My neighbor came home with way more cherries than they needed after visiting a valley farm, and–because they are amazing–I got enough for a pie. And my writing partner lent me her cherry pitter because she’s cool that way.
Of course my favorite favorite pie is lemon meringue, but who has time for hand-made meringue? Cherry is my other favorite, especially with mountains of whipped cream.
I also get to eat myself sick in the preparation phase of piemaking, so there’s that. Never underestimate a good cherry pitter, my friends, and have a lovely weekend.
I recently attempted jalapeño poppers for the first time. The filling was a mix of cream cheese, garlic, and shredded mozzarella. The Prince fell instantly, totally in love; the Princess decided she could take ’em or leave ’em. The dogs were extremely pleased with bacon drippings, since I only had three jalapeños and while I could have wrapped them in a whole package of bacon, well, I didn’t.
Me? I’ll gladly make them for other people, but eating more than two is unpleasant at best.
Those two, though, are fantastic. And I’m quite proud of myself for Trying Something New. One has to every now and again, to keep the stomach guessing.
I have taken to experimenting with my red sauce. This time, after the tomatoes and garlic had enough time to sweat, cook, and reduce, I took out the bay leaves and used a stick blender to puree everything, then added browned meat, mushrooms (raw but rinsed because I wanted all their juiiiiicues and glutamic acids), seasonings, and carrot bits.
Carrots are your friend in tomato sauces. They provide sugar and fiber to soak up the tomatoes’ acidity, buffering what could be a watery, astringent mess. You don’t need to use white sugar if you add chopped-fine or grated carrots, and the result in the finished sauce is ever so subtle but unignorable.
I’ll be using the red sauce to make lasagna in a crock pot today, and I’m looking forward to it. I will not be making the noodles by hand; I do have some limits.
It’s kind of funny, because I hate lasagna…but that’s a story for another day.
The other day I wanted potato-leek soup. You can do it quickly, of course, but I like roasted potatoes in mine, and I have very definite needs for the leeks. The bottoms must be soft and the tops still a little crunchy-stringy, which means a multi-stage cooking process.
My ex used to make his own particular soup, one the kids adored. They like mine, but it’s not the same–and we don’t have it often, because the smell can remind them of the time of the divorce. It wasn’t contentious, they just don’t like that part of the reminder. There were good things about that process, too.
It isn’t just soup. It’s memory and survival, hope and endurance, bitter laughter and amazed tears, all in one pot. Food is rarely just fuel.
May you reclaim dishes you love, my friends; and may you look around the table and think, we made it, we survived. And may that thought fill you with peace instead of despair.