Even if you move because you chose it, like building a new house where you get to pick #allthethings from the sidewalk pavers to the sink shapes to the placement of a secret hidden phone jack that they force you to have, it is hard. Everything from cleaning out the last home you chose, and deciding what can fit into the tiny halfway house/apartment that you also chose and that feels like it is a soul and joy sucking roach. Oh, no, that’s a regular roach. It’s just hard. It makes you plain tired and leaves you wondering what you were thinking. So many choices. Everyday, the average American sees something like 15,000 pieces of branding. How do I keep the best possible ones for me? How do I discard all the soul and life suckers and keep the joy?
One of the choices I made in moving was to finely edit, in the hour or so it took me to pack them, my cookbooks. To only bring the ones that I want to cook out of for the next 6 to 12 months while the dirt is shaped into a house. I have a broad ranging collection and mostly use them for about one recipe each as the inspiration of beauty from a photo, a sudden desire for something healthy, or a craving hit. How do I pack that away when they imbue so much happiness just from the mere sight of them? And then, just as I think maybe I can hack this apartment living an #epicpalmetto (call it what it is people, a ROACH!) falls from the heavens (weird slot on the side of the cupboard) and behind my happy little stack of cookbooks on the counter sometime in the timeframe of 5:30 am as I am getting up to make coffee. The biggest damn bug I have EVER laid eyes on and I am expected to dispatch it in an efficient manner when I am driven to tears by the mere sight of them. Why? I can barely see in the o’dark hundred hour and I am forced to slowly remove the books from the counter with one hand and a wad of papertowels in the other in the odd advent of being able to find it. Oh. I found it. In the corner behind the very last book. My copy of the Betty Crocker cookbook that my mom gives everyone (or did, for their weddings for the greater part of my life. I don’t think she does any more, what with the web and wedding registries from everywhere from Cabela’s to Tiffany.) Sorry, Betty, I’ll never feel the same as I think about that bug touching the hallows of the only way I can remember that corn will get tough if you salt the water. I promptly moved the books to the top shelf where I can’t reach them and they do me no good. I’m going to Lysol wipe Betty one of these days and try to move on. Really. Meanwhile, I forced the apartment people to come and spray. It’s gotten better. I think. I’ll try not to mention it again. I’ve stopped crying at the sight of them. #win
So, here’s a list of what I brought. The rest packed away in storage until the veritable Christmas day that I get to see them again. I’m going to try to use them. If for nothing more than a happy boost and to choose a bit of a happy place. I need to find a lower safe place for them soon. In no particular order but in order of the photo.
- Everyday Food – Light by Martha Steward collective –I figured it would be good to lose more than space in this process.
- Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries and Shakes –my first ‘cook the book’ and I for some reason didn’t want to be parted from it.
- Food Gift Love by Maggie Battista –actually purchased post move during an amazing trip to Philadelphia that I’ll have to write about soon-more to that story than meets the eye.
- Good Stuff by Spike Mendelsohn – Burgers mainly, and wedge salads – We use a few of the burger topping recipes regularly.
- The Meatball Shop Cookbook – Because meatballs.
- The Broad Fork by Hugh Acheson – same thing as Martha – veggies are healthy and I want us to be eating more of them and more creatively. Plus hughnibrow.
- Family Meal by Tyler Florence – mainly for the Turkey Meatloaf. Love.
- Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain – Best salads ever.
- ‘Wichcraft by Tom Colicchio – unbelieveably delicious sandwiches – I want one today.
- that skinny spiral bound thing is a Disney Food & Wine Fest Cookbook with two of our favorites. Chicken Souvlaki and Cheddar Beer Soup. ‘Nough said.
- tacolicious – amazeballs tacos and cali-mex food from a trip to San Francisco.
- Sorella – inventive Italianish food and one of our favorite salads of all time.
- Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson – because apartment means no time? I’m not sure.
- Food by Guy Fieri. I kind of hate his recipes because so many ingredients but dang his sloppy joe’s are amazing.
and last but not least.
15. The Betty Crocker Cookbook. Timeless helps for cooking corn. And the stuffing I grew up on. Like I’d make a turkey. No link to my version but worth it. The kitchen I grew up in had the 1969 version.
I’ve noticed, if you care about food in any specific way, that people most likely think you are also probably a. a food snob and b. somehow fancy even if you are just eating a hot dog or similar. I totally think it is possible that I am something of a food snob but it doesn’t mean I won’t eat a hot dog. I mean, let’s face the facts. I love handheld foods. Sandwiches, burgers (the most!) and tacos. But, I also love to make them in a little bit of a special way at the same time. Roast turkey with bacon & homemade onion marmalade? Sure. Burgers with homemade pimiento cheese? Definitely. Tacos with the best heat cutting tastiest sauce ever? Yes, please. Call it the high-low effect. The lowest food brought to the very highest height. I really just want people (including me) to care about what they are eating. To find it to be the best taste they had all day, or maybe all week. Tonight I’m making a recipe for that heat cutting tasty sauce. It is literally a five minutes and done recipe that makes dinner just a little more special.
People who cook like this on a Monday night should probably blog about it. Let’s scroll back 72 hours. Friday night I got home to a box on the porch from Amazon. It held riches of books-one being Sorella. Sorella is billed by Amazon as 100 bold gutsy comfort-based Northern Italian dishes inspired by the restaurant of the same name in NYC. I think I am a total tool because I bought it because (I think) it was an Amazon recommendation. For real? Who does that? But the minute I flipped through I knew i had done the right thing. The dishes are for real cheffy fare and for me–super inspirational. Fast forward 48 hours to Sunday. I made brine while I cooked dinner last night. I let it cool to room temperature and submerged four 1″ thick pork chops in a bowl under the brine and weighted down the top with a plate to keep them under. I shoved the whole thing in the fridge and forgot about it until I got home tonight and remembered while I was pushing the mower through the yard. After finishing up mowing I enlisted Z’s help to get dinner on the table. We started the olive smashed potatoes which were scented with orange zest and a tiny bit of lemon juice and I quickly boiled (hang with me here) a pint of cherry tomatoes. I plunged them into ice water and I PEELED them. Cherry tomatoes. Z pulled out our smoking gun and put some applewood smoke on them. Then I made them into a delicious little vinaigrette. What? Who puts these flavors together. Then I dried and put the chops on the grill pan after rubbing them in olive oil and a touch of sea salt. We finished the chops in the oven. The chops were briny and porky-kind of baconlike almost. Because of the brine they were moist and the grill pan gave them the most fantastic char. The potatoes? Inspired. Orange and olive? Amazing. I could taste the smoke on the tomatoes. Best. Monday. Night. Dinner. Ever. I am so looking forward to some deep dives into this book.
I was sitting at work today and waiting for a meeting to start so I opened up pinterest and saw this awesome cement w. It was diy though so I am reasonably assured it will never happen, although you never really know. It did lead me to buy the most awesome marquee Z that is going to get put up in my living room over my sofa from Restoration Hardware. I actually am really kind of excited about it. I suppose it isn’t normal living room art. Right now I have up a vintage mirror that my parents bought from the Eastman family a lot of years ago. I wanted to paint it and still might but it freaks my mom out. All this led me to show my blog to someone who was also waiting for the meeting to start and I realized I hadn’t posted a thing for two weeks. So, here I am sorting through photos and can’t believe I didn’t get this up. Two shots. His and hers-respectively, both flavors of the new Haagen-Daz gelato.
His: Salted Caramel with Bacon on top-ridiculous and as good as it sounds…
Hers: Lemon with home pickled Grapes (What?) Yeah, home pickled grapes. I read about them in two books and online in one week and figured it had to be. Quickly washed and cold packed grapes covered in a sweetened vinegar studded with cinnamon, black pepper and mustard seeds. What? Amazing, sweet, crunchy, sophisticated and complex. That’s how we roll.
well, sort of. I made a burger last night and it was ridiculous bordering on obscene. Here’s why. I got an iSi thingie for my birthday. I’m celebrating my birthday this week in general. Lots of years I haven’t been all that excited about it. In fact when I was turning thirty I had negative birthdays for a few years until my sister said it had to stop. This year I can lean in to tell you that I’m just not that fussed about it. It’s not a milestone year where I feel like I haven’t achieved something and in that, I’ve achieved everything. I don’t have to worry about the haves or have nots, the I have it and you don’ts or the don’t you wish yous. I’m just me and I’m pretty great. Anyway, Z is a total joy to have buying me loot because he gets so excited about it that he can’t not give me whatever comes in the mail and a few days ago a household sized iSi cream dispenser and charges came to our doorstep. So, what to do other than pull out Richard Blais’ cookbook, Try This At Home and make a modified cheddar cheese version of this Cheese Wizard to put on sherry braised onion and bacon burgers. So, basically the long and short of it is I melted cheddar in heavy cream, chilled it and charged it with nitrous oxide into foam which I sprayed on a BURGER. Obscene. No one needs that-but it was fun and I’ll probably do it again and add cayenne so it is more like pimiento cheese because that would be awesome. Happy birthday to me!