Has it been a week? King Cake, pasta, salad, Nutmeg

It has just occurred to me that I've not slept through the night since January 19, and even then, I was tired. Politics, the March, our kitchen, Nutmeg, various ailments racing through our house and community...I am so tired that today I watched a hilarious skit featuring Seth Meyers (SNL, The Late Show, and a former college-mate of mine) and Kelly Clarkson day-drinking and immediately wondered if I was drunk without my own knowledge.

I am that tired.

So, I have little for you except some recent kitchen wins and a kitchen update and an enormous spot of gratitude for hot tea and the fact that my in-laws have the boys tonight. Praise whomever for local grandparents being a fact of my life.

It's Mardi Gras season, y'all, and so, King Cake. This one was for Jack's family culture evening at school. Although we will have no kitchen starting Tuesday, I have promised cakes for both boys' classes on Mardi Gras Day. Hmm. As usual, I use Southern Living's Traditional King Cake recipe but I do NOT add the lemon juice to the icing. 


Last night: pasta with Brussels sprouts, speck, and parm. Amen for good carbs on cold nights. Also, it has a distinctly Mardi Gras feel, which I love. 


Lastly, a gorgeous winter salad of shaved fennel, avocado, pomelo, roasted and salted pistachios, shaved manchego, salt, pepper, basil olive oil, and blackberry balsamic. Is this not just glorious? It tasted as good!


The Nut acts as if he were never injured, and mercifully, our kitchen renovation finally commences on Tuesday with demolition day 1. If I could take the first swipe at it all, I would. Maybe I'll ask. I mean, this stupid Nunes memo nonsense has made my blood boil, so perhaps the crew wants a lady eager to crank through some cortisol via sledge hammer?!

Our new range -a stunning charcoal gray beauty from Lacanche via France- arrived last Monday. I have nicknamed her Gal Gadot because she is not only stunning but also strong and charismatic. She will anchor our new kitchen, but many other beautiful treasures will complete the room. I'll keep you posted, but here's a sneak peek of Gal. 

As an aside, why is not all language written in the beautiful scripts of Europe? Just look at those handwritten letters and numbers on the crate. Mon dieu. 

Delicious meal for a chilly night


Everything about last night's dinner felt cozy and good: rosemary-rubbed salmon, roasted until just done; the piquillo-pimenton potatoes I'm still working to perfect; and a beautiful winter salad of minneola tangerine, butter lettuce, shaved fennel, candied pecans, blue cheese and a champagne-honey vinaigrette.


Caramelized fennel, leek and orange; the farro again; jury duty

Friends, I do not want to go to jury duty tomorrow. I simply don't. I love to vote, am committed to community involvement and so forth and so on, but jury duty does not float my boat. In the least. Ah well. I did a great deal of cooking today which was a lovely way to spend much of Monday: smothered okra for lunch; caramelized fennel, leek and orange; the fab farro salad again... I also seem to have the dessert-craving tapeworm again so sprung for a jelly-filled, powdered-sugar-dusted beignet at Whole Foods, the best of their bakery goods (in the context of those that are good because many are not). It was, as always, fantastic.


Nanny and Mom often made smothered okra when I was growing up. I am an enormous, enthusiastic fan of okra except in gumbo where I truly believe it has no place. #honesty

Anyway, smothered okra is one of those crazy-simple, crazy-good comforting home foods that makes me happy. I hadn't thought about it in ages, but when I took the boys to Louisiana in August, Mom had just made a huge batch with a bushel of Louisiana longhorn okra some friends had grown and given her. I swear I ate 90% of the batch and have been craving more ever since.

Today at the market, I saw some decent okra. At $6 a pound I didn't get more than would feed me, but it made such a sublime lunch. I sat in silence, on a stool at my counter, breathing in the scent of long- and slowly-cooked okra in bacon fat. I wondered why on earth I gave up bacon for so long. I marveled anew at how good something with two ingredients -three if you count salt- can be. And I thought of home.