One of the most frequent requests I get is for is to organize a category of recipes that freezes well, or can be packed up and brought to new parents with bigger (er, tinier) things on their agenda than stirring pots. And you’d think I’d be an expert on this, having been in their shoes just one year ago but I never bothered. New York City is not a place where you have to stock your freezer to get a good meal in; we can get literally anything delivered to our door in under an hour, even food that is both healthy and better than I make at home. (Well, almost.) Plus, almost anything that sits in my freezer for more than two weeks smells… freezery. It was hard to summon enthusiasm to store anything worthwhile inside it.
I spent my very first Mother’s Day weekend nearly baby-free and in the kitchen. I know, how did that happen? You see, Jacob sojourned at his grandparents’ and I was very sad and missed him terribly and then I drank wine without worrying about the repercussions, got 10 hours (!) of uninterrupted (!) sleep (!) and discovered that I can really cook a lot of things without a cute to the point of distraction baby in the next room and I was a little less sad. And then we hosted brunch for both of our families. The end.
So, this is a tale of two salads. No wait, three. Okay, this is the tale of three salads. The first one crossed our table at brunch with my mother and the little pilot two weeks ago (you might remember that our last brunch together resulting in us obsessing over monkey bread; who knew brunch could be such a source of inspiration?) at one of my favorite local restaurants: warm mushroom, softly cooked, chestnuts cooked in brown butter, bacon lardons and a port reduction. We haven’t stopped talking about it since.
People, I’m about at the end of my ordered-in dinner rope. It’s not that — as the front page of this site might suggest — I haven’t cooked anything since the baby arrived, it’s just that I’ve largely cooked things that could be assembled during naptimes, and most of Alex and my conversations about meals go, “What should we do for dinner?” “I made mushroom toasts and a bowl of butterscotch sauce today!” “Right, so what should we order?” And so on with the pho, cracker-thin pizza and hummusiot dinner deliveries. For three months. At 93 days, even shakshuka broiled with haloumi gets tiresome.
My husband’s people — that would be The Russians, if you’ve been following along at home — really like their caviar. It’s rare that a signature spread of zakuski doesn’t include at least one form of gem-colored eggs by the thousands, usually served with sour cream and small crepes. Me, I’m a troglodyte; I’m unable to appreciate such fine things in life, and generally breeze right past the caviar to spear a potato with my fork.
Apparently, making marshmallows at home isn’t as “normal” as I would have thought, but then again, I am the last person one should be using a yardstick of kitchen normality, or not as long as I am pickling grapes or making wedding cakes with a mini-oven and a single, eensy counter.
When it is as cruelly cold out as it has been this week, beef bourguignon is one of my favorite things. If there is anything better than a symphony of onions, carrots, red wine, broth and a scoop of tomato paste simmered for hours, I haven’t met it. I don’t want to meet it. I already know my favorite.