Introduction to Food Writing
Last Saturday I was honored to take a class on food writing with cookbook author and food writer Monica Bhide, who also invited an amazing panel to speak at the afternoon session. I wasn't sure what to expect going in, but I came out with the sense that freelance writing isn't an abstract concept, but instead a concrete path with clearly defined markers along the way. That's huge for me, and something I've been thinking about ever since.
When T was traveling for work last week, I made a different dish he dislikes every night he was gone. What? I miss my salmon, olives, and mushrooms! On salmon night it was all about simplicity: a lightly seasoned broil. I made fresh parsley butter for the salmon broil, which resulted in outrageous herbacious goodness. After using a dab of the fresh butter, I molded the rest into a plastic-wrapped log and froze it. This means that for the foreseeable future, dressing up a simple cut of meat or bread is as simple as slicing off a coin of the parsley butter that's waiting for me in frozen anticipation. Parsley butter is a no-brainer on salmon or any fish; Canal House loves steak with parsley butter, too. Here's the recipe I used, from Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food, which works beautifully in these proportions with parsley, chervil, and chives. (Also, I don't need to remind you that all butter is not equal, right? If your brand of butter smells and tastes like the wrapper, you might want to upgrade.)
Alice Waters' Herb Butter
Stir together in a small bowl, mixing well:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped herbs
1 garlic clove, finally chopped
Squeeze of lemon juice
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne
Taste and adjust the salt and lemon as needed.
Skype Date with the M's
I miss my New Mexico ladies like crazy. Now that there's a third one in the mix, well... it ups the ante even more. Our Skype date last week made me appreciate the goodness that can come from technology. We bitch about the loss of privacy and the lack of being in the moment and I know it's all true... but being able to video-chat with them in real time? I never imagined that was possible back in the day when I was walking teenage love letters out to the mailbox. Seeing my girls' faces, having conversations just like old times, a glass of wine in each hand (with little U happily waving and showing me her belly)... that's the good stuff, right there, and I'm so grateful for it.
Againn is quickly becoming one of my favorite haunts in DC. Againn annoyed me at first, simply because I can't comprehend naming a restaurant something that people will routinely mispronounce or worse, never talk about out of fear of mispronouncing (it's pronounced Ag-Gwen, for the record). But then I ate and drank there, and then I did it again, and I can never be annoyed again. Unless they leave town. Please Againn, don't leave town. What will I do without your fish and your pub fare and your mussels and your beer and your everything?
Most people associate eating green vegetables with the summer, but for me, it's always been fall. I'm talking greens, of course. The farmers' market was bursting with kale last weekend, and I ate so much of it in the days that followed that I'm surprised I didn't turn green myself. I love kale in soups and salads for instant crunchy nutrition. I love it braised with bacon (obvs). I love it prepared very simply, sauteed with shallots and dressed with salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon. I love kale chips, which honestly are so beautiful they're like green pieces of art you can't quite bear to eat except, oops, my god these are delicious. I mean really: these don't even look like chips, do they? They are marvels. Delicious, crunchy, addictive marvels.
Dates with My Husband
You know what I love? Dating the guy I married. I love that after a completely crappy day or an entire Sunday spent battling a spreadsheet of the most inane data you can imagine (not that that happened to me last Sunday or anything), T can come home from work and the day is instantly better. In many ways, the day begins at that moment, and the rest of the crap that is so frustrating and maddening, it just goes away. Whether I should be spending my daytime so frustrated is another
Major Life Question blog post. Lately I've loved nothing more than our nights out, where I leave all that behind. We enjoy each other, and we eat and drink and talk and laugh and explore this city, and then we stay up late because it's not as much fun to fall asleep. We also stay up late because I'm one of those night owls who believes being up all night will somehow prevent the morning from coming, thus preventing the cycle of maddening frustration from beginning again, and T puts up with this and pretends he doesn't catch on that I'm just delaying daybreak, and life is good. Very good. Even when my mood sucks.