Unpopular opinion here – you ready? I’m not a fan of Halloween. I know you’re thinking, ‘But what about adorable babies dressed up as a lamb, lumberjack, or Superman? How can you resist their cuteness?!’…
February is a rough month. Winters are hard in Boston in general. There’s snow and rain, freezing rain, bitter winds. And it’s LONG. Which makes February all the tougher. By the time we get to February, it’s been cold and gray and miserable for about 3 months. Personally, I’m of the belief that each season should be 3 months long, because 12 months in a year divided by 4 seasons = 3 months each.
Clearly I live in the wrong place for my math to be true.
Sure, we get a few freakily nice days, but when it can snow in October and April, it’s really hard to remember those. We’re not slowly easing out of winter into spring by the time February rolls around. Remember in 2015 when Boston broke the record for the most snowfall in one season? Winter was going ok until February dropped nearly 65″ of snow on us. And this is why we Bostonians hibernate through the month.
You know what makes everything better though? Pie.
Get set, because I’m about to lay down some earth-shattering, forever life-changing news to the rest of us Americans. You ready? Hummus, that delicious chickpea-tahini puree, popular at the snack table dip, is meant to be… hot.
(Ok, really, I’m not saying you can never eat hummus cold. It’s just… …
A few months ago, we attended an ‘Arabic Pies’ cooking class hosted by the local Center for Arabic Culture. Such fun, and what a throwback to living in Jordan! Today, I’m presenting variations on two of what we made there.
- Za’atar. As I’ve stated before, it’s pretty freaking fantastic. Granted, I may have slightly skewed standards. But you can put it on anything. Seriously, anything. But especially bread.
- Cheese. I didn’t feel like making a trip to the Armenian grocery store in the rain, so I used Queso Fresco. Previously, I’ve also tried a mix of goat and cheddar. Traditional, no but delicious yes ?!
These flatbread are super easy. And, unlike pita and naan, you can bake the whole batch at once – a huge win, especially when cooking for a crowd. I also view them as a great entree to Middle Eastern flavors because, who doesn’t like savory pies? …
Actually, scratch that, is there anyone that dislikes fall? Maybe because I live in New England where fall is beautiful and fleeting, but everyone I know loves fall. LOVES fall. It is by far our favorite time of the year. The foliage is vibrant, the air is crisp, and there are sweaters on sweaters on sweaters. I’m also lucky to work in a stunningly beautiful place… one that even organizes fall foliage tours around campus. (Side note – there have been approximately a zillion photo shoots outside my office in recent days. Engagement, baby, family – you name it. I think that qualifies us as most gorgeous campus ever.)
But the wretched thing about living in New England? Fall pops in to say “hi!” for about a month, and then disappears nearly as soon as you’ve realized it’s there. So you’ve got to jam in all of your fall activities in the span of a few short weeks. I’m happy to report that we managed to go apple picking this year, joining the absolute hordes who decided to escape Boston and do the same. Obligatory hayride, apple cider donuts and apple cider were of course included. ?…
Anyone else secretly (ok, not so secretly) glad summer is over? Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of summer, but somehow, it’s just not as exciting when you’re a working adult. It’s like – look, here are all these fun activities that you can only do these 3 months a year! Beaches and bar crawls! Cookouts! Beers on patios! Except… there’s laundry. And the gym. And bills and chores and cleaning to do. Let’s not dive deeper into the Boston humidity in July. So that wonderful, fanciful idea of summer turns into just an idea.
Not to say I didn’t have a good summer – I did! (Clearly, because I haven’t been around here much ?) Highlights include a great weekend up in Plum Island, MA, another long weekend in Portsmouth, NH, a Red Sox game, many brunches with family and friends – and you better believe a whole lot of good food. Some day, we’ll have to make it back up to Burlington, VT – we’re very skilled in that both Randall and I managed to get sick the one week we took vacation. Yes, in the middle of August. Pretty naturally gifted if I do say so myself….
Randall likes to joke that I’m from the South. I’m not really, just from a rural area. PA = mid-Atlantic y’all. He grew up on a beach, which I think is equally unimaginable.
But sometimes I say silly things at work like, “Well, do you know anything at all about the dairy industry?” (True story – this happened at work yesterday.) Because even just growing up parallel to farming and agriculture, you learn a lot more specialized knowledge than you’d think. Somehow, the maintenance of dry cows and sexed sperm doesn’t come up as often when you grow up in suburbia. Who’da thunk it….
Balsamic vinegar may or may not be my one true love.
Sometimes, life get busy. Or it gets hard. And you’re just too exhausted at the end of the day to make a complicated dinner. It may be one of those weeks where you eat cheese and crackers at networking events for dinner. Wine is your serving of fruit in those instances. Just go for it – remember red wine is healthy in moderation.
People often ask me what I make most at home. Truthfully, even if I love something, I’ll probably only make it exactly the same way once or twice a year. I have an enormous backlog of recipes to try – from bloggers, from cookbooks, etc…. which makes it really hard to justify making the same thing, even if it is a house favorite, too terribly often.
What more often happens is that we experiment with a particular theme: galettes, hand pies, random things to throw into pasta. And of course, risotto. We probably go through more arborio rice in a year than most people do in ten years time….
Boston keeps insisting that it’s winter, so that means we can still talk about beets right? Because I really like beets.
Beets are these awesome underappreciated gems. My prior experience with them probably mirrors most people’s – my grandfather ate pickled red beets and eggs, while my uncles talked about how eating too many beets will turn your pee pink. Family – gotta love them….