Unguarded, Unposed, and Lovely: You’re Beautiful

November 2, 2012 § 7 Comments

Iasmin and Friends at the Starry Knights party at Pennsic.

Iasmin and friends at the Starry Knights party at Pennsic.

When I saw this picture I honestly had to figure out who it was. I saw it and thought things like “I remember that party. That woman has lovely shoulders and a gorgeous neck. I wish I could see the whole outfit. I have one a lot like it. When was my husband sitting with her? I don’t remember her.”

My friend Lisa took this picture. It was me sitting there. The monkeys in my hands should have been the clue. I only see myself like this occasionally if at all: unguarded, unposed, and lovely.

Why am I telling you and doing it so publicly? Because I desperately want you to know that if you’re struggling with your weight and your self-image, I’m still struggling too. I’m with you. I know how you feel. You’re not alone. And I think you’re beautiful.

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Carmelitta’s Tea Pot

August 19, 2012 § 1 Comment

Carmelitta's Tea Pot

Carmelitta’s Tea Pot

It’s Sunday. A full week since Carmelitta lay down for a nap and slipped peacefully off to her rest. She was a woman of strong opinions and even stronger personality. A small cap of whispy silver hair rioted around her head every time I saw her. I wondered at times if she was happy because of how forceful her very Sicilian personality was. And then I would see her unguarded, petting Lisa’s dog or admiring a fine piece of china and I knew she found joy in the simple things. The pretty things.

Carmel once browbeat me into eating an entire bowl of ricotta cheese. Not just any ricotta. This was made by “a real Italian man, not by a machine that shoved that crap into containers in a factory.” She wasn’t one to mince words and she claimed at her age that she didn’t have to. I loved her for that and for the small lessons she gave me about how Italian’s ate well. Biscotti with the coffee. That ricotta always in the fridge. Always a little something lovingly crafted. And above all, well presented. You used the real china and silver. Friends were worth it.

We missed Carmel’s funeral. A combination of work and bad luck caught up with us and quite frankly we overslept. But we went to the reception at her daughter Grace’s house and spent a few hours reconnecting and reaffirming the love of our friends and our memories together. The real china and silver were out. The crystal glasses too. And there was wine. Never mind that it was before noon. This was about friends, about family, and about our family by choice.

Before we left, Grace told us that we were each to take one of Carmel’s treasured pretty things as long as it had a rabbit involved. I chose her tea pot because friends are worth it.

Recipe: Lemon Meringue Cookies

May 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

Meringue

The vision of meringue cookies in my mind (courtesy of Jim on flickr).

The Big Guy came home last week after an overnight shift clutching a large, suspiciously familiar box. It was an egg carton for a dozen and a half eggs « Read the rest of this entry »

Recipe: Baked Whitefish in Walnut Herb Crust

May 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

Sole

Baked Whitefish in Walnut Herb Crust

Lest anyone thing I’ve abandoned my love of food (ha!) and cooking (ha! ha!) let me assure you all that we continue to eat and eat well. Sometimes the pictures are less than inspiring and I’m just vain enough to want to keep things to myself until I’ve had a chance to tweak them a bit before sharing. Last night’s fish recipe appeared to be in that camp, but the more I thought about it the more I realized sometimes people need to see the not perfect. They need to see what I see needs improvement. And they need to know what think worked really well despite the mess-ups.

It started with a single piece of fish, or perhaps the trip that got me the fish. My husband had let me know that Montana Dan, our fishmonger at the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market, would be heading out for the fishing season, making this weekend his last at the market for the next couple of months. Clearly, we needed to stock up for us and our family. I got to the market later than usual and when I found Dan at his stall with only a single person in front of me, I jumped in line. It’s not something that happens often. He’s usually mobbed whenever I see him. « Read the rest of this entry »

How to Fold Gyoza

February 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

You all will be overjoyed to know I threw myself on the gyoza grenade today and finally figured out how these little suckers are folded. I blame this all on a pack of frozen, ground venison that fell out of the freezer and onto my foot. I decided we needed to do something different with the ground meat since it’s always a lot of chili, chili, chili, meatloaf, chili in the winter. Don’t get me wrong. I love chili and meatloaf alike. Wonderful comfort foods. But sometimes you just have to have a little lighter of a meal and we were short on lunch ideas for the next week.

Gyoza

A Folded and Pleated Gyoza

Once I filled the gyoza, they got plopped onto a rimmed baking sheet and set in the freezer until hardened. Easy peasy from there to pop them loose into a container so we could remove the number we needed any time we wanted. But the folding? That took a couple tries to figure out. Here’s the link to my flickr set showing how it’s done.

Again with the Puff Pastry

February 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

smoked salmon

Smoked Salmon, Roasted Tomatoes, and Caramelized Onions with Capers

Sometimes it’s the little things that truly inspire you.

Lentil Soup Notes for Jean

January 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

Lentil Soup

Brown never photographs well, but this pic courtesy of Kari Sulivan best represents what lentil soup looks like when I make it.

The lentil soup I make is one of those recipes that I’ve just started making by rote. I grab ingredients, chop, smash and otherwise mutilate, and then poof, into the crock pot where it eventually becomes soup. This, therefor, isn’t a recipe, so much as notes about what I’m doing. Some day I suppose I’ll write this up more formally, but for now this will have to do. « Read the rest of this entry »