Everyone’s got their superheroes; I’m sure when I was younger they were things like Super Grover and later, Jem but these days, they’re decidedly more humble: I admire the hell out of people who manage to put homemade meals on the table everyday, as this has never been my strong suit. It probably doesn’t help that I’ve spent the last year or so developing recipes for very specific things — a side dish, a salad, a tart — that don’t exactly add up to be a dinner, and that NYC makes it quite easy to order in whatever parts of your meal you haven’t made at home. I’m a terrible multitasker — really, no fan of it at all — and when I’m making brioche, I’m making brioche, and not brioche with a side of a pot of beans with something braising in the oven, no matter how much I wish I were.
I would not say that previous to the last year, we were not taco people. I can think of several carnitas that have brought me nearly to tears (and definitely to tears when they stopped delivering) and we’ve been doing an egg-tortilla thing for years. But at some point in the last six months, I got bit with the taco bug bad and now I can hardly think of anything else to eat. Saturday afternoon and the toddler is napping and suddenly we’re hungry? Black bean tacos! Nothing but a couple zucchini in the produce drawer? Roasted zucchini tacos for dinner! I’m about thisclose to becoming the sort of person who puts peanut butter and jelly on a taco. The taco has become the answer to all questions.
And so, we’ve finally fled the coop. We headed out last weekend to a house we’ve rented (with enough spare bedrooms for grandparents to come and
babysit catch up with their favorite grandson, because we are brilliant, friends, absolutely brilliant) and I’m dispatching from the beach this week. I’ve already had a dinner with friends that involved multiple formats of broiled cheese, several tastes of local wines, watched the sunset, had my first and second full night’s sleep in weeks, and now with the promise of Dunkin Donuts coffee and freckles in my near future, I have totally arrived.
I realized this week that it has been way, way too long since I made a galette. I remember being infatuated with them when I launched this site, uh, wow, hey, did you know this site is almost four years old? When did that happen? I was absolutely not paying attention. It’s kind of like when I was hanging out with the baby yesterday evening and he up and crawled over to the coffee table and pulled himself up to standing and, whoa, when did that happen? Who taught him that? Could you unteach him that, please? Thank you.
I’ve been at a bit of a standstill in the kitchen this month. It’s not really a lack of ideas vexing me, but a lack of desire to spend any time in front of a stove or oven now that the weather is so delicious, I believe I at least owe it the courtesy of spending time out in it. Sure, there are savory tarts and summery salads and even another burger bun recipe on my agenda; there’s a cake in my fridge that’s so pretty I will not be the least bit offended if you mount a protest that I am waiting until next time to tell you about it, but I need to level with you: I have not cooked a real dinner for us in over a month. A month! Perhaps longer.
One of my favorite things about cooking is being surprised. As much fun as it is chasing some childhood recipe or flavor ideal I caught a whiff of at some restaurant, somewhere, nothing matches the surprise of finding a recipe that you’re not entirely sure will be your thing, trying it anyway and then spending the rest of the night going “this is good,” “wow, this is so good,” and “wow, I had no idea it would be this good.”
Believe it or not, I’ve actually cooked dinner a few times this month. Like, three! Maybe even four. I don’t know, does a corn tortillas chmeared with refried beans, salsa and toasted with some shredded cheese on top count as dinner? Oh it does? Then definitely, most certainly four. We’re all about the refined eatin’ at the smittenkitchen.