Friday, December 21, 2012

A Little Comfort Food

Last Saturday's dinner date was planned before I knew what Friday would bring. Friday was an absolute slog at work, busy and frustrating. I was stressed out an aggravated about something that seems just silly now. Then I started hearing little news blurbs out of Newtown.

When I finally got into my car at 6pm, I closed the door and began sobbing on my whole drive home. Newtown in not far from us - and more so than any other shooting, it really confused and affected me.

So Saturday when I woke up still upset I went to yoga. There it seemed that others had the same thing in mind. It was so nice to be in a room with other people just moving and breathing as one. You could just feel the positive energy in the room and I needed that. I needed to feel like there was still good in this world. There is still good, and there is a lot of it - that reminder Saturday morning helped a lot.

Saturday evening we had planned on having Rafe's father and stepmother over for dinner. Part of me wanted to cancel and hide in my room. The other part of me wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate.

Not a party or anything. But an everyday celebration of the luck and love in our lives. I wanted to spend my day making a delicious meal for my family, putting love into my food, and thinking of how grateful we are to have SO many positive and good people in our lives.

Comfort food was on the menu.

Grass fed beef and ground white meat turkey meatloaf - I used a recipe builder from Fine Cooking. I chose to deglaze the aromatics with dry sherry. It was delicious, though a very involved recipe for something as humble as meatloaf - it was just the ticket for this meal, and very well received.

The meatloaf was accompanied by Rafe's famous mashed potatoes (butter, half&half, raw chopped garlic and roasted garlic) and these roasted Brussels sprouts.

Rafe also makes terrific salads with lots of 'stuff' this had strawberries, feta, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onions and pecans.

 This is butter. Once I got into the kitchen, put on some Paul Simon Pandora, and started prepping...I didn't want to leave. I wanted to play. I made some flavored butter for our delicious loaf of french peasant bread from Hartford Baking Company. The first is a pesto butter, the second a honey butter. These were really easy, and VERY well received. I might try making a grilled cheese with the pesto.

Our lovely guests brought wine - so we sipped this Apothic Red while we dined.

And Rafe requested his favorite, first eaten when Megan gifted us with a loaf, Grapefruit Greek Yogurt cakes.

This was a simple and humble meal, but it did feel so much better to share this night with family. This day, this meal, was my reminder to take it a little slower. Not sweat the small stuff, and have a little more gratitude for the everyday blessings in my life.

It's easy to get caught up in the little nothings of life. Recognize the things in your life that truly matter, and be kind to one another....that is what its all about.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fish Tacos

Bear with me please, while I learn to use my new camera. These haven't been edited, and clearly are a bit heavy on the flash - but I was so so eager to get started here. 

I'd been struggling with what to start writing again with ... for a long time. In my imagination nothing was the perfect 'I'm back!' recipe. As a result of such high hopes - I found myself stuck, inert, unable to move forward....

So instead of trying to hit it out of the park with some puff pastry crusted, foie gras filled, truffled concoction that I probably couldn't even afford the ingredients for comeback recipe is a taco.

The humble, Mexican street-food favorite. Corn tortillas, codfish, fresh veggies and a little spice.
I based my recipe on this one from Epicurious - but the real star is the on-a-whim avocado crema. I had the recipe planned out days in advance, but as is to be expected, I had an impulse in the kitchen...and just went with it.

Fish Tacos with Avocado Crema
From Epicurious and Lordes Castro

  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed and chopped
  • corn tortillas
  • Avocado crema (recipe below)
Place sliced onion in a bowl, and cover to the top with red wine vinegar. Let sit for 30 mins or up to a day. Mix together olive oil, chile powder, oregano, cumin, cilantro and jalapeno. Pour over fish and let marinade for 20 minutes.

Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Put fish in hot pan and cook 4 minutes on first side, flip and cook until opaque throughout. Remove from heat and flake.

Serve on corn tortillas with red onion slices, fresh cilantro, lime juice and avocado crema. We accompanied our meal with rice and beans, and a broccoli slaw.

Avocado Crema
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/8-1/4 cup fat free greek yogurt
  • juice of half a lime
  • salt to taste
Put all the ingredients in a blender or mini food processor and blend until smooth. This was great on the tacos, it could also make a quick, tasty dip for veggies or a spread for a sandwich.

We could subsist entirely on tacos in our house and never tire of you have a go-to recipe that you never get sick of?

Monday, December 3, 2012

One Year Later.....

Isn't it crazy how life changes? 

I was never as dedicated to writing as some of my food-blogging comrades, but for a good while this place was my respite. The safe place where I expressed some creativity, and made some great friends.

Life got in the way for a while. New town. New apartment. New job....and more recently new husband....Well, not *new* exactly. We are newlyweds, but it's still good ol' Rafe.

So, if you'll forgive my lengthy absence - almost a year! eek! I hope you'll also forgive what this blog might become. I'm still cooking up a storm - but I have a lot of other interests that I hope to share with you through this venue as well. 

You'll still see food - likely lots of it because, I suppose the old adage is true - the more things change....the more they stay the same. But this next year I'll be embarking on my journey through yoga teacher training, my interest in cooking more clean, whole foods, books I'm reading, general mind wanderings, et. al.

Join me?