I’ve loved food pretty much as long as I’ve been alive.
My mom likes to tell stories about how I started eating table food so young (to supplement my diet of breast milk) — I wanted broccoli before I was supposed to have it (and she gave it to me… I loved it then and still do). My first word was a food word (“bread” in Portuguese), not Mama or Binky. I was messing in the kitchen as soon as I was old enough to stand on a chair to reach the counter.
What can I say? One of my favorite TV shows is Chopped. I read more nonfiction books about food than pretty much any other subject. And the list of food blogs I follow grows and grows.
So it’s no surprise that the list of recipes I want to try keeps getting longer and longer. And with teaching as my main job, I don’t have a lot of free time, which means my only day to experiment is Saturday. Sometimes, when I’ve been really busy, my desire gets pent up until it bursts — I spend my entire day planning and executing projects of cookery.
I started off with roasting some beets for next week’s lunches. Meanwhile, I also baked an acorn squash that had been moldering in my fruit bowl for over a month.
I the made my first foray into homemade ice cream. I got an amazing deal on an ice cream maker early in December, but with the cascade of junk food that bombarded the Christmas holidays, I had not done anything with it yet. I made my ice cream base, and put it in the fridge to cool. Then, I realized you are supposed to freeze the ice cream bucket before you make the ice cream. Whoops. Oh well, ice cream, to be continued.
At the same time, I cleaned and started to roast brussels sprouts from my Farmer’s Market trip to make this recipe from Peas and Thank You. Chocolate creme anglaise and brussels sprouts might seem like an odd combination, but the smooth, sweet velvet of the ice cream base, and the crispy outside, soft creamy inside of the salt-and-pepper-and-oil sprouts were a perfect compliment. I went right from licking out the pot from the chocolate back to “taste-testing” the brussels sprouts (I taste-tested about half the pan!).
Then to make the vinaigrette/glaze for the brussels sprouts. By this time my feet were aching and I was getting slightly cranky. Also, the romance of the kitchen was wearing off a little. I may or may not have snapped at my husband, who was only trying to make dinner.
Then I had a minor meltdown over a perceived slight (not to mention the fact that dishes were piling up, and I still had one kitchen project to go).
My husband, who is sweet, did not get mad. No — he washed the dishes. Then he washed the dishes again. And folded the towels. And washed the dishes again. And told me it would be ok.
I worked my way through my last project, healthy rice krispy treats (made with brown rice syrup and brown rice krispies and almond butter — see the recipe here), a long awaited birthday present promised to my father (who celebrated 60 years on January 7 — yes, I’m just getting to his birthday present — I told you teaching keeps me busy).
As I coated the cereal with sticky, gooey yum and coated the sticky, goey yum with warm chocolate and almond butter mixture, I breathed deep. Yes, I got a little carried away.
But my day was sweet…bitter…salty…tangy. And it ended in peace.
*This post is dedicated to the patience and practicality of my husband, without whom it surely would not have materialized as I would be a melted puddle of boohooing on the kitchen floor, and my father would have to wait another week for his birthday present.*