Hello again, friends. I didn’t intend to take nearly two weeks off from blogging, but the days got away from me, and I think I needed the break. After posting my last weekend post of 2013 I toyed with the idea of quitting blogging altogether, but Matt quickly talked me out of it, which is somewhat surprising considering he’s the one who suffers most while I take photos that delay his enjoyment of a hot meal. I think I need more variety in posting and fewer arbitrary deadlines because when a hobby becomes a chore, it’s no longer a hobby. Furthering my temporary disinterest in blogging was the fact that my nice camera, after being away for repair for the second time in less than a year, broke yet again with the first picture I took after its latest fix. Off it went for another several days, and I was stuck with just my phone as a camera. It was liberating at first, but when you see the difference in photo quality below, it’s pretty clear (I hope) which photos are from my phone and which are from my camera, and mediocre photos make the whole process less fun. So, after delaying learning how to use all of the features on my camera for the last year, I am forcing myself to shoot only in manual. Maybe learning more about it is the key to it not malfunctioning every six months.
And now to catch up (see, I’m too much of an over-sharer to quit blogging). Life has been busy. First there was New Year’s Eve, which we celebrated at a friend’s house with law school friends and a crowd of Brazilians. New Year’s Day was spent at home, cooking, watching football, and eating so many homemade pretzels with cheese dip that we skipped the big dinner that we’d planned. My mom was in town for another round of wedding dress shopping (a decision has been made!). We introduced her to Everest on Grand before spending the next few days eating a crazy amount of leftovers, we made falafel, and then one of us took off for Hawaii (not me). We did our first wedding registry and then celebrated a good friend’s birthday with too much vodka (me). Then it got really, really cold for the better part of a week, and I now know what an air temperature of -22 feels like, although I could’ve done without that life experience. I learned that fleece-lined tights are one of the best inventions, and one of the best times to rid your freezer of leftovers is when it’s too cold outside make a stop at the grocery store on your way home from work. It finally (finally) warmed up, and I’ve stocked up on groceries, enjoyed a couple of nice, single-layer-of-clothing runs and resumed a full schedule of activities in the kitchen. It’s been good, and it’s been exhausting.
Our last meal of 2013 was tilapia tacos with cabbage slaw, black beans, avocado and cumin crema. My goal for 2014 is to cook more fish.
Cooking our first meal of the new year.
Chocolate chip pancakes, sausage, soft scrambled eggs
Rye pretzels that we made quick work of with some thrown-together cheese sauce
It was as good as I’d remembered, and we were able to share it with my mom and also my dad, who enjoyed hand-delivered leftovers from my mom in an airport somewhere the following day.
Saturday morning breakfast tacos
Traditional roast chicken with lemon, garlic and herbs is fine and all, but roast chicken with harissa is my new favorite preparation. It’s just as simple as any other basic roast chicken, and biting a piece of crispy chicken skin that has a bit of a kick from the harissa is exactly how I want to spend 2014.
Roast chicken with sweet potato and regular oven fries and a cilantro-yogurt dipping sauce
Poppy, sesame and parmesan bagels
Bagel bonding of the best kind
When I saw this recipe for Cheaters’ Duck Confit, I knew that the time had come for me to cook duck for the first time. It’s always intimidated me, but when the only ingredients in a dish are duck, salt and butter and the method is slow cooking followed by a quick sear, it seems a lot more approachable. I spotted duck leg quarters at our co-op yesterday, and a mere $13 later I was well on my way to making a very indulgent main course.
Searing the duck legs after two-and-a-half hours in the oven and draining them of the butter and fat that they cooked in
Duck with roasted potatoes and a spinach salad with fennel, grapefruit and feta. As you can imagine, duck cooked in its own fat and butter coupled with creamy roasted potatoes and a bright salad was pretty much the best Sunday dinner ever.