Sunday, April 26, 2009

the morning after...

last night we smushed 6 folks around our little dining room table. we borrowed 2 chairs, and i humbly served dinner on mismatched plates. it wasn't picture perfect, but sometimes you've got to let go and enjoy.

it was a fun mix of farmers and foodies... the loveliest people anywhere.

we drank wine, shucked oysters, and ate layers of creamy wild mushroom lasagna. at the end of the night we plunged into flourless chocolate cake, goat's milk cherry ice cream, and sun-cooked brandied cherries from our preserved food stash.

for the first time in a long time we had crashers on our couch and our living room floor. while tempted to lament about not having a room for guests, i chose to focus on the opportunity for another wonderful meal: brunch.

the boys went out early in the morning for a game of frisbee, while i prepared a pie crust. even without those convenient little pie weights (which i'll undoubtedly purchase the next chance i get), the quiche turned out lovely: creamy, flaky, and filled with some of spring's first leafy greens- broccoli rabe and wild ramps.

and as this beautiful spring weekend comes to a close, i feel grateful for all that i do have - great friends and delicious leftovers. what else is there? (besides pie weights?)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

it's working...

it's only the second week that we've been using the kitchen menu board to stay organized and culinarily-inspired. but like many novelties, it was in danger of wearing off quickly. last week we made impressive food: short ribs, mushroom risotto with wild ramps, matzah ball soup, middle-eastern street food. this week we stared at the board without inspiration. um...burgers? finally we just jotted down some ingredients and left the details to be worked out later.

now it's later, and inspiration showed up just in time.

tuesday night: pork tenderloin & potatoes, or, if you prefer: Sauteed Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Port, Dried Cherries, and Rosemary, accompanied by Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Kale. it's a winner because it gives us a chance to use up some dried fruit before summer arrives and we're knee deep in the fresh stuff, and it involves port. what could be wrong with a port wine reduction?

maybe this menu thing is working after all.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

around the corner

while i set out to find inspiration for a meal at the market, it was pouring rain. generally, i like the rain, as long as i'm dressed for it. it keeps the crowds away. my gigantic umbrella provides an oddly pleasurable sense of privacy in a public space. but yesterday was a "pick up what you need, and move on" kind of day. mostly because there were better things awaiting me a few blocks from the market. NY Cake & Bake.

this week was the first time i'd stepped foot into this well-known establishment. somehow i wound up there twice in two days. once for a walk through and to pick up a b-day gift for my niece, then again yesterday to get serious.

i had a master plan to make not one, not two, but three fancy-pants martha stewart cookies. martha always seems to find her way back onto my radar. she's a perfectionist guru. she makes the simplest things grossly overcomplicated. so much so that her daughter now has a show that's entire purpose is to mock the impractical nature of her projects. martha makes sense to me, completely. i think to myself, we'll see whose laughing when i have a media empire built on my neurosis!

so i made cookies. lots and lots of very pretty cookies. 2 am, neck aching from hunching over the table placing symetrical dots on the backs of chocolate ladybugs. it was that kind of evening. entirely satisfying, once i hid all the smears, bleeding icing, and bunnies that had lost their limbs.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

a spring menu

as a perfectionist i struggle sometimes with spontaneity, unless i plan it well. when the question "what are you making for dinner?" comes without warning i am known to panic, at least inwardly.

now, we use this menu board. and for one whole week, it has worked beautifully. i know what and when i'm cooking. i know what and when jordan's cooking. and i know which days we're on leftovers, and when we'll be dining out.

it's great. having it up there is just the right amount of compulsive organization, while the ease of changing it up keeps it flexible.

now i'm off, as it's getting late, to the greenmarket to find out what's in store for week two of project meal planning. to be continued...