Food and Drink
I've gotten into a habit of using a portion of my weekends to cook and prep meals for the week. This may mean cooking something like beef stew in large quantities and then portioning into smaller containers for the freezer and/or lunch during the week, roasting veggies to eat as a side or toss in a salad, hard-boiling eggs, washing greens, cutting up veggies, grinding coffee, or making a fritatta -- anything that makes taking a healthy lunch or grab-and-go breakfast easier. I also find it a fairly relaxing way to spend time and I can catch up on my podcasts at the same time. The only thing that might make it better would be a dishwasher, but the good thing is that I'll have one soon enough . . .
With the new year approaching, I thought it was time for a (mobile-friendly) makeover. I'm not 100% done tweaking it yet, but let me know if you have any feedback. I'm also thinking I might focus more on posting about cooking, eating, drinking, and exercise (yes, even more than I already do) . . . stay tuned!!
My birthday is at the end of December, which is one of many reasons why, when I walked into the 8th Street Winecellar last Wednesday night, I was completely shocked that my friends were throwing me a surprise party. It took me several full minutes to begin to comprehend what was going on, even well after people started saying "surprise," and "happy birthday" (the latter made no sense to me -- it wasn't anywhere near my birthday). Finally, someone sat me down and handed me a bag with a few gifts in it. I reached in to find a bright red potholder (yay! new potholder!), and inside was a little book. I started to read. "Surprise!" it read, "happy early birthday :)" Astounded, I continued to read. The next page made me lose it completely: "You are loved." The rest of the book was gravy at that point. Life gets busy. I see my friends less and less, especially those who have gotten married and/or had children. I can feel very alone at certain points. But not only did my friends plan a surprise party for me, they chipped in and over 35 people gave me money to help offset the costs of my upcoming kitchen renovation. As I kept reading the book, slowly realizing what was going on, I lost it again. There were pages from each person/couple who donated, and the ones who attended the party wrote a note on their page. The others will have to wait until I see them in person to fill in their pages. My friends are amazing.
The next day, I sent various texts to friends who contributed, thanking them again for their generosity and for the complete suprise. One friend said the kindest thing to me:
You are one of my best friends and you have always been there for me. You are also one of the most selfless and generous people I know. So many people feel this way about you. They/we might not be present all of the time or as much as we might want to be or you might want us to be, but for me, you are on my mind more than you realize. This gift to you is a mere token of the enormous amounts of appreciation and love we have for you. We are so lucky to have you in our lives! And we can't wait to see the joy on your face when you cook meals in your new kitchen!!!
The thing that stood out in what she said was the fact that I feel the same way about many of my friends -- even when I don't see people as often as I'd like, they are there in my mind and in my heart. I need to be better about letting them know. Thanks to all of you, and I can't wait to keep cooking for you!! xoxoxo
- I will never have an electric stove if I can help it. They are miserable to cook on.
- I love taking out e-books from the library, except that this time, I was 98% of the way through the book when it expired. Now I'm back on the waiting list to read the remaining 2%.
- Make this. It's easy and it looks impressive. You will thank me later.
- I have somehow lost two pieces of clothing. In my apartment. This is terrifying. Maybe it's a subtle reminder from the universe that I need to once again clean out my closet -- like for real take every last thing out until I can see the floor and the walls, vacuum, and replace things one by one. I'm sure they're in there somewhere.
- Although I don't necessarily jump on board the pumpkin spiced everything train, it smells good in the office when someone heats a pumpkin spiked something (bagel?) in the toaster (even though I'd never eat one myself).
- Did you know you that, at least in NYC, you can send your sweaters off to the drycleaners for the summer and only get charged for the cleaning and not the storage? Downside -- it takes approximately two weeks to get them back. I mis-calculated and had no cozy sweaters for OJ this year (19th annual, for anyone keeping track).
The other night, in need of some comfort (both physically and emotionally), I made myself one of my all-time favorite comfort food dishes -- carbonara. I know, I know -- I'm sure we could dive into why I seek comfort in food, but let's not go there right now.
What is it that I love so much about this dish? It's creamy, hearty, salty, and can generally be made with ingredients I have around the house. I do add one unorthodox ingredient (no, not cream): sauteed onions. I cook a few slices of bacon and then saute the onions in a bit of the rendered bacon fat. Onions and the bit of fat get mixed into the hot pasta along with egg and parmesan or pecorino cheese and just enough pasta water to make it all the right consistency.
Coincidentally, this comforting dish has also fueled most of my triathlons -- it's my go-to dish the night before a race.
Had a wonderfully relaxing end of summer weekend on Fire Island, complete with a Saturday night dinner on the grill. If only I had a grill in NYC. . .
I, like many, have strong feelings about everything bagels. I had one yesterday from Absolute Bagels that, in my opinion, was the perfect specimen. Given the many everything bagels I've had over the years, I've noticed a few things -- first, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, onion, and garlic seem to be non-negotiable. The two elements that tend to vary are salt and caraway seeds. For me, the salt should be there and makes for a superior bagel. The caraway, however, has no place whatsoever -- it takes over and ruins the whole thing.
At some point this weekend, I'll post pictures and a recap from my lovely week in California, but in the meantime, this shot of Joseph Phelps will have to tide you over...