“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
When the soul lies down in that grass,
There have been so many moments in my life where I have stumbled and am forced to take a step back. I pause, have a look around, and continue on again. Are our paths in life predetermined for us? Who is in control here anyway? I do not have the answers to this. For many reasons most recently I have been asking myself ‘why?’.
I paused this weekend to become grounded and centered again before another crazy and busy week begins. I wanted a mix of old comfort foods with a new twist. And, may I just add, it is rather hard to come up with a menu when the calendar says fall, however, the thermometer reads 77*.
I started with tilapia served with a side of mango salsa. I am not entirely familiar with tilapia…other than it is an affordable, mild, white fish and is tres easy to cook up in a pan. I sprinkled each filet with salt, pepper, cumin, coriander and some sweet paprika. Mmmhmm. That is right. I put those lovelies in my cast iron skillet over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes a side and it was done. I diced up a mango, added some cherry tomatoes, red onion, chives, cilantro, salt, pepper, dash of lime juice, and red pepper flakes to form a little salsa. I think a few weeks ago I would have used those big, beautiful Pennsylvania peaches in place of the mango. I must remember this next summer.
The side dishes presented another problem. As I was walking by the spinach at the grocery store I knew I needed to have some. I bought a new cookbook (surprised? me either!) called “In the Moment” and it is all about seasonal cooking. I followed the fall recipe for spinach with melted (a.k.a. sweated) leeks and cardamom. I have never enjoyed cardamom all that much but wanted to give it a fair shot in this dish. I was supposed to add in creme fraiche but decided against it. I wasn’t feeling a creamy spinach vibe that night. A grain must be had so I cooked up some pearl couscous, added a handful of toasted, slivered almonds, golden raisins and a few pieces of feta cheese crumbles. The result?
I didn’t stop there. How could I? The meal had been so easy! A little chopping here and a little chopping there as Tom Waits was singing “Martha”…total heartbreaker btw. I kept it simple with dessert. I had some shortcake biscuits in the freezer that needed to be used. There were local empire apples hanging in my crisper drawer. I decided to combine apples (a nod to fall), calvados (memory of hot toddy’s sipped on cold winter nights), blueberries (a summer memory), a touch of brown sugar, cinnamon, a little candied ginger (I am addicted to this) and freshly grated nutmeg. What I quickly realized…a tad too late…is that the blueberries burst creating a deep red – purple concoction similar to beets. (Although…I wonder if you could create a savory shortcake with beets and goat cheese?! I must call the Culinary Institute of America and alert them. I wonder if they are hiring?) I wasn’t going to let that stop me…oh no. I took it a few steps farther adding some salted caramel sauce and a little scoop of pear ginger sorbet. My taste tester had rave reviews. And that just makes me uber happy.
Now seems as good a time as any to think back to my post after the new year. My recipe was this: …when you have a recipe involving a handful of patience and strength, a dash of hope, shot of courage (not always the liquid variety), a lot of happiness and gratitude, and a strong will to do your very best for yourself then wonderful things do come around; both for yourself and those who you surround yourself with.
Wonderful things do come around, in their own time, for all of us. Have a great week and thanks for reading!!