Don’t even get me started on the word “man cave” but another of my linguistic pet peeves is the overused word “staycation”, even if that is exactly what lifted my spirits this past weekend. It was an annual adventure with a group of gals in the D, as one calls it in these parts. It’s amazing what a 45 minute drive, a room with a view and sparkly trees around an urban ice rink can do to beat away the winter doldrums.
February, for many, is a month of hibernating, of repose and reflection (and occasionally a little depression). For me, it’s that but this year there were dinner parties, concerts and of course, the culminating event, Norma’s Oscar party. It all helped.
Try not to be too envious when I tell you…(drum roll)…I won the chocolate Oscar!
Unfortunately, I’ve come to realize that February is not a time for taking food photos. I’ve experimented with a number of comforting and hearty winter recipes, all satisfying, but nary a photo to be had. Before this blog descends into oblivion due to my lack of photographic motivation, I’ll just call it a day and share some links. These were the stand-out recipes of February, should you need a little comfort of the culinary variety. They are courtesy of my favorite magazine.
Pork Shoulder Braised with Apples! I did alter this a little because I didn’t have Calvados. I used a liqueur called Pommeau de Normandie (but I think a shot of Cognac might do the trick as well). Also, I doubled the amount of cider required in order to maintain a strong apple flavor. And don’t ignore the Cheesy Grits, as they are a must-have with this sweet and hearty dish.
La Mousse au Chocolat was the dessert at this particular dîner. I’d never made it before and I now ask, what’s wrong with me?! I guess I was intimidated by the number of steps (okay, only three, but still…) and maybe that whole “whisking of the eggs in a bowl over simmering water”, not to mention “folding”, had me in a cold sweat. What I found was that my absolute favorite dessert on the planet was actually fairly easy to put together. Homemade Chocolate Mousse is my new best friend. As I’ve been prone to do of late, I used Bon Appétit’s classic recipe. One can’t go wrong.
And then there’s Kale. I have a feeling that I’ve suffered nary a sniffle due to the abundance of this leafy green in my diet. Joy’s smoothie was the inspiration here. I doubled the kale and left out the spinach. No matter. A shamrock shake it is not, but at least I know what’s in it (and it was mighty tasty nonetheless).
Serves one. Adapted from Joy the Baker.
In a blender, mix one handful chopped kale, a frozen banana, 2 Tbsp. peanut butter, 1 cup milk and a squeeze of honey. If you have it, 1 Tbsp. of flax seed makes it that much healthier but is completely optional. Add a handful of ice and blend.