When we first moved to France in the late ‘80s my mother and I used to watch ads on TV with fascinated bewilderment. The game was always to try and figure out what exactly was being advertised. Admittedly some of our bafflement can be chalked up to the sketchy nature of our French comprehension at the time, but a lot of it has to be attributed to the artistically mysterious nature of French ads. Even ten years later when I was fluent in French, I would frequently get to the end of an ad and have absolutely no idea what was being sold. I’m not sure that this is the mark of a particularly successful ad campaign, although it did make them entertaining to watch. Read the rest of this entry »
I am always fascinated by what people select for their Birthday Dinners. I feel like I ought to be able to divine some deep psychological meaning from their choices. Mostly, however, what I learn is that we all like corn pudding, and that we lack restraint or subtlety when it comes to dessert. I find that Birthday requests tend to go one of two ways – either people start with an old favorite dish, and then get experimental with their dessert option; or they opt for a new recipe for their main course and go old school with dessert.
This year’s Birthday Dinner dessert requests have been the antithesis of understated. I started us off this year by asking for something that answered to the names ooey and gooey, and involved chocolate. I got a cake so decadent and amazing that nine months later I’m still thinking about it – chocolate peanut butter heaven.
December 3rd – Post-Thanksgiving Dinner
Tomato Ginger Chicken Curry
Saag with Butternut Squash
Spiced Basmati Rice
Sometimes I use the Dinner after Thanksgiving to dispose of any lingering Thankgiving leftovers lurking in my kitchen. However, this year we went out for Thanksgiving dinner, so I had no leftovers to creatively repurpose. So, I indulged myself by making the spicy-tomatoey wildly inauthentic chicken curry I’ve been craving for several weeks, and pairing it with my favorite buttermilk based saag recipe made with chard and kale. Possibly I pleased myself in this meal more than I pleased the rest of Dinner, but sometimes I get to be a little self-indulgent. I promise next week will be tamer. Read the rest of this entry »
November 26th – Deconstructed (Pre)-Thanksgiving Dinner
Pumpkin White Bean Chili
(slightly) Spicy Cranberry Jam
The Dinner before Thanksgiving is always an exercise in devising a menu that is somewhat light in anticipation of the excesses of Thanksgiving, and isn’t based around roasted chicken of any description. This year I decided early on that what I was craving was hominy, and I figured I’d make my standard Butternut Squash Chili which is light, un-Thankgiving-y, and involves hominy, plus is quick and easy to put together which fulfilled every requirement I had for a meal that week. A minor wrench was thrown in my plans when unexpectedly a friend’s husband was going to be able to come to Dinner because they were acquiring a babysitter in the form of a grandparent – the wrench was that he’s vegetarian (or, okay, kosher, but effectively vegetarian for my purposes). I initially regretfully said that wasn’t going to work, slept on it, hit myself upside the head and emailed to say I clearly shouldn’t talk after 9pm at night because I’m moronic. And with a week to think about it, cobbled together a recipe for a vegetarian chili that was easy, involved hominy, AND HAD PUMPKIN IN IT. Ahem, I’ve been feeling an unseasonal lack of pumpkin in my life lately. So really, the hitch in my carefully laid plans, was all to the good. Read the rest of this entry »
Dinner November 19th – Birthday Season Part IV
Hoisin Pulled Pork
Crunchy Peanut Slaw
Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Gingery Sweet Pickled Vegetables
Twix Cake Read the rest of this entry »
Molasses Black Pepper Pulled Chicken
Creamed Corn Cornbread
Apparently I was so frazzled this week I took not a single picture.