I was in Paris on a photojournalism internship. I wandered the city, finding charming homes and picturesque old business buildings to photograph. I marveled at the cleanliness of the city (true or not) and remarked on an article about their careful treatment of the disabled. I was just ready to write my essay on the week and grieved as my sojourn came to an end. And then I woke up!
Meanwhile, back in the reality of Fort Worth and my kitchen, it was a food weekend. It began with Friday lunch. Jordan ad I have developed the habit of getting lunch from our favorite take-out, Local Foods Kitchen. This week, she said she didn’t need anything, but I said let’s go because they might have salmon cakes (a mutual favorite). We came home with a salmon cake each (I thought mine dry and made it into salad—so good), ceviche, egg salad, and a Hello, Dolly dessert (which my daughter declines to eat and I parcel out through the weekend). In addition, our neighbor sent over some roast duck. What a lunch! Friday night I had dinner with a group of interesting people at the Kimball Museum buffet—delicious quiche, salad, a wonderful cucumber/spinach vichyssoise.
Then Saturday, it was back to my kitchen. I spent much of Saturday cooking, following a New York Times recipe for spring lamb and a snap pea salad. I should have known the recipe called for cooking the meat too long—what they called “tender” I call overdone. I love beef and lamb medium rare, and after an hour, these lamb cubes were well done, like stew meat. Good flavor, but not what I expected when I sprang for that expensive meat. The salad was good and a learning experience—I have long wanted to shave cheese, and vegetable peelers just didn’t work. I found that my mom’s old square grater does a perfect job—we had shaved pecorino. I also let the mint for the salad wilt and it didn’t refresh in ice water. The salad called for thinly sliced fennel—I’ve never used fennel, thought I didn’t like it because of the licorice taste. I loved it—crunchy and crisp, with the licorice taste barely a hint. Phil, one of my guests, thought it was a new kind of onion; I said no, fennel, and he said, “Fennel onion?” My summation: I probably won’t use those recipes again, but the cooking was fun, I learned some things, and an evening with old and good friends was priceless.
Today I volunteered to make Doris’ casserole, a family favorite, since Jordan, Christian and Jacob were out of town until late afternoon. The casserole has a tomato/hamburger layer (seasoned only with garlic, salt and sugar); an egg noodle layer with cream cheese, sour cream, and scallions, and a top layer of grated cheddar. It’s irresistible. It's also in my cookbook, Cooking My Way Through Life With Kids and Books.
However, it’s 8:00 and I’m still waiting for dinner—which has to be cooked in the house since I have no oven. Jordan has gone to a friend’s to borrow jewelry, a bit of a disappointment because I thought we would sit and have family dinner together. Win some, lose some. I’m still hungry, but it will be worth waiting for. And once again, it was a lovely happy hour on the patio.