Monday, September 27, 2010

Comfortable

There's such a refreshingly relaxed vibe with old friends.  I was so happy to have two girls in town this weekend that I've known since the awkward days of 6th grade.  The visit was defined by lots of giggles, absolutely no schedule and an overdose of non-fussy food.  I made chocolate cheesecake in preparation for their arrival.  Lacking a springform pan, I made Marth's original recipe in a 9-inch Pyrex pie dish and was sort of surprised that the result was fine.  I mean, it looked like a cheesecake, just not as it's typically presented.  Though we didn't dive in for our full serving until we met the welcomed company of expandable pants, the couch, and a completely girly movie later that night, I'll tell you that that we added an impromptu slathering garnish of whipped cream, which I threw together with leftover heavy cream (courtesy of last weekend's key lime pie), sugar and a bit of vanilla extract.  I can't locate the cheesecake recipe online right now, and honestly, I think it's a sign.  Though it was decadently rich, I actually hoped for something more complex (or sweeter?  something? If it was entirely amazing on its own, why would feel compelled to add a mound dollop of whipped cream?).  I think this is what I'll try next time:  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Deep-Dark-Chocolate-Cheesecake-236209

I love a nice bowl of something warm, especially as fall approaches (let's pretend it wasn't 95 degrees in Richmond that day).  For lunch, I made Japanese Chicken Scallion Rice Bowls.  These are super fast, delicately sweet, and satisfying enough to fill you up.  But get this- they are also LIGHT.  I highly recommend these, especially for a lady's lunch or an easy week night meal.  http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/japanese_chicken_scallion_rice_bowl.html

We dined out for dinner, literally following our noses to the location amidst a stroll down Cary Street.  Seriously, we were headed some place else but stopped when something smelled delicious at Thai Ginger. Crazy me - I actually asked a person sitting on the terrace what he was eating.  I could tell my girlfriends were slightly mortified, but I'm not regretful since it ensured we'd properly order the amazingly aromatic yellow curry!  It was spicy... the good kind of spice that hits you at the end after the other flavors - first sweet, then savory - have made their journey through the senses.  We took my favorite approach in sharing this dish, along with Thai cashew chicken, spicy basil beef, and fried tofu with peanut dipping sauce.  I expected a creamy peanut sauce as the accompaniment and was pleasantly surprised by a pool of dark broth with chopped peanuts swimming through it.  Sorry I didn't catch a picture of this.  I think we had sufficiently devoured it before the other stuff arrived.  

Despite forgetting to pick up ricotta at the store, I still stuck with my breakfast plan of a potato basil frittata to fill the girls' bellies before their drive home.  This is a fairly common go-to morning dish for me, because it's (most importantly) yummy, but also bakes in the oven to avoid any last minute running around.  By the way, while Gruyere cheese is totally the best, you can make this with whatever cheese you want.  That particular morning, I mixed sharp white cheddar with Swiss and added far more than the recipe suggested in an attempt to make up for the lack of uniquely textured ricotta with boldly flavored, cheesy gooeyness.  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/potato-basil-frittata-recipe/index.html

Though unrelated to the weekend, I'll share one more comfortable dish before I sign off.  It's another simple weeknight meal that the kids will eat.  The reduced beef broth adds nice dimension to what might otherwise be a relatively boring dish.  My honest opinion is that it is pleasantly satisfying as spelled out in the recipe....but it's darn tasty with a generous heap of freshly grated Parm (gotta be the good stuff) on top and a snuggly glass of red wine. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/bow-tie-pasta-with-sausage-and-sweet-peppers/Detail.aspx

2 comments:

Christy said...

I appreciate this post so much...packed with information, resources, your take on the recipe and what you would add to make it better. I especially like that I can hear your precious voice and intonations in your wording.

Adding fresh parm to anything makes it better! :)

Rebekah said...

So bummed I missed this event (hoping I would be invited if I were on the East Coast)! I thought of happy food times in Tappahannock and Fairfax. I can still taste the beef bourguignon. And the oreo truffles which later appeared at my wedding. love.

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