My day

Readers, today was lovely. Has been lovely. As it stands, my dear hubs is opening a 5 putt Tokai for a celebratory nightcap. Years ago when we lived in Amsterdam, we traveled through Eastern Europe and had a hell of a time in Budapest. If ever you go, please, please dine at Cafe Pierrot if it's still open. Up on a hill, beautifully appointed, we ate at it two days in a row, and then our dear friends dined there a couple years later with similarly rave reviews. When we discovered it, Hungary had just joined the E.U. and we had such an interesting conversation with our waiter who felt hopeful yet truly concerned that Hungary would lose some of its sense of identity by becoming part of a larger, heterogeneous whole. It was definitely a stage of transition in Budapest; some streets were dolled up to the nines, others still unpaved, pre-now as it was then. The train station was totally shady. I'm a seasoned traveler and like a bit of mystery but this place was "get me out of here" wild. God, those days seem like eons ago, another life, a totally different one. In any case, my birthday breakfast with friends was amazing. Foodie friend C went to town, and the spread was ridiculously good. I'd purposely held off on eating a thing before I headed over, so by 9:15a, I was ready to chow. And did. Homemade granola, lemon curd, ginger scones, cinnamon-sugar breakfast puffs. And she'd called together a posse of my dearest pals. Wow. Then to a massage, some pick-ups and drop-offs, a pedicure, the most irritating trip to the market EVER and then home to cook. Because I wanted to.

Rapini with vin cotto: insane! Dates stuffed with mascarpone and goat cheese, wrapped in prosciutto, broiled and then sprinkled with chopped marconas and more of the vin cotto? Terrif! Truffle Tremor cheese with melba crisps? I can't speak!

rapini with vin cotto

cheese-stuffed dates with prosciutto and marconas

Thank you to everyone who wrote such sweet Happy Birthdays to me today!

Delicious dinner

Once dinner (for me) finally came 'round tonight, I was really hungry and really tired. The boys and I went to get frozen yogurt (Jack mixed watermelon and Oreo in the same cup; BARF) and then to the bookstore for a new book each: Knuffle Bunny really is a hoot, and J discovered a new mystery series that comes in chapter book form, so we got one of those. Fun. Nonetheless, controlling small Tasmanian devils in stores (read: public places) sometimes feels like a Herculean task, and after that, getting home, making dinner, mediating the requisite witching-hour sibling squabble and then a bath and bedtime...well, suffice it to say that I poured a glass of wine during the last book. Pasta sounded comforting, and a rummage through the fridge unearthed some young leeks, half of a when-did-I-buy-that Savoy cabbage, 1 clementine, some prosciutto and my fresh ricotta. OK! A quick cook of the prosciutto and then in the meager drippings, a sauté of shredded cabbage, chopped leeks, a scallion, 2 ramp bulbs and the zest of the clementine. I chose farro linguine to accompany this and added a bit of whey, the juice of half the clementine and some fresh ricotta at the end. Really yummy! I didn't incorporate much of the actual prosciutto; just enough to add some crisp flavor, and a grate of pecorino over pasta is never a bad idea.

Holy Sandwich, Em-i-lis

From some deep, loves-to-eat well inside my core, I found inspo for dinner tonight. Who else is obsessed with Ataulfo mangoes? Can I see a show of hands? I'm off my head about them and have been since T and I honeymooned in the Yucatán years ago. AKA champagne mangoes, they put their mango peers to shame. Mamma mia. I've got six sitting in front of me. Great for breakfast, great on the grill, great with ice cream and amaretto, AND great in this crazy-good sandwich I made for dinner. A sad bunch of dandelion greens was moping in my crisper drawer. A spread (with garlic, salt, pepper and crème fraîche)! Some artisanal prosciutto that just wanted to be used? The perfect foil to the spread and some mango! 2-day old country bread? The perfect base for this sandwich. And some Jarlsberg! Voila!

I will post this recipe ASAP.