Make and Eat Weekend

April 22, 2013 § 1 Comment

This weekend was a first. I had a friend come to visit me at my parents’ house in the country. As it is their house, I have always hesitated to invite people over, knowing that my mom gets a little nervy about the idea and wants everything to be perfect. Thankfully, this time must have been the right time. My good friend Alison wanted to come see the sights, and my mom was up for it (after some good cleaning, which needed to happen anyway and now we can enjoy it too). 

Though we live “far from civilization” as we like to say, I wasn’t worried about what Alison and I would do for entertainment. We’d cook.Image

There are so many things in both the Smitten Kitchen and Joy the Baker cookbooks that I’ve had my eyes on. We started with the beautiful and veggie-ful ratatouille sub from SK. I broke out my mandoline for the first time, and am proud to report that the red sauce you see there is only tomatoes. The sandwiches were flavorful and spurred our imaginations on to the endless variations you could create with them. Add prosciutto and goat cheese. Add any cheese. Add pepperoni and make it like a pizza sandwich. As they were, the bread was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, and the melange of warm, soft vegetables with the occasional bite from a bell pepper or onion slice made for happy munching.   Image

A trip to my dad’s fish farm later to help feed the hungry bass and bream and their brethren, and we were starving for dinner. Alison whipped up a quick white sauce with lots of black pepper and we grilled chicken to go with it, boiled some corn on the cob and sliced up sweet potatoes into oven fries.

Sunday dawned beautiful, windy but sunny, so we enjoyed a nice long walk after a breakfast of eggs and the fantastic Touch of Grace biscuits. The afternoon is a blur of charred T-bones my dad threw on the grill and this….this ice cream that opened up a whole new world of ice cream making. Joy the Baker’s strawberry cookie dough ice cream is chock full of cookie dough chunks and sweet-tart strawberry essence. Of course, we couldn’t wait for it to chill any longer and dug into some while it was still mostly milk and cream soup. Still delicious and worth the effort. Image

Here’s to more visits to and from this partner in fine cooking and eating and walking and talking and laughing. (And maybe a more technologically savvy camera guy. No offense, Dad.) Image


And so it goes

April 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

A week, sometimes even just a day, can take you through a surprising emotional range. It’s been one of those around here. To hear, all in the course of five days, the news of a new job extended and yourself accepting, to see a friend home from overseas with a glow in her eyes and the adorable baby bump that is the cause, and to learn that the father of another dear friend has left this world because of cancer…it makes for a lot to process and absorb. The heart leaps and swells; the hearts seizes and sighs. The ability of joy and sadness to coexist was made more apparent to me this week. Even in the midst of the pain of a loved one passing, the hope of a life beyond this one was celebrated today at his funeral. He was a man of faith, the father of my friend Shelley, and it was a faith that grew stronger as the end grew certain. Through the tears, seeing the faith and belief of Shelley and her family encouraged and fortified me in my own journey. My heart is full of the hope hoped for, and the glimpses that we get on this side of the veil. In life, there is death; in death, there is life. In times like this, we search for meaning, and my heart keeps coming back to what the pastor mentioned today, that, in Christ, all this that we face will be redeemed one day. God Bless and comfort those who mourn. God Bless those who rejoice. God be near to us.

The Skies Have It

April 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

Today was a glorious day, weather-wise. It was a true spring day with budding greenness on a backdrop of pure blue. A constant breeze ruffled my hair and tree branches and kitties’ fur.

Ah, Spring. That oft skipped-over season that Alabama weather usually leaves behind in favor of scorching its residents, tanning our hides and prepping us to be returned to the dust from whence we came. This lull, this peaceful calm before that inevitable boiling summer, makes me grateful and, today, turned me out of doors to enjoy it with a book and a rocking chair. Following a few gray, chilly, rainy days, today made me feel like Marianne in that scene from the Ang Lee-directed Sense and Sensibility movie: “There’s some blue sky! Let us chase it!” IMG_3564


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