When you insist on experimenting with new recipes every single week, there are occasional meals when you and your husband awkwardly smile at one another from across the table and you know you’re both wishing you’d just ordered pizza instead. And still, he packs up the leftovers of whatever flop you just created and takes them for lunch the next day, because he knows you’d be upset about wasting food. Usually about halfway through the meal, you break the silence with, “we probably shouldn’t make this again” and he reassures you that it was a good idea…in theory. And it’s not that bad. Then the next night, you know that you must redeem your cooking skills with something guaranteed to please the taste buds – something like this smoked salmon served over cold sesame soba. This quick soba bowl is a wow-worthy dinner that definitely made up for the spiralized beet pasta/salad I tried to pass off as dinner the night before.
When Lucas got his wisdom teeth extracted a few weeks ago, I knew I’d spend the weekend nursing him back to health – making sure he was comfortable, stopping residual bleeding, keeping him medicated, capturing video of the funny things he said, and bringing him soft foods. I used it an excuse to turn my kitchen upside down, covering every surface with pots, pans, and ingredients, just to make the whole experience a little more enjoyable. For me, anyway; I don’t think anything could have made it more fun for him…except maybe not having his wisdom teeth taken out. I promised you there’d be more puréed, mushy, creamy, smooth, or silky foods to come and I wasn’t lying. Now featuring: salted caramel pudding.
We’re a very traditional family when it comes to holiday meals. For Thanksgiving, an enormous roasted bird sits surrounded by cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, and green beans. Dessert is always homemade pecan pie and pumpkin pie. Like clockwork, sometime around mid-November you’d find childhood me begging my mom for ham this Thanksgiving, which she in turn would always promise and usually deliver for Christmas. For the December meal, we’d swap out some of the sides for my Aunt’s scalloped potatoes and mandarin salad. And if my mom was really feeling adventurous, we’d give pot roast a starring role. This year we went rogue. Mom suggested throwing caution to the wind and trying something new for Christmas; I tossed out the idea of tamales and, like that, it was settled.
With the husband asleep on the couch all weekend after getting his wisdom teeth yanked out, I spent two full days in the kitchen last weekend. It felt refreshing; usually this is the time of year when my friend Cas and I pull out the glitter and glue for a week-long craft-a-thon. Alas, Cas has up and moved to Boston on me, and crafting is just not as fun without a sewing buddy. Instead, I loaded up my grocery bags to lock myself in the kitchen for a weekend.
Little known fact: Snixy Kitchen is not my first blog. Back in 2007, I had a five-post stint as a blogger telling detailed classroom stories of teaching adventures, in which I replaced all my students’ names with Disney characters. I wrote about the time I discovered that 4th-grade Gaston had written, “Ms. Nix is next,” in the margin of his book (next for what?!), and the time Pocahontas raised her hand to, in complete seriousness, announce that she needed to poop. This blog lasted all of 5 days because I discovered that teaching is truly a more-than-full-time job.