What I’m Thinking Of

14 Jan

Well, friends. I started an on-site contract proofreading educational materials, and work…and snow, and life…have kept me busy these past few weeks. I am afraid I am neglecting my blog friends and the few of you who read this (thanks, Mom!), but I’ve started a half-dozen posts without finishing them, so I am thinking of you…really.

Work and life have even kept me busy enough that the time I spend creating dishes and experimenting with recipes has really been cut down. We’ll call it post-holiday humdrum–do any of you feel that way, especially in the grayest parts of winter? In the meantime, a few things have shown up on my proverbial radar that make me a little excited to be in the kitchen again.

Speaking of winter, it has been very cold here in Minneapolis–what I call “frozen nosehair” cold, since just a few seconds outside in these temperatures does just that.  I am never without my long underwear, but no, I do not shovel snow for a living. Although we haven’t hit the gray stretch of winter yet–the days when you’d trade your lunch break for a piece of sunshine–I still find myself thinking months and months ahead, culinarily speaking. I even bought cucumbers the other day. Cucumbers! I know better than to do that–they’re about eight months out of season!

Nonetheless, I’ve been having my culinary trip south, mentally. While others take cruises in February, head to Florida, and the birds, as Minnesota’s own Garrison Keillor said, fly south in the night “so as not to destroy troop morale,” I think of salads, I dream of fat, bright red, glistening strawberries like I grew up with in the Northwest. I imagine rows of slender carrots and bunches of green spinach growing this summer in my first garden (there are far too many pests that would prevent growing spinach, but it’s a dream, so I continue). I wonder if we really could grow raspberries along the back fence.

I’ve also been looking at completely seasonally inappropriate delights–like the Strawberry Quartet featured at NY Magazine here and the Dark Chocolate Tartlets with Strawberry at one of my favorite food blogs. As long as we’re at it, I thought of my muffaletta and have decided to try making peach ice cream next summer–D., my Midwestern Meateater, has a dreamy peach ice cream in his past that I’d like to re-create.

Do you have culinary trips south this time of year, even if they’re as pretend as mine are? Maybe you’re lucky enough to live in a climate where you leave to find snow. If this is the case, please come visit me. I have a shovel with your name on it, and a little snow on the driveway for you to enjoy!



14 Responses to “What I’m Thinking Of”

  1. Kristina January 14, 2009 at 5:00 pm #

    Yay! A new post from Erin! It’s a Christmas miracle!

    • esprout March 3, 2009 at 10:11 am #

      Oh, Christmas is year-round here.

  2. Stella January 26, 2009 at 10:13 pm #

    Do you really have a shovel with my name on it? If so, I accept.

    I enjoyed your post! Congrats on your job! Here are some comments that are related to your post but unrelated to one another:

    1. After being born and raised up in St. Paul, MN, I find myself in VA where it is frustratingly cold yet NO SNOW. That’s just an insult. I mean, if it’s going to be cold, it might as well snow, right?

    2. We don’t actually have “frozen nose hair” cold weather (and believe me, I totally know what you mean), but playing outside makes us (me) quite cranky.

    3. Barbara Kingsolver and her family, who live near here, embarked on a culinary project where they ate only locally grown/raised food. I applaud them and really really want to be like them, but I bought strawberries, blueberries and (yes!) a cucumber last week and I know darn well they were not grown here. I have lofty food goals and TRYING to eat locally is one of them. But clearly I’m not there yet (because, you know…blueberries! 2 bucks a pint!).

    4. I definitely keep the food goal that says “never eat anything processed or anything where you cannot pronounce the ingredients or if any of the ingredients start with “x”. My kids turn their noses up at Annie’s organic mac and cheese. I want to beg them to eat it because sometimes we need something quick. But they are food snobs just like me.

    Enjoy your cucumber! And your snow!

    • esprout March 3, 2009 at 10:10 am #

      Hi again, Stella!

      Since you wrote in numbered form, I’ll reply in that fashion!

      1. I know. Further, I say that if it’s going to snow, it’s an insult that I cannot ski on it. Real skiing, I mean–the downhill kind. My heart hurts for it.
      2. Don’t you miss it? I’m keeping the economy afloat myself through continual buying of tissues.
      3. Oh, I love that book! Er, I love to think about reading that book! And I read a few pages of it, before I had to return it to the library! Kingsolver’s adventure sounds ambitious but like something I’d dream about. I know, local is really hard in the winter…um, what grows in MN in the winter? Man and woman cannot live on snow and ice.
      4. An excellent bit of common sense. I have a bit of a leg up from my nutrition education in college, so I can both pronounce ingredients and know what they are and whether I should fear them…though if I didn’t, there’d be even *more* to reject! I love that your kids are food snobs. I hope to raise little snobs myself.
      5. Bought more cucumbers. I’m evil.

  3. emily February 17, 2009 at 12:10 am #

    i read your blog…because i love you:)

  4. Annalee February 18, 2009 at 1:03 pm #

    Hey erin! I miss you, it’s time to start giving us some growing tips for our gardens. I’m waiting….

    • esprout March 3, 2009 at 10:06 am #

      Hello again, long-lost friend Annalee! I know. I am starting my plants from seed this year and even, miracle of miracles, have a pot of three herbs still hanging on from last summer. I know. In Minnesota. Indoors! Tender mercies, eh? 🙂 I think I’ll do a post with edible plants–whaddaya think of that? Herbs are my friends!

  5. Kim February 21, 2009 at 3:32 pm #

    but your writing is so good that even a few posts are appreciated!!!
    as for snow, my kids would KILL for snow!!!

    • esprout March 3, 2009 at 10:05 am #

      Hi Kim! Please send your kids to my driveway immediately. Actually, if they could’ve been there last week, that would’ve been best. Do you think seven inches of snow would be enough for them? I’m sure I can find more.

      New post coming!

  6. Karen February 27, 2009 at 1:20 pm #

    Erin – I came across your blog through… well… it’s a long story. What matters is that I found it. And I love it. Congrats on your new job, but I’ll be checking back for future posts. I love food and cooking, and am excited to learn more from others. I do live in California, where we have access to lots of fresh, local produce – I know – I’m lucky. Except California is nuts. But we won’t go there on this blog. The company I work for is based in Mpls so I talk to those folks regularly. It’s beautiful there, but either very cold or very humid. But it’s one of the cleanest places I’ve ever been! But back to your blog – I really like it. Hope you’ll post again soon. I’ll check back.

    • esprout March 3, 2009 at 10:04 am #

      Hello, Karen! Welcome! Long or not, I am curious about the story of how you ended up here. And happy you did. I am, of course, jealous of the Californians and their “Oh, just cut up a fresh fig and put it with your goat cheese…” ways of doing things; I don’t think I have ever even seen a fresh fig, and I’ve lived from the West to the Midwest (I’m a born-and-bred Westerner, though not the Californian variety). It is beautiful in Minneapolis, but you said it–the extremes of cold and hot! I’m waiting and waiting for spring to spring but completely expecting it to dump snow immediately.

      Post coming soon: personal-party guacamole!

  7. Erlinda March 3, 2009 at 8:53 am #

    First blog I read after wakeup from sleep today!

    Are you tension? panic?

    • esprout March 3, 2009 at 10:01 am #

      Why, I’m just flattered. And feeling fairly guilty, today. I promise a new post soon!

  8. Karen March 5, 2009 at 6:08 pm #

    Speaking of goat cheese and figs – there’s a little cafe by my work that has this for breakfast: Toasted Ciabatta topped with goat cheese, honey, dried figs & fresh black pepper. I’m telling you, it’s manna. Food of the gods.
    How did I find you? A very long meander one quiet work day. It started at “Seriously So Blessed”, wandered through a link to an older post, through lots of comments, and there was YOUR comment. It was an interesting comment, so I checked out your blog, and VOILA. See? Not so interesting, just long. Waiting for the personal party guacamole! YUM!

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