Things I have eaten this weekend:
Thai dumpling soup. Flavors of lemongrass and cilantro punctuate the tangy soup, filled with potstickers and veggies like green beans and celery.
Lemon raspberry crumble bars. The crust is essentially dense cake, and the filling of lemony cream cheese is a fantastic textural and flavor contrast to the fresh raspberries.
Roasted vegetable chickpea salad. I only had a quick sample of it, but the crumbled feta cheese in it made for an intriguing flavor, and I can’t wait to have more.
Dill pickles. Sure, you’re thinking, big deal. No, these weren’t mass produced. These were made at home. The most garlicky, most sour dill pickles I’ve ever had. If you like your pickles with attitude and flavor, you’d love these.
Spicy apricot cream cheese crescent cups. (Not the simplest name.) Soft, pillowy dough with smooth cream cheese, smothered in an apricot sauce that’s subtly spiced with jalapeno.
Roasted brussels sprouts. But wait — they have a pomegranate balsamic reduction, and both orange and lime zest. They taste, believe it or not, almost like a sweet and sour candy.
Parmesan pecan rice. With the shredded parmesan cooked into the rice, it’s gooey, salty, and nutty.
Cocoa-rubbed steak with bacon bourbon gravy. I’m going to give you a moment here. Okay, now I’m going to repeat that. Cocoa-rubbed steak with bacon bourbon gravy. Cooked in a cast-iron skillet, the steaks stay juicy; the gravy, which also has very finely chopped leeks, isn’t necessary to keep things smooth, but trust me, you don’t want to go without it.
Those of you who know me should not be surprised that all of this was made in my own kitchen; my wife, Ann, is pretty much an uncredentialed chef. Coming soon: English muffin bread and upside-down apple pie.
So, yes. There are days when I’m down and depressed, and I’m not too happy with my life. But then there are weekends like this, where I get to brag, sit back, and feel ridiculously lucky that I didn’t get by on ramen noodles and bologna.
(Incidentally, Sage likes crescent rolls — no surprise. However — and this is a big surprise — she was absolutely nuts for those incredibly sour, garlicky pickles. She didn’t even make a pucker-face.)
(Also, incidentally, I apologize to any of you who now have caught in your head the same thing I have caught in mine. Puh-puh-puh-pucker face, puh-puh-pucker face.)