Baking, Dinner, Life

The long haul

Rumi on my mind

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make any sense.”

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.

Stunning fall colors

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.

I promise...these are NOT beets in your dessert

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!!


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