Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter is my favorite holiday. It celebrates the most wonderful event (hurray for Jesus!), which is by far the most important event to have ever occurred. Plus, it tends to fall around the time of the year when the weather turns warmer and toes start to emerge from boots and woolen socks to revel in all their pale and flip-flopped glory and tangle in newly sprouted grass. Easter also has the best candy (Cadbury's, anyone?).

This year's Easter was simple but lovely. I now work at a Ronald McDonald-esque house through one of the local hospitals, and I worked there Saturday night into Sunday morning. What with the holiday and my resparked yearn to bake, I decided it would be fun (for me as well as the house guests) if I whipped up some scones. I knew I wouldn't have time to bake them fresh Sunday morning, so I baked Saturday night instead. Instead of my usual lemon berry scones, I substituted the berries for dried cranberries and pistachios. The pistachios were just okay, but the cranberries tasted fabulous warm.

Bakelust satisfied for the moment, I woke up early Sunday morning for some God time, a simple breakfast of yogurt and banana, and to get the house in order before heading to church with the Best Husband Ever. Worship, as always, nourished my heart in ways that I could never put into words, and the message was good as well. After service, we headed home for lunch, watched some Firefly, then headed to Starbucks for a rocking game of Scrabble and a cappucino for me. Then we went to my inlaws' for Easter dinner, which was an amazing spread of ham, ginger carrots (my favorite dish), asparagus salad, potatoes baked with mustard (also quite amazing), and the most lovely and delicate dessert of angel food cake topped with fresh strawberries. An mmmmazing day, if you ask me.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Variety is the spice of life, they say. (Although I've never been able to quite figure out who "they" are. "They" do come across as rather opinionated, don't they?) That must explain why I like to try new things in the kitchen. Take last Friday, for example. The Best Husband Ever and I were invited to a "thank you and farewell" potluck dinner thrown in honor of a lovely man who is closing his much-beloved coffee shop. Needless to say, coffee was served, as were enchiladas, cookies, and a variety of salads.

Being a salad lover myself, I decided to contribute something a little . . . different on the vegetable front. At the time I had a quickly ripening spaghetti squash languishing on the top of my refrigerator. Usually such I either microwave or bake the squash until I can scoop out the stringed flesh with a fork, and then toss it with some mozzarella cheese and spaghetti sauce for a light and tasty alternative to pasta. I thought it would be hard to get such a dish to the potluck warm, however, so I decided to try my hand (and fork) at a spaghetti squash salad. The best thing that I can say for the result is that it was definitely different.

After harvesting the squash flesh, I tossed it in a bowl with some broccoli and wisps of peeled carrot (which actually looked quite lovely as they fluttered over the squash strands). Thinking that the concoction lacked something, I decided to add some balsamic vinegar. Bad move. The squash was still warm from the microwave, and the addition of the vinegar along with some black pepper) turned it into a damp lump of mush. Not so appetizing. I threw it in the fridge (and, later, the freezer in an attempt to speed things along) and hoped for the best.

"The best" was a tepid and still damp lump of mush. Even I, the greater lover and soliloquizer of both salads and squash, was put off by the mess. The hostess of the party accepted the contribution with her typical beautiful grace, but I don't think a single person touched the squash salad. My feelings weren't hurt, though, because I passed on the thing as well. Sometimes our most well-intentioned culinary adventures turn south. I suppose that it's more about the journey, though: the process and the enjoyment of the manipulation of food. So I will keep at it, and savor my squash, sauce, and cheese with even greater relish than before.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Isn't it strange how sometimes the right presentation of food will add that special something to a meal that will topple it over the edge from being good to being really good? My breakfast tradition these days sees me eating a cup of vanilla yogurt with sliced banana, usually accompanied by hot tea of some kind. And I always serve it in my favorite bowl, a turquoise craft of rather generic origin purchased at Target some time ago. But even more important to my superficial enjoyment of this simple meal is the utensil. I inherited this soup spoon from my parents (along with the rest of its more-or-less matching set) when I moved to Montana, who in turn had been passed the utensil set by my grandmother. I love this spoon. The voluptuous curves, the strong but not too heavy structure, the metal's pleasant wear -- perfection. So although I can eat my yogurt and bananas without my bowl and spoon dream team, I really would rather not.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hello, blogosphere!

I'm not dead. Not yet, anyway, Scout's honor and all that. But even while I still beat and breathe with the best of them, I have been a rather bad blogger. I am amazed that I still have twenty subscribed readers through Feedburner, so thank you for your patience and loyalty. It warms my heart like a new-baked muffin.

That said, I must impose on your patience further. Sadly, I don't have much to share in terms of muffination, fun recipes, or anything else food-related that is also of interest. But today is the six month anniversary of my marriage to the Best Husband Ever, which is a worthy update. (For another anniversary-themed post, check out my other blog, Wannabe Cowgirl.) To celebrate, I semi-surprised Josh with lunch at Finn & Porter, a swanky hotel restaurant, and a Scrabble dictionary. Our meal tasted delicious -- he had a pepperoni calzone called "the Jersey boy," to my great amusement, being a Jersey girl myself, and I had a chicken fiesta salad with amazing BBQ marinated peppers, avocado, and four perfectly formed nachos. Although we didn't break out the Scrabble dictionary after our meal, we did meander along the river to the public library. The entire afternoon was lovely, but even lovelier is my husband's heart.