Spring arrived while I totally wasn’t paying attention. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen these days. Over the winter, this was hardly a discomfort but now that we’re getting glimpses of the warm weather to come, I’m finding it harder to look out my kitchen window at these people walking down the sidewalk with their sandals and short sleeves and a pep in their step and an air of freedom around them I can sense even from four flights up and not feel consumed with envy. The other day, as I wearily approached round five of something I was stupidly convinced I’d nail on round one, I saw one of these not-sweating-it-out-in-a-shoebox-kitchen types carrying a bundle of tulips and I had to close my eyes for a minute and imagine myself somewhere I’d rather be. And then I walked out of the kitchen and went there.
Despite living in New York City, a place where one could theoretically go to some fabulous new restaurant every night and not run out of places to eat for some time, we’re not big new-hot-thing chasers. When we go out to eat, we want to experience new tastes but also disappear for a couple hours, not ooh and aah over the celebrity at the next table while feeling bad about our clothes. But. Every so often a restaurant gets talked up so much that we’re unable to resist its magnetism and have to go as soon as humanly possible. This happened a few weekends ago and I’m so glad that it did.
We are dragging this summer out. Maybe it’s because as far as I am concerned, it didn’t really start until August, when the bulk of the heat wave was behind us and we willingly ventured outside of our air-conditioned caves again, and when we finally took a little family vacation. Maybe it’s because if it is still summer, the baby is still a baby and not a one year-old toddler as he will be after this weekend. But it is most likely because we headed down the Garden State Parkway to Exit 0 last weekend for a belated 5 year anniversary mini-vacation without said baby and somehow, well into September, still got sun, sand and freckles. Summer in September? I’ll take it.
One thing I am realizing about going a long time without eating meat (15 years) followed by a relatively short time eating as a moderately enthusiastic meat eater (5 years and change) is that it doesn’t always occur to you to include it in meals. In fact, I have apparently only made four dishes on the site this year that include meat, and two were briskets for big dinner parties. With a fridge bursting (literally; if you can find room for a jar of mayo in there, you’d be my hero) with spinach and scallions, radishes, real baby carrots, sugar snaps, shelling peas and tiny freshly-dug red potatoes rolling off the top, I can hardly imagine why I’d need to roast a chicken. But when I was going through my (very, very, very long) list of Recipes I Want To Try last week, these lamb chops jumped out at me, promising to at least temporarily break me out of my asparagus — hashed! ribboned! tossed with pasta for one! — rut.
Let me get this out of the way from the get-go: I cannot believe I’m discussing scrambled eggs today. I like to think of myself as somewhat particular in vetting out what I think is worthy or not worthy of your humble click over here, and I can’t say that scrambled eggs would normally make the cut. In fact, if you are happy with your scrambles, if you’re pretty sure you’ve got that whole moving the egg around the pan thing down pat, I won’t even be offended if you come back next time, when I figure out what to do with the four pounds of strawberries in my fridge. Or last time, when we made rhubarb tarts.
There are a lot of reasons to make shakshuka, an
Israeli Tunisian dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce: It sounds like the name of a comic book hero. Or some kind of fierce, long-forgotten martial art. Or perhaps something that said comic book hero would yell as they practiced this elaborate martial art, mid-leap with their fist in the air.
Alex and I had an accidental date a few weeks ago, accidental in that we set out to take a walk but the conversation quickly turned to “I wonder if we could get a table at Lupa.” The answer, by the way, should be no. One can never get a table at Lupa. They don’t take many reservations, they’re not very big and just about everyone in New York City loves to drop in there for a meal. It is for this pile of reasons that we’ve never been. Or we never had been. Because that evening, there was exactly one eensy little table free and there we were, having an impromptu dinner out on a weekday night, something that would have been nothing out of the ordinary, say, five months ago but as parents to a young dough ball, it was nothing short of earth shattering.