There seem to be plans being made every day. Last year, at least the first half, was a lot slower than this. Yes, I traveled. A lot. Which helped distract me. But there were moments that were slow. Really, really slow… So slow that I started to read Fifty Shades of Grey (thirty pages in and I had to put it down because of how awful the writing was. Sorry Grey fans!). I like busy. I like having projects to work on… meetings, deadlines, things that create a sense of accomplishment.
As I type this, it does occur to me that having down time isn’t a bad thing either. I’m always go-go-go that sometimes I forget to chill. Watching TV even becomes something that gets in the way of work. I feel guilty when I’m not checking my three email accounts (maybe someone sent me a message I have to respond to RIGHT NOW). It’s a problem… But one that I’m aware of at least. Balance is what I constantly strive for. I don’t think I’ve found it yet. Actually, I know I haven’t. I want it though… Whatever “it” is. I’ll figure it out one day.
I guess my real down time comes when I’m able to work on a blog post. It’s when I stop worrying about calendars, clients and money and focus on a single creative task. Over the winter, I did most of my recipe development in the shower or on our couch sipping on mugs of coffee. Someplace warm and cozy. Now I do it on long walks with Maki. Typically this isn’t what I set out to do when I take her around the block to relieve herself, but often I return with an urge to cook. Maybe I’m just hungry.
This shrimp toast and mango butter came to me last week while on an exceptionally long, hot and sweaty walk. As Maki trotted along with her tongue sticking out, a list of available ingredients in our fridge ran through my mind. Most were things I had worked with recently. Asparagus, fiddleheads, tomatoes. And then… mango. The night before, Eric had said that we needed to do with it. That’s when it hit me… Mango Butter. Spicy mango butter. On bread topped with shrimp. Done.
What a week! Actually, what a month! I can’t believe May is wrapping up. Feels like I always say that. It’s so odd how time just flies by. The burst of travel hasn’t helped with slowing things down. And next week I pack up for a few days in Vegas, where I’ll be attending the Saveur Blog Awards (our little project, The Boys Club, won the Best Cocktail Blog category). As soon as I mentioned the win to Eric, he scurried off to his computer to look at flights. Having never been to Vegas, we’re doing it up… fancy dinners, theater tickets (Eric’s birthday is coming up as is our wedding anniversary, so this is our big celebration). No gambling though… I’m not a fan, though I have a feeling he might hit the tables while I’m off doing foodie things.
There are no words to express how excited I am to finally get to meet the bloggers going to this event. Some of my favorites are going to be there, including David and Luise, creators of the blog Green Kitchen Stories, who have just come out with their book, Vegetarian Everyday. Often when I’m asked which sites are my favorites, I rattle of a long list, but between you and me, GKS is at the top. I’ve been a fan of theirs for a long time and am so thrilled for their much deserved success (a wonderful mobile app, a cookbook, and a Saveur award all in twelve months). So, yeah, I’m kind of psyched to meet them next week.
While flipping through Vegetarian Everyday, the dish that tantalized me the most, surprisingly, was their potato salad. It’s a stunner… never had I seen a potato salad with such vibrant colors and flavors. I knew immediately that I had to make it and get it up here before the Memorial Day weekend. I’ve taken some liberties and incorporated homemade aioli into it. Their recipe is definitely healthier than mine, but I’m a mayo fan and it’s not potato salad in my world without a little of it thrown in.
I was watching Louis CK’s 2011 comedy special, Live at the Beacon Theatre, the other night and was cracking up at his rant about how he believes humans are aliens because we are constantly complaining about how uncomfortable we are here on Earth. We use air conditioning and heating units and fans to make everything juuuuuuust right. Louis notes that it just doesn’t make sense that we were meant to be on this planet. If we were, we would just be able to deal with the extreme highs and lows without freaking out. I’ll admit that I’m one of those complainers. While I can handle winter weather alright, the heat and sweat and that stickiness that takes over from June to August is unbearable.
This weather we’ve been having recently, however, has been perfect… and I feel the need to say that out-loud to myself that at least once a day. “This is fantastic! It needs to stay like this forever. Ah, yes… seventy degrees and sunny with a slight breeze.” I know it won’t last long, but I’m taking as much of it in as I can before it gets warmer.
You may have noticed a lot of beverages on here recently and I’ve been enjoying playing around with some fun cocktail recipes for you (Hope you’ve been enjoying consuming some of them too!). Over the last few weeks, Eric and I have switched from whiskey drinks to gin and vodka and tequila. Just like food, our bodies crave different libations as the seasons change. So, here is a vodka “refresher” for you to all enjoy that utilizes some of Honest Tea‘s Honey Green Tea, which the company generously sent over for me to try. I was thrilled with the subtle sweetness of the tea, especially since I had planned on including a little simple syrup in the cocktail.
In addition, they’re offering one lucky A Thought For Food reader a chance to win a month’s supply of their tea (30 drinks)! Woo hoo!
See below for details on how to enter the giveaway:
A word from the folks at Honest Tea:
“Honest Tea would like to keep you refreshed for 30 days, on us. Brewed with organic tea leaves and half the calories and sugar of other bottled teas, we hope you’ll find it a sip in the right direction. ”
To Enter the Honest Tea Givaway: Leave a comment here telling me what your favorite warm-weather beverage is (alcoholic or non-alcoholic).
Giveaway Disclaimer: No purchase necessary. Open to US residents only . Giveaway will end on May 27th 2013 at 12:00 pm EST. One winner with a valid entry will be selected at random using random.org. Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be selected. Samples of Honest Tea products and the giveaway items were provided to me by Honest Tea through the NoshOnIt Publisher Partner Program.
I’ve been on the road a lot recently. Well, not just the road, in the air as well. It makes writing a bit challenging, so I usually get most of my posts down on my iPhone. Whenever I mention this to people, they always shake their heads… they can’t imagine typing that much with their thumbs. I find it freeing though. Grammar and spelling become less important and I’m able to focus on my thoughts. I’m not a natural writer and often struggle to find the words to convey what I’m feeling. But this little keyboard allows me to get it out without over-thinking it.
As I mentioned, I’ve been traveling a lot these last few weeks. It started at the end of April with a whirlwind trip out to Los Angeles by way of New Jersey. After a long weekend out west for the Big Traveling Potluck, I returned to my parents house to help out as my mom recovered from an operation. It was nice to be there… to be with my family and the daily routine of things, even though it was obviously a very hard time for my mother.
When I returned to Boston, things didn’t slow down. I’ve been fortunate enough to work on some great projects that have kept me pretty busy. There were a few slow days this last week where I got to create some recipes that have been stewing in my brain for a bit. One was this bowl of grits topped with two of my favorite seasonal ingredients: fiddlehead ferns and ramps. I kept the dish fairly rustic. My goal was to create a comforting dinner for a rainy spring night that would stick to your ribs a little. With a bit of brown butter and cheese mixed into the grits, I would call this one a huge success.
Now my thumbs are tired. I’m going to give them a little rest.