Well, friends, it’s been a rough week. I’ve lost my appetite and shed my weight in tears. Fortunately, a couple of dear friends are coming into town this weekend and their presence will surely lift my spirits. In the meantime, I thought I’d share this chai ice cream recipe that I’ve been tinkering with over the past month. I brought the latest batch over to girls night this week and the girls say it’s just right. As a frozen treat with warming spices, it seems like an appropriate dessert for this in-between weather.
We drove east on Monday with a little black snow cloud in tow. It snowed all the way from Kansas City through St. Louis, Louisville, Lexington and Asheville. We finally found sunshine in South Carolina, where I admired the setting sun’s golden cast across the curves of the Appalachian mountains. We arrived in Nashville under a clear blue sky.
I thought I’d share this kale and brussels sprouts salad before we head back to Kansas City (I hope the sunny weather follows us all the way home). The salad straddles the line between winter and spring, with creamy tahini dressing coating crisp green leaves. It’s savory and satisfying and almost slaw-like in texture, thanks to the crunchy raw brussels sprouts and slivered almonds.
This recipe was inspired by a salad at Westside Local, one of my favorite Kansas City restaurants. They top their salad with pieces of crispy bacon and fried shallots. My less indulgent at-home version relies on parmesan and toasted almonds instead, but I enjoy this one just as much. I hope you will, too.
I missed my brother’s birthday last week. I’ve attended every one of his birthday celebrations until this year. I suppose 23 out of 24 is still pretty good, but I wish I could have been there. My dad sent me a picture of my two younger brothers sitting side-by-side on a restaurant booth at the birthday dinner. They’re are all grown up now, transformed from ornery boys into strapping young men. My burly baby brother is even sporting a new mustache. I’ll let it slide.
When we were little, I couldn’t appreciate our age differences. I was the smarty-pants older sister and I called them out on all their dumb mistakes. I really regret that I didn’t offer more supportive words when they did things right. If I could go back in time, I’d tell my younger self to let my brothers be boys. LET THEM BE BOYS.
IF I had been able to make the five hour drive home for my brother’s birthday, I would have made him this cake. It’s not too sweet so I think he would like it. My obsession with the concept began the moment I laid eyes on Melissa Clark‘s blood orange olive oil cake recipe while sitting cross-legged on a hotel bed in Atlanta with In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite. Blood oranges, olive oil… in a cake. Bonus points for yogurt.
Last week, I snuck off to Atlanta for a magazine conference. And for once, I thought to bring back-up snacks for my travels. They provided sustenance in the mornings, when breakfast ten floors down seemed so far away, and kept me calm when our flight home took a sudden detour from Chicago to Indianapolis during dinnertime.
Eating well, and often, is so ingrained in my daily life that I forget how crucial it is until I leave my kitchen behind for a few days. I rarely mention it here, but I’m hypoglycemic. Skipped meals, simple carbs and junk food turn me into a shaky, miserable, mumbling mess… and if you ask my mother, a monster. I’m at my worst when I’m hungry, and my most cheerful best when I’m well-fed. That’s why this food blog’s motto came to be “celebrating whole foods”.
I tried my first Larabar earlier this year, so I won’t assume that you have experienced one yet. Larabars are “energy” bars made with real ingredients like dates, nuts and other dried fruit or add-ins like chocolate. Their ingredients list is remarkably short, and they are surprisingly delicious for packaged food. Somehow their sum is greater than their parts.
Being a curious person (see also: cheap), it didn’t take me long to try making them myself. I’m glad I did, because these little square snacks made all the difference for my mood during the trip.
Now that spring is just around the corner, I’m experiencing an insatiable craving for all things green. I want fresh, green salads and light meals, and I can’t wait for sunny walks with Cookie under big, leafy trees.
Just this morning I squinted at the field across the street, which had been covered under a thick layer of snow like the Arctic tundra last week, and thought it might be turning a shade of pale green. And were those little green shoots emerging from the ground the beginning of daffodils? Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but at least I can fill up on fresh green produce while I wait.
For all the cookbooks and magazines and blogs I read, sometimes the inspiration for my recipes comes from happenstance. A couple weeks ago, during the marathon lentil meatball recipe testing, I served the latest batch alongside a simple arugula and parmesan salad. We roasted up some broccoli, and since we didn’t have room on our plates with the meatballs, we shrugged and tossed it on the salad. I knew we had stumbled onto something good at first bite—the roasted broccoli’s crispy, caramelized edges perfectly complemented the fresh green salad.
It began with a bang—the aforementioned explosion that rattled my place like an earthquake. Then came ten inches of snow, hushing the city save for some eerily low, rumbling snow thunder. The roads cleared; we went out on Friday night for dinner and a show. On the way home, we pulled forward at a green light while another driver ran a red light. She hit us hard, and she hit us head on. I didn’t see her coming. I looked over at him, bewildered and bleeding from the nose.
We’re ok, and so is the other driver, thankfully. The days since the smoking air bags and glittering glass have been a blur, with my work deadline, more snow, delayed-onset whiplash, an appointment with an ENT. There have been long laughs and lots of food, my first symphony experience and drinks at my friends’ backyard speakeasy. Life is good and we’re no worse for the wear. Speaking of which, do you ever stretch out your limbs and look them over, wondering what kinds of stories they will later have to tell? I do.