It’s one of the biggest challenges and conundrums of my cooking, blogging, writing, and teaching life. Folks are so very interested in food, love to chat about it, are crazy about eating, and seem to know lots about ingredients and technique (Food Network and “Top Chef”, I guess). But somehow they often have an awesome amount of trouble getting into the kitchen and actually cooking. There are myriad reasons and I needn’t name them.
If you haven’t made a restaurant reservation yet for Valentine’s Day, you’re probably too late except for the 3:30 or 10:30 pm slots.
What you’re definitely in time for is a trip to the grocery store, a little cooking action, an attractively-set table, and a relaxed dinner with no one asking
It’s a snow day. I don’t currently have a paying job–this isn’t to say I don’t work– but I’m still thrilled to think I needn’t go anywhere and perhaps could be excused from accomplishing anything. Too many years of kids in the house or teaching makes me stand up and cheer when the school closings begin. Usually I spend the day in the kitchen with a big pot of soup bubbling away –and I’m about to do that after I’m done with the blog– but today a little perking dream took life.
Holiday breakfasts, for many people, are laden with tradition. Such as: We always have pancakes. OR My best friend makes scrambled eggs with peppers and onions. OR Bacon gets fried up in huge quantities for me.
For Election Day 2016, I’m spending my time making my streamlined Beef Burgundy. It’ll take my mind off what’s going on, keep me from checking my phone or computer too often, and give Dave, the dogs, and me something great to smell.
Even my streamlined Beef Burgundy takes a good bit of time (I started yesterday) and should be shared. Who needs friends more than on election night? We invited a couple of really close ones for the meal and for the duration–whichever comes first. Continue reading
If you’re like me, there are some days you will not be going to the grocery store. Maybe it’s Sunday and you know how crazy the parking lot is or perhaps it’s a warm Thursday night and you’ve had it. (What is “it?”) Could be you’re too busy enjoying the irises blooming for the first time in eleven years – below. Or you’re avoiding the mama robin nested outside your back door so you can work in the garden without her defecating on you. (Second photo below: Yes, she did this to me.)
In reality, you unthawed nothing because you were, uh, working, reading a sleazy novel at the pool, running kids, on a hike, at a meeting, or watching movies. Could be you’re lazy, which is an admirable once-in-a-while quality. Do cultivate it. You are not lighting the grill and you’re not opting out by ordering pizza or Chinese. You could eat a green salad. Again.
Last December, these good cooking friends came to take a short Italian class with me and liked it so well (ah, gee) they returned en masse to redeem the class gift certificate one gave to the rest for a Christmas gift–on the condition that we attempt a grilling class. Onward, upward. “Sure,” I said. I also said, “I’m not a big outdoor griller. I grill inside. A lot. I have at least 3 stovetop grills. Dave, however, grills outside. I eat.” (Why should I learn to grill outdoors?!) But I figured between Dave and I, we could come up with a full grill menu everyone would lust after. Or, rather, I’d come up with the menu, and Dave would light and “man” the behemoth gas grill we bought to try and keep up with all his grilling love.
Often, on the blog, you see Dave thus:
And while, to you, it might appear his typical pose, he actually works very hard at his daily job, practices trombone as much as possible, takes excellent care of me, and then, in good weather, looks like this at home:
Did I say he cleans the kitchen quite a bit? All right, he walks on water.
If you’re looking for an entire meal on the grill for Memorial Day or any other day, this one just might be it. It’ll feed 6-8 people generously and could provide a few leftovers at the end of the day. First are a long slew of happy pictures, beginning with an overview of the menu; the recipes follow. At the very end is a link to click so that you can view the recipes in a printable form. ENJOY YOUR GRILL!
(Basic grilling technique link here.)
Grilled Caesar Salad (Chardonnay)
Grilled Lemon Salmon and Tinfoil-Packet Vegetables with Avocado Mayonnaise (Oregon Pinot Noir or Chardonnay)
Grilled Pineapple with Ice Cream and Maple Syrup (Sparkling Rosé)
Unless, that is, you’re crazy about lamb like I am. You might remember I once ordered Colorado lamb in London and was very glad to get it. I really did do bangers and mash the rest of the time. (Read about American lamb here.)
I adore Colorado lamb (and love eating locally!), but it’s not always readily available or reasonably priced, so….
Once in a while, I just do the expedient, less expensive thing and buy a big boneless leg of lamb at Costco with the rest of the crowd. Why not? Continue reading
I worked on a fresh pea clam chowder while I lived in the great city of St. Paul, Minnesota. There, on any given beautiful early spring Saturday, the St. Paul Farmer’s Market would proudly boast a gorgeous array of pea shoots and tendrils…and not long after that, the peas themselves. That soup ended up in my soup book, Soups & Sides for Every Season and is a favorite with or without the fresh peas! (Fresh peas are often available year round at Trader Joes, as well.)
|Fresh pea shoots–leaves, shoots, and tendrils from pea plants. Yummy greens.|