Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Women On The Rise
My menu has been modified and downsized this week, as needed, due to my serious underestimation of how much my husband actually eats (or how little I eat, depending on one's point of view). Monday night's delicious Cuban Paella, with it's chicken, shrimp, peas, and golden saffron rice has fed the children and me for the last 3 nights! Therefore, pizza night did not happen, and coq au vin has been pushed to Friday. Tonight's meatballs and cheesy garlic bread are still right on schedule however. Lack of pizza aside, Tuesday evening was wonderfully spent creating the ice cream sundae bar with Isabella and Josephine, making the best ever hot fudge sauce (one of my favorite indulgences) which, though it has no corn syrup, still manages to posses a thickness, sheen, and slight chewiness that is essential to hot fudge perfection. We also whipped up a batch of homemade caramel sauce (again, there is no need to include corn syrup) and toasted some coconut. Add a few slivered almonds and some pitted bing cherries, and what you have is heaven (or quite possibly hell, to all you dieters out there) in a bowl. After we all assembled our sundaes, it was on to family movie night, which since Daddy is still out of town, was viewed snuggled up tightly in my bed, and a sweet time was had by all.
Wednesday before noon was complete bedlam, due to the fact that I awoke half an hour late (yes, it makes THAT much of a difference). There are few absolute truths in this life, but one unequivocally is that if I am able to wake up, and spend a few minutes in quiet, I will have a better day than if not. Ideally, I strive to have a few minutes of yoga, followed by makeup and cloths, and am already embarking on breakfast before I hear the patter of little feet in the hall. This way I am centered and focused and not attempting to run backwards through my day getting nowhere, never quite able to catch up. That, however, was exactly what happend Wednesday. Long story short, I finally got everything prepared for our picnic (albeit 2 hours late), and around noon we were out the door. Another thing I know for sure? No matter how overwhelming or stressful life gets, happiness and sanctuary can be found on a picnic blanket with your children on a beautiful day. Josephine's favorite pasta, fusilli, which we have affectionately renamed fu-silly, made for a silly and colorful pasta salad indeed, with a bright and fresh green pesto, with sliced kalamata olives, mini mozzarella balls, and baby heirloom tomatoes. And our double chocolaty cookies were the perfect treat after such a healthy and light lunch.
Returning briefly to Tuesday, I have a most memorable moment to share. When, on Mother's Day, I called my 85 year old grandmother to send her my love, I learned that she had never made a soufflé (which was what I was serving for my brunch that day). This may not seem unusual to most, but then you have never met my grandmother. This is the woman who instilled in me a love for cooking and who still inspires me in the kitchen (and out). She had 9 children and a successful husband for whom she constantly cooked, and hosted more parties than most people have probably ever attended. She had never made a soufflé? This must be rectified, I thought. So Tuesday was the day for atonement. I hired a sitter, packed up all the necessary ingredients (including a soufflé dish that I specially purchased for her to keep), and made the drive down to Granny's. While she helped with minor prep, I was given the honor of cooking for her while she relaxed and enjoyed our visit (along with the requisite champagne that lends itself ANYTIME there is company in her house - I love this woman). She set a lovely table (I would expect nothing less) and we spent the next hour enjoying each other's company and our decadent mixed mushroom and herb soufflé with pecorino romano and parmesan. I shared with her all of my culinary aspirations and cookbook concept that I am working on (more on that later), and she shared with me her mutual desire to compile a cookbook as well. At 85, there is no time like the present, and I strongly encouraged her to begin the undertaking, which would no doubt, at the very least, make for a treasured family possession and heirloom. So we sat, grandmother and granddaughter, two women contemplating our futures, and what beautiful things lie ahead.