I’ve been jonesin’ for Rosé since returning from Paris and I’m no wine expert, but I could be with the variety I’ve enjoyed over the years. I’m just not interested in being an expert, preferring to enjoy what I’m sipping when I’m sipping it. Often. I do know enough to get me in trouble, however, and so while we were on vacation, I spent the two weeks away from my usual Chardonnay, which when one is from California, is a staple.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about locally grown food lately — not unusual for me by any means, but my thoughts have just been more intensely focused. So it shouldn’t be unusual for an article like “Butchers’ Banquet: England’s Lincolnshire Wolds” published in the October 2011 issue of Saveur to have an impact on me. I’m always looking for truly good recipes for traditional food, and even though I’m not British, I have solid connections. In 1881 at the age of three, my great-grandfather sailed with his family from Newport, Wales to San Francisco hoping to find inexpensive land where his family might grow apples. But that’s a story for another day.
This is more about the group of men mentioned in the article who have gotten together over years and years to enjoy a Sunday meal each week. They know where the food has been grown, how it’s been grown, and have prepared it to showcase its quality. Of course, it helps that they’re in the business. I’d like to be invited to a table like that to hear the talk and understand more about what they know. I’ll work on that from here in San Diego and maybe, just maybe, by the end of this year, I’ll know more about the more than 6,000 farms in our county and the farmers who tend them.
In the meantime, I thought I’d share these great Steak & Guinness pies with you. My father-in-law loves Stilton and will jump at any excuse to tuck his napkin into his shirt and cozy up to a plate of hot food like this with a pint. The recipe isn’t challenging, but does take some time, so plan ahead. It’s worth it.
The calendar asserts that summer is dwindling, but I know better.
Damp air, flat, steely skies until late in the morning and an urge to put on a sweater are only teasers of what will come much later here than most other places in the country. Usually, I allow myself to be lulled into remembering all that I love about Fall weather after having had weeks of heat and humidity, but not this year.
No, I’ve enjoyed the blue skies and temperate weather — pleasant breezes that keep the house cool and the pots on our patio from needing constant watering. I haven’t had my fill yet, but know by the time September has passed, I’ll be ready. It’s usually our warmest month, only once every blue moon or so bringing blustery showers and a thunderstorm. But it’s been years since we’ve seen that.
So for now, a bowl of soup is fine.
Something bright and full of flavor, but not packed with calories.
Take advantage of all the beautiful sweet peppers at the market right now — or if you’re lucky enough to grow them yourself — and try this roasted sweet pepper soup. If you’re thinking it’s still not quite soup weather yet, then freeze it. It’s worth waiting for.
You’ve had one of those classic ice cream sandwiches.
The rectangular shaped, paper wrapped treats of vanilla ice cream encased in a pair of soft, pock marked chocolate cookies? The damp wrapper is slowly pulled away, leaving bits of cookie and ice cream stuck to it and you can decide whether you want to lick those away before rewrapping a portion of it to keep the cookie from sticking to your fingers as you eat it. But I never did that. It interfered with being able to enjoy the quickly softening ice cream first, running my tongue up one side and down the other before taking my first bite. Sticky finger clean-up followed.
Every day during my first summer after high school, I had one of those soggy frozen treats straight from the vending machine outside a Cultural Geography class my then boyfriend cajoled me into taking so I’d get three units out of the way before beginning my freshman year in college. The ice cream sandwiches were his idea as was the everyday habit. He was thin by nature, and I because I never seemed to eat anything in those days, so eating vending machine junk food at 10 am during our daily break seemed just fine. That was then.
I’ve had ice cream sandwiches since then, but sadly, they’re more soggy than I remember, much smaller, and the bits and pieces clinging to my fingers not so charming. So what’s an ice cream sandwich lover to do?
Make her own.
No sogginess. Creamy ice cream to lick along the sides. No sticky fingers to clean up.
The oatmeal and raisins keeps them from being junk food, right?
Monday has become my favorite day of the week. My husband will tell you it’s because he’s gone back to work leaving me to my quiet house and accompanying quiet life, but I’d say it has more to do with looking forward to all that a new week brings.
For us, this particular week marks the last of a grueling busy season which begins in earnest after the first of the year, slowly building in intensity with extended hours of work each day. At first, the hours are added on the end of weekdays, then begrudgingly, the alarm is set earlier in the morning as well. Saturdays at the office quickly follow, and a card table surfaces on Sundays in our family room where production is set up for a good six hours or more with any number of sports playing on the muted TV. This year, our SDSU Aztecs’ winning season and March Madness provided a pleasant diversion until their crushing loss to UCONN.
But there’s always next year, isn’t there?
This past week, the days have been more than 12 hours long. Saturday was a full day, and Sunday, the card table was left folded against a wall in the living room for another full day spent at the office.
Only seven days remain.
Dinner is usually not complicated because we eat late. I wait for him so we can have a bit of time together, maybe watch a recorded show.
A good grilled sandwich is perfect for a Sunday evening after an 85-hour work week. The sweet potato fries I was going to make to enjoy with our panini will just have to wait for an evening later this week.
Do you have a panini pan?