My daughter, Josie, loves playing in the dirt. On the way to the park, she will get distracted, lose sight of the promise of the swings to stop and play in a big puddle. Mud soup, she calls it, as she stirs it around with a long stick. This year we planted our little container garden together.
For a taste of DC, I like to bring out of town guests for crabcakes at Eastern Market, salty oat cookies and chai tea at Teasim, oysters at Union Market, or Ethiopian. Ethiopian food is often the hardest sell to people who have never tried it. The clincher is the spongy bread used in place of utensils. You either love injera or you hate it. I happen to love it. But even more, I love the spicy red lentils that are often the primary attraction on the vegetarian plate.
This soup is a keeper. It's light, but filling. Full of flavor (thanks to adding more dill and spinach then the recipe calls for). It can be made on Sunday and eaten throughout the week (for lunch or dinner). Word to the wise, though, if you are planning on eating this throughout the week, wait to add the orzo. Otherwise, it soaks up the liquid and your soup becomes a dish of wet orzo. The recipe is here.
So you have your perfectly cooked scallops, now what to serve with them? If it were December I would recommend a creamy polenta, but it's summer, so we want something light, but not too light, since those scallops are not as filling as, say for example, short ribs. So how about a favorite basic: Israeli couscous. It's not as heavy as pasta, but it tastes like pasta. Plus you can serve it hot or cold. Add whatever seasonal ingredient you like. I used melon in this recipe, asparagus in this one, raisins in this one, and arugula in this one. I guess it's safe to say that Israeli couscous is a staple in my kitchen.
It feels like Spring has long passed. I find hints of her here and there, hiding behind the summer heat. There she is: a cool breeze at night, Sunday rain showers, tulips at the market, and these North Carolina peas. I bought them on the last day of May, an appropriate way to say goodbye to Spring and hello to Summer, I thought. Making a Spring pasta isn't difficult. Fresh herbs are a must, but beyond that you can throw anything into your pot.
I'm vacationing on the Outer Banks this week. It's wonderful. I get to do things I never have time for, like read books and cook without the pressure of a clock weighing on me. So far there have been lots of delicious dinners. I ordered a tortilla press one year ago. A year passed and no handmade tortillas. Then I saw this article in the June issue of Bon Appettit for tacos and thought there is no better place for a taco party then on vacation, at the beach, so I packed my tortilla press. One of the first nights we were on vacation, we made homemade corn tortillas.
If I tell you what I did today, you will be totally jealous. Ready? I took a pasta making class with Mrs. Wheelbarrow. Taking a class with Cathy was on my culinary resolutions list from 2011. So, finally, a few years later, I can check it off. It was totally fun, informative, and tasty. Cathy really knows her stuff and shared lots of helpful tips. We made pasta dough, ricotta and potato gnocchi, and, my favorite, spinach and ricotta gnudi. Oh, and how could I almost forget? We also made super fancy raviolis with spinach, ricotta, and a soft boiled egg gently placed inside. You cut into the ravioli and it runs a river of creamy, yolky deliciousness through your pasta, creating a creamy sauce. How impressive is that?
The smorgasbord is over. It's been a 39 days since I gave birth. And after 9 months of gaining weight--a whopping 45 pounds--the jig is up. Yes, that's right. Forty. Five. Pounds. Surprise! That's what happens when you lay in bed and eat a steady diet of pasta with butter and cheese.
Post birth, my friends and family spoiled us, dropping off dish after dish. They just kept coming. Not wanting to offend anyone I ate every delicious bite. I. had. to. eat. it. all. I just had to. Not to mention there was no time to cook. No time to shower. No time to [insert any adult related activity here].
Despite the family and friends cook for you diet, about 25 pounds of my weight gain just disappeared...slid off or out of my body. The remaining twenty? No so much. I can see that it wants to hang around. Literally. It's time to get back to moderation and some exercise. But, before I make like Jennifer Hudson, how about a some creamy pasta, a so-called last supper? In other famous last diet words: I'll start tomorrow!