28 May 2009

love your mama

and she'll make you strawberry rhubarb pie.

and you, of course, will refuse to eat it because you don't like cooked fruit.

more for mama.

26 May 2009

of phlegm and french cuisine

I have a cold. A terrible one. I feel a little bit like death-warmed-over and given a stir. My nose has been alternating between completely corked up and flowing like a bubbling brook all day long. My throat is raw and reminds me of the time we were traveling in Vietnam and I came down with a throat bug so painful that Jo had to run out and buy me penicillin. No prescription necessary. Just a description of the symptoms would suffice. He was also sent to fetch me food that wouldn’t rip my fragile gullet to shreds on its way down. I ate ice-cold lychees and cheesy-garlic mashed potatoes from the backpacker restaurant down the road for days.

Today’s been a better day, gastronomically-speaking. It started with a cookie (a cardamom walnut butter cookie). Any day that starts out with a cookie can never be all bad. And I’ve been starting my days out with them since I baked them on Monday.

Lunch was even better. Last night, my throat could only tolerate chicken noodle soup, which meant Jo stopping to pick up Pho for dinner (funny how my sore throat had me craving Vietnamese food). Pouring in liberal amounts of Sriracha hot sauce was no doubt the biggest mistake of the night. Not an hour later, my throat seized up nearly completely, letting only the tiniest squawk for riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiicolaaaaaah pass my lips. Today, however, my body craved something, if not more adventurous, then more nourishing. I came across a recipe for Spinach and Green Garlic Soup. We’d just been given green garlic in our organic produce delivery and I had no idea what to do with it.

Well, how about slice it thin, sauté it with a pinch of salt in butter and olive oil, simmer it in vegetable stock and puree it with spinach left to wilt for a few minutes in the broth. It. Was. Heaven. (and not my idea) While the simmering was happening, I decided to make lunch an ode to Molly, and try out her recipe for bouchons au thon. Only problem was the recipe called for tomato paste (no, I did NOT freeze tablespoon size portions of this in plastic wrap and stick them in the freezer the last time I cooked), crème fraiche (who keeps THAT handy in the kitchen?), gruyere, and real eggs (OK, so I had those, but Jo is trying to watch his cholesterol and I was trying to be kind). So I improvised, substituting ketchup (quelle horreur! but hey, it was organic), 1% milk, gouda and parmesan, and Reddi-eggs. I stuffed the muffin tins fuller than was perhaps prudent, and popped them in the oven. It took them a bit longer to cook, but the result was dee-light-ful. Very light and airy. One day soon I will follow the recipe exactly to see what I was missing out on, but this concoction hit the spot today. I served the little tuna corks on a bed of arugula (also from the organics delivery) doused with olive oil and lemon juice and thin slices of roma tomato, with a side of cannellini beans mixed with more olive oil, lemon juice and parmesan. The meal was so pretty I wanted to take a picture. But I didn’t. Verdorie (that’s Flemish for “dangit.” No joke. And yes, I did say that when I looked down at my empty plate and realized I missed my chance). The meal was so good, and felt so clean going down, I had it again for dinner as I fed the baby peaches and oatmeal from a jar.

Starve a cold and feed a fever?


I’ve always been bad at introductions. I never remember names past the moment of their being uttered. I bumble through my own, “Hi, I’m Kristi. Nice to meet you.” Do we shake hands? Give each other a little half-wave, half-salute? Nod? Smile and make eye-contact?

Hi, I’m Kristi, and I hope you enjoy my blog. It’s meant to be a food blog, no really it’s a mommy blog, oh why oh why must you label me? We’ve barely just met and I already feel judged. Oh wait, that’s me talking. Like I said, awkward.

Even though I haven’t written anything longer than an email in the past two-and-a-half years, I’m writing now. Before I was who I am now (more on that later), I was a PhD Student in Anthropology, conducting research on travel, tourism, language and transnational activism. I enjoyed it. It made me feel smart and important and worthy at times. At other times it made me feel inept, ignorant, like an imposter. And at other times it made me feel like a pompous, self-involved know-it-all. Such is the life of an academic, I suppose.

Who I am now comes with its own list of conflicting states of being. I’m a teacher, nutritional adviser, guidance counselor, chef, referee, safety inspector, chauffeur. I’m an expert and a bumbling idiot. I’m a mother, full-time, 24/7 to two young boys (at the moment, 3 ½ years and seven months). My journey into motherhood started before my grad school trip ended. The two duked it out for close to a year, and motherhood triumphed, at least temporarily.

My youngest just started solids, is days (or weeks, who really knows?) away from crawling, my oldest just discovered “bad guys” and the fun of “shooting them” and I’m itching to write. Not as an escape from them, because if it were that I’d be smashing out a science fiction novel. I guess it’s more as a reflection. Truth be told, I’m really enjoying myself. I want to savor this time with them, and preserve it for the future when I’m not the center of their universe, and share it with you.

And the part I want to share with you is one that I (and they, and my partner Jo) live and breath and, well, eat. I want to share our food. Well, not literally, unless of course we can get over that first awkward introduction and you score an invite to my dinner table. Mind your manners and it just might happen. And please, come again. I’ll try to bring a little more social grace to our next get-together.

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