Toto, are we still in Kansas? Great marinade; odd effects of food on body

Nope! Y'all, I feel as if 8 good years have elapsed between 6am this morning and now, 8:50pm. Multiple meals prepped and eaten, drop-offs, pick-ups, one Meeting for Worship, thank you notes, thirty cups of chopped roast turkey, one blackberry pie, a walk with Percy, a play date, emails, organizing, hating fruit flies, a random downpour, laundry. It's all good but g-damn am I gonna be tired come Thursday night.

There are but one and a half days of school left, and it is my absolute pleasure and honor to again be catering the faculty and staff appreciation luncheon. That said, the days just prior are utter mayhem, and I'm saying that as a seriously organized gal. I just keep going, one task after another crossed off the list, feeling insanely grateful for good babysitters and friends who offer to store vats of stuff in their fridges because mine is at Code Red capacity. This year I'll be serving Louisiana Red Beans & Rice; Curried Turkey Salad with Cherries and Cashews; Herbed Tomato Tarts; Quinoa, Apricot, Pistachio Salad with Lime-Mirin Vinaigrette; Moroccan Carrot and Raisin Salad; Watermelon Feta Salad with Serrano Vinaigrette; and Strawberry Cake. Bellissima, yes?

Jack is still awake, Tom is not home, the oven vent is still whirring (I hate that noise!) and I have miles to go. Yet as always, because it's imperative, I braked (and breaked) for a good dinner. Tonight: roasted asparagus with oil, salt and lemon; and grilled chicken with a new spread I simply MUST tell you about. It's very basic and inspired by an absolutely scrumptious crostini recipe (thyme pesto with preserved lemon crème fraîche) written by another Emily on Food52. It's outstandingly good.

Anyway, tonight I blended some Greek yogurt with some feta, preserved lemon, thyme, a drop of milk and some salt, marinated some fresh chicken in it (but saved some for after-grill topping) and then grilled the chx. This went swimmingly with the asparagus AND I will surely make this marinade/dip again.

Yogurt-Feta-Thyme-Lemon Marinade/Dip/Spread/Yum

⅓ cup crumbled, good quality Feta ⅓ cup Greek-style yogurt 1 tablespoon milk generous 1 tablespoon chopped preserved lemon 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves salt

Put everything into a small food processor (or use an immersion blender) and blend until chunkily combined. Voila.

So that was awesome. And alongside I enjoyed a glass of Ribera del Duero which is A) most always a great bang for the buck, and B) super-deserved tonight.

Last night's pizza: solid (though don't buy Whole Foods' crusts; DCers should go to Vace or make your own; elsewhere, find a good source or make your own.) Though this was lovely, looking at this picture reminds me that ciliegine (the cherry-sized balls of mozzarella), even when the only mozz in your fridge and thus useful/easy, do not make the best mozz for pizza. Look below and know why.


Having enjoyed asparagus tonight and beets over the weekend, I feel obliged to have a conversation with you about foods with benign but somewhat adverse effects on your body lest you otherwise worry.

1) Asparagus: If you notice a wretched smell in your urine shortly after eating asparagus, you are not alone. In fact, this aftermath was recorded as early as 1702 and is now thought to be the result of the compounds in asparagus that yield ammonia and/or sulfurous products when metabolized. It seems that the difference in experience is less how we metabolize asparagus and more how our differing olfactory genes lead us to detect, or not, the smelly byproducts that pass through our urine. If you've never eaten asparagus you should so so immediately but don't fret if your pee smells afterwards.

2) Beets: Though I did not like beets as a child, I love them now. They are sweet, crunchy (when not overcooked), versatile and lovely. All that said, if you eat a hefty serving of red beets, you should expect that your pee will be magenta for 1-10 goings afterwards and/or your stool will have a decidedly magenta hue. This can be alarming. Are you bleeding internally? Why do beets take so long to pass? If said coloration follows shortly after ingesting beets, don't worry. This is eerie but normal. Do check with a doctor if things don't return to normal after a few days.

3) Sunchokes: AKA Jerusalm Artichokes, AKA Fartichokes. Enough said. Sunchokes are not a member of the artichoke family, but rather the tuber (or root) of the sunflower plant. They can be roasted, mashed, sliced and fried, pureed into soup...I adore the nutty earthiness of sunchokes but they store their produced carbohydrates as inulin rather than starch (like most tubers do). What does this mean for you? Well, our guts can't break down inulin but inulin can be broken down by bacteria in the colon. This results in gas, and let me tell you, it can be intense, painful and seemingly endless. Like labor pains, until you forget about this gaseous side effect, you may swear off more chokes; you will, then, forget and eat more as soon as you can. Unless you are my friend, Laura, in NM, who hates sunchokes and swears they are nothing more than weeds.

Buenos noches!