardi Gras cauliflower, chimichurri steaks, salad from the garden

I.Am.So.Tired. Brought it on myself, I know, and am happy to have done so, but I gotta tell you that today took some effort. In any case, dinner was fab. Steaks with the chimichurri, roasted cauliflower with marconas, capers and cherries, and a gorgeous salad from our garden topped with blue cheese and tomatoes. Yum, yum, and so much more fun than the dreaded task I now face: packing. I detest packing though I hate unpacking even more, and of course, ironing trumps both for worst chore. But I have really done a hell of a job procrastinating today, and now, as my sleepy eyes beg me to let them rest, I simply must fill the suitcase and zip it shut. We leave at 5:30 tomorrow morning, so you can see why I can't wait any longer.

Did anyone see Melissa Clark's recipe for olive-Gruyere bread in today's NYT Dining section? I am making that stat!