Here in my end of the world we had a practically nonexistent winter. Which means its february and its already a hundred million degrees outside. And that, in my opinion is weatherchannel code for wearing silky dresses, sitting on sunny terraces eating carpaccio and having rosé. Sounds heavenly, I know. And that is what I try to do with my time…when I’m not having emotional meltdowns/family fights/random bursts of craziness. Which is what happens post holidays in my world. (And yes, february is still post-holidays) But since the weather permits it, I can pull my old trick of making ceviche right and left, because as I once told you over here, there is nothing as therapeutic, calming, relaxing, forget-everything-else-ing, as grabbing your sharpest knives and just spending 20 minutes dicing away. There’s something about the clean cuts, the even tiny cubes, and the simplicity of ceviche that just makes everything feel in order, in its proper place, balanced out with all the flavors in the mix. And that is how I like my head to feel. So even though I missed winter, I’m glad I have an excuse to make so much of this summery, light, brilliant dish. On to the recipe? Read more. Continue reading
Things change. Plans change. Life changes. Most of the time, we resist it, but fortunately, there’s no escaping it; because change is good, even if endings are hard and letting go is a unimaginable task. But sometimes you’re stuck in a period of nonchange. A period of stagnant, boring, incredibly defeating, un-motivating, seemingly neverending, nonchange. And that, THAT, is when I feel the need to do something drastic, to get out of bed and get in the car and drive until gas runs out, to paint my bedroom walls a crazy neon color, to tell everyone around me about that time when they said something I didn’t like and was hurt, to chop my hair off…anything. But since I am me, and behaving properly always ends up winning and I never do any of those crazy, apparently liberating things, I’ve roasted. I’ve roasted a turkey breast in my need to do something big and exciting. I know…most people would say I’m not even slightly walking out of the boundaries of the nonchange box, and they would be right, I am not. But I’ve had three hours of therapeutic smells coming from the frying pan, the oven, and the delicious platter that comes out of it. So in my opinion, this turkey roast is great, even if it’s not neon-colored. And there’s nothing like soft, warm potatoes roasted in turkey juices and served with a dollop of cream to make you forget about that ugly, stinky box.
Yesterday I came home and popped into my laptop Rossini’s Barbieri di Seviglia (I know, I’m getting stranger by the day) and then set on to search for a classic french onion soup, which I did not have to do for long since Smitten Kitchen, as usual, had the answer for me quite soon. So I grabbed 4 big, shiny, smooth onions and set them on the chopping board. I grabbed the knife, I sliced once, I sliced twice. And then I stopped. What on earth was I thinking???? I’d completely forgotten that onions, or any of their cousins (red onions, shallots, garlic, spring onions, chives, you name it!) will have me in tears within seconds. And I’m not talking about watery eyes or a runaway tear. I’m talking grab-the-tissues-now stuff. I don’t know why so much, but it’s always been that way. I’ve tried super ultra sharp knives. I’ve tried cold onions straight from the fridge. There’s nothing that can help it. In fact, I remembered as I held the onion with great hatred in my hand and cried in between bouts of Figaro Figaro Figaro coming from my computer, when I worked in cooking school and I had to prepare for recipes which included onions, I would always trade with the other assistants for anything else. I’d much prefer to remove the scales from your smelly fish! So why would I subject myself willingly to all that slicing of the stinky critter?? The reason, of course, is that there is nothing quite like french onion soup. Even if I had to eat it with puffy eyes and a red nose. Deb uses Julia Child’s recipe, which she kindly provides with friendly measures. The only thing I changed was the bread, which I changed for American pumpernickel since I didn’t have any other, but it was actually an incredibly good twist. The caraway seeds such a pleasant surprise in the hot, caramelized goodness of the onions.
Recipe here: French Onion Soup at Smitten Kitchen
So friday night I faced the task of putting together a whole dinner after having something of a mini-nervous-attack, which was not in the slightest related to my kitchen, cooking, or anything similar, but to other more troublesome situations of life, but which nonetheless left me with a bad case of shaking hands at around 6 pm; dinner was supposed to be served at 8:30 and I had in front of me a huge pile of vegetables to slice, raw tuna to turn into cubes and a bunch of sauces to prepare. After a well chilled glass of Martin Codax albariño though, my hands found half of their steadiness and so off I set preparing sauces. Due to the lack of time, I did not make recipes out of any of these (Because who has time to measure, photograph, slice, dice, skewer, write down *and* be calm and collected?) but I’ll share with you the menu and a few of the shots I did manage to take. If you’re interested in any of the dishes let me know and I’ll gladly explain how to make it!
The tuna chalupitas (which are a sort of mini toasted tortilla) with a spicy and sweet soy sauce dressing:
(Excuse my picture, it was taken after most of them were gone. Oh, and I must add thanks to my previous photography helper friend @danmijares)
The baked potatoes, which were served with a cream-cheese, chives and heavy cream sauce:
And the skewered and grilled chicken, meat, eggplants, mushrooms, asparagus, and baby onions, served with a sweet and sour asian-y sauce:
This weekend I ate waaay too much. It all started with Friday night dinner, to which none of my friends confirmed in time except for a couple, leaving me with that old question, “How much am I supposed to cook??” I had in mind an oven-roasted chicken with mushrooms and potatoes, but if I made that and only two showed up then who was supposed to eat all the rest? And so baby burgers came to the rescue! If I made too much (which indeed I did) I could just store the meat for the day after. Which brings me back to why I ate so much this weekend. Yeah, of course I had leftover burgers for lunch on Saturday! I know, two days in a row? But they’re just so cute and delicious that you would have done the same.
See? They’re too cute. Anyway, they’re actually rather easy to make, you just have to be organized with your timing. I served mine with small salad bowls and oven-baked french fries. (which I’m sure don’t qualify as french fries ’cause they’re not fried?). The result was platters with the small burgers, small salads, and also small servings of the fries, letting everyone have as much as they wanted. Don’t let the tiny cuteness fool you though, as is often the case with small food, you’ll son be more full than you expected! Read more for the recipe!