We’ve been in our house for about three months now, and we love, love, love it. But looking at this poor, neglected blog makes me feel a little like I feel when my parents go home after a visit. You mean the dishwasher hasn’t been unloading itself, and the coffee maker doesn’t fill itself up with water every morning? I actually have to write these posts? Oops.
I’ve made a handful of new Contessa recipes since we’ve moved in, but I’m afraid the photos were neglected. Filet of Beef au Poivre (Barefoot in Paris) was our first dinner party entertaining recipe. I wanted something special for some of our best friends, and they’re good meat-eaters. I expected it to be too peppery, based on the name of it, but it turned out a little bit too salty instead. That said, nobody turned their noses up at it, and we were so happy to entertain our friends in our new home that we still declared success for the whole evening. Also from Barefoot in Paris, I made the Vegetable Tian at the end of our CSA season. I think that if I made it in the future, I would eliminate the potatoes and serve it with rice instead. It was a great way to make those late-season vegetables as beautiful as they are tasty.
Branching out beyond Ina’s favorites, I tackled a few new recipes from the Lee Bros. Cookbook (Hoppin’ John and Collard Greens on New Year’s Day, served and eaten with some fellow Southern transplants), and a lentil pasta sauce from The Slow Cooker Revolution (Cook’s Illustrated slow cooker cookbook). The pasta sauce wouldn’t win any beauty contests, but it was tasty enough that I made a double batch and froze some for a church friend who just had a baby.
And, feeding my growing cookbook problem (I can quit whenever I want!), I received two lovely cookbooks as gifts this holiday season: Edible Twin Cities and The New Midwestern Table. I can’t wait to crack them open and review a few recipes here. I don’t pretend to know a lot about food trends (I had to look up “umami” on wikipedia a few weeks ago), but apparently my old German dad must have his hand in the food publishing world: the Midwestern Table cookbook has recipes for homemade sauerkraut, head cheese, and braunschwager, and Bon Appetit had a review of sauerkraut pancakes last month. If Ina trends old world German, I might have to outsource more recipes. Blergh.
Last but not least, since my last blog post, I celebrated 10 years of cooking for this guy. We spent our anniversary packing and preparing for the big move, but I don’t want to pass up the opportunity to appreciate him out loud, so to speak. I was speaking to another recent 10-year-anniversary celebrator this weekend, and she mentioned that she and her husband celebrate their anniversary by listing the things that they love about their spouse – one for each year of marriage. I’m shamelessly stealing her idea – I hope she doesn’t mind.
1. I still get excited when I hear his car pull into the driveway. He usually has an interesting story about his day, or some little story he heard on NPR on his way home that he wants to share with me, or just a smile and a hug and a “glad to be home!” before the kids tackle him in their excitement to see him.
2. Speaking of those kids, he plays with LEGOs, makes the dinosaur noises, makes a killer box of mac and cheese, and is the most desired driver when the kids get to choose whose car they ride in. At swimming lessons, he gets in the water with the “baby” (well, the 2 1/2 year old “baby,” anyway).
3. Even when I’m at my worst – sick, or postpartum, or sad, or just grouchy – he tells me that I’m beautiful, and I think he really means it. And I still think he’s the same combination of handsome and adorable that he was when we met.
4. He’s really funny, even though he doesn’t always get the credit for being the funny one. He makes me laugh every day. That’s more important than I might have guessed 10 years ago.
5. He’s wise beyond his years, patient beyond measure, and really good at his job. We can talk about books and movies, and still really like spending time with each other. That’s also more important than I might have guessed 10 years ago.
6. He’s a man of deep faith. When I was an aimless 20-something, knowing that someday I wanted to be married but not sure who or when or how, I knew I wanted someone who at the very least respected my faith. I got that, and then some. In fact, when I’ve had doubts or worries, he’s reminded me that our community of faith is there to swim along with me and buoy me up. He finds blog posts and books that might answer my questions, and he never judges my questions or doubts.
7. He appreciates the effort that it takes to put together a good dinner, a fun party, and even taking the kids to church on Sunday mornings. Every once in a while, when the stars align, I get a nap as my reward.
8. He not only tolerates my family, he actually enjoys spending time with them.
9. When he puts clean sheets on the beds, he makes hospital corners with the sheets. The benefit of marrying a nurse’s son? (And bonus: his mom shares her favorite recipes with me. Win!)
10. He’s humble and kind, and doesn’t toot his own horn nearly enough, so I shamelessly do it for him. Go ahead. Ask me about his General Ordination Exam scores. You know you want to.