Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Supper: Spring Cleaning

Even though it snowed last night, we woke to a big hard sun shining through the sea pines. Hustling to beat the next cloudburst, we pulled on our fleece and hats for a run up the bluff with the pup, humming Old Crow Medicine Show tunes while tossing snowballs. For breakfast, the Crab Festival in Depot Bay. Seafood for breakfast? Yeah, baby...washed down with chocolate sundaes.

Me With Crabs

In the afternoon, we went our separate ways. The Ranger weeded his garden: mustard greens, peas, scallions, radishes, carrots, spinach, broccoli and barrels of herbs. And I watched from the porch. With a glass of Sauvignon Blanc...nothing says spring like SB. "Hey, you missed a spot."

I used to be such an enthusiastic gardener back in my doctor's wife-life. The big Nob Hill house enjoyed an abundant grape arbor, a small orchard of peaches and pears, rosemary bushes the size of Mini Coopers and terraces of lavender, thyme, and prickly pear. But like so many other things in this Second Edition, I've decided I'm done. Done with gardening and refurbishing an old house; no more grout or paint rollers or building sun shades. Friends tell me this is a passing phase, that I'll recover my desire to nest, but really I think I'm inherently lazy and would rather watch the Ranger take off his shirt and hoof it through the mud.

I may eat a lot, but I'm traveling light these days. When the Surgeon and I split, I was offered half the furniture, half the art work, half the garden tools. But all I packed were my books, clothes, music, Calphalon pots and pans, a set of Japanese knives and the Le Creuset dutch oven. (And oddly, the Surgeon's bed from graduate school...but that's a whole other post.) Even the closet full of Coach handbags ended up at the local women's shelter (The Chef finds this incredibly amusing). I wasn't being virtuous or generous or reaching for a Zen Buddhist state. I was simply exhausted. My give-a-shit muscle had snapped.

Oh, and as I recently discovered, I took a box of clippings. Throughout my marriage, I'd kept a file of recipes that I'd cut from all the magazines I used to subscribe to: Saveur, Bon Appetit, Cook's Illustrated, Gourmet. I had tapped a few dishes for dinner parties, marked several with ** that were the Surgeon's favorites, but for the most part, the clippings remained neatly organized and untouched, not unlike me inside the recipe box of my marriage.

It seemed a waste.

So today I got cooking. From the archives.

For lunch, a warm lentil salad with carrots, celery, shallots, lots of garlic and parsley tossed with a zippy mustard vinagrette. Then on over to Italy for a thrown together Caprese.

For dinner, a hash of roasted butternut squash, wild mushrooms, onion, garlic, sage, and thyme, tossed with pasta, ricotta, asiago and tons of parsley. I'm suffering from parsley passion these days. Plus, the secret ingredient that made all the difference. Lemon confit, courtesy of Cindy's Delicious Durango kitchen. You gotta love friends who send supplies.

What to keep? What to throw away? Isn't that what spring cleaning is all about? Me, I'm keeping my distance from the garden until harvest time. And I'm throwing away the archives. Okay, maybe only half of them. Seems I don't really need comfort foods anymore.


Flutephobia said...

I'm a firm believer that one has several phases of comfort food. I used to love chicken & dumplings. Now my comfort foods are watercress & parsley. Isn't parsley great? I could say I want to have parsley every day, but I already do, because I'm a parsley whore.

Erin said...

So, before you go into full spring food mode, here's one from my archives...As you know, Passover started this weekend - if you'd been here you would have been eating this brisket with us at the seder...instead you'll have to cook it yourself, chica! Do it, though. The Ranger will love it, you do love it, and it's one last salute to hearty winter fare. Get online and get the recipe for Brisket with Dried Apricots, Prunes and Aromatic Spices (Bon Appetit 2002). Labor intensive (2 days) but oh so worth it. A little potato kugel on the side and a nice red and l'chaim to you, my friend.

Second Edition said...

Sounds delish, my little kugel. Will you leave the door open for me, too, and, it Isaac?

the bastard son of moe ginsberg said...

My boy Elijah the Prophet.
I am totally down with Passover.

Kylita said...

Mamacita! This posting is the cat's ass!!! (in a good way!) So, are you turning me onto another awesome music group? I clicked onto OCMS and think I've gotta go out and buy my Honey a CD by them. He'll go insane over these guys! And this food...makes me want to eat goooooodddddd! My Honey being a Cancer the Crab, seeing all those little crabbies in a row was a fearsome sight, but I betcha they are tasty! (with Butta)
We are grilling out this Saturday, had to cut down our 40-50' cedar (sniff) and we're going to burn some and do a ceremony. Thanks for these photos to drool for! (Hey! how about a real photo of YOU! come out of your Shadow!?) ;o)
(Girls with glasses rock!)
KLH-keep laughin' honey! xo

Kylita said...

p.s. My Dad always had a big garden and I ate parsley all the time, and my brother bought me a gold-plated piece of parsley necklace ... so I am THE parsley whore! And so detoxifying, too!