Ina’s new cookbook will be published in less than three weeks.
How can we wait that long? I’ll tell you. We’ll fill our calendars with a dizzying array of activities.
September flew by like it has never flown before. That might be partially because the weather still feels like summer to us (not complaining), but I think a lot of it is that we haven’t had a spare moment to think about it. And that’s actually a wonderful thing. The kids love their schools, and we’re definitely in some semblance of a routine, although the routine will probably change in November, when there are fewer evening gatherings to meet Palmer folks. Between church retreats, church meetings, church gatherings, and a clergy conference, along with ramping up my piano teaching schedule and everything that goes along with it, the first few months of the school year are just zipping by. Birdie (the puppy) and both kids are in a race to see who can grow the fastest, and if they keep it up, I soon won’t be able to lift any of them.
Sometime in there, between running the kids to birthday parties and getting the rest of us settled in, I made the provencal cherry tomato gratin from Foolproof.
It was just ok – not super great, but not inedible, either. I don’t know why it looks like there’s a mutant handprint impression in it.
But that’s not the only thing I’ve been cooking. Even though we haven’t been home much, I’ve managed to cook at home when we are here. I make banana bread just about every week now that Rowan has decided that he likes it. One night, I made pork chops, grits, and collard greens, which feels much less like posing when there’s an actual magnolia tree in our yard. Our Community Supported Agriculture season started (through Wood Duck Farm), and this is the first time we’ve experienced a harvest that begins in the fall. We’re in our second week of receiving a huge box of farm-fresh vegetables and a dozen eggs. So far, we’ve made roasted acorn squash, sauteed zucchini, tomato sauce, baked sweet potatoes, salads, and my new favorite: Smitten Kitchen’s kale salad with pecorino and walnuts. I think I’m going to have dreams about that salad, because even though I like kale, I’m not usually a person to looooove it. This salad changed that – it’s just so good. I’ve roasted a few chickens each week with some of the onions from the CSA box, and those have become chicken stock, chicken soup, and risotto (using more of those onions). We’ve gotten bell peppers, which the kids have devoured. I’m about to make a buttermilk sweet potato pie from the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook, refrigerator pickles, and probably a frittata with summer squash and herbs. There will be chicken soup and risotto and pot roast, which have nothing to do with the CSA, but everything to do with the fact that I haven’t made them in months.
Oh! And Neil was installed as the sixth rector of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church. He’s been there since June, of course, but this ceremony, held this past Tuesday evening, was the official commitment between Neil and the church. It was a really wonderful service, and I hope I never forget looking at Neil when the bishop, with his back to the congregation, standing among us, faced Neil and welcomed him on behalf of the diocese. The service was the culmination of weeks of planning and hard work, and the guest preacher was our dear friend from Williamsburg, John Kerr. John is a brilliant, funny, and kind friend, and he always seems to know just what to say and how to say it. The whole service and the reception were just wonderful, and we’re so glad to be “official” here now – I’m sure Neil will publish some photos of the big event on his blog soon.
I haven’t quite kept up with my goal of completing more recipes before the new cookbook is released, but I guess that’s the beauty of not having a deadline. Hopefully I’ll eek out a few more between now and then – stay tuned!