Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Hello dear blog and readers! How I've missed you! I'm back now, married and relaxed and ready to start messing around again in my kitchen. Especially with the addition of this:
and a hearty stack of these:
People keep asking me if it feels different, being married. And the short answer is 'no'. I feel much the same, because I didn't feel like we needed to change anything by getting married. It was really just a chance to get all dressed up and have a big party with all our loved ones. But amidst that 'no' is nestled a tiny qualifier, one which compels me to say that it does feel different not being engaged anymore. Because engagement is kind of like a relationship holding pattern. A near-constant state of anticipation and preparation that everyone seems to participate in and celebrate with you. And there comes a moment when the hoopla is over, and along with that bittersweet thought of 'what now?' there's a sense of relief, of forward motion. Love can stop being held in place and life can go on.
We honeymooned at Husband's parents' trailer in Sauble Beach, followed by a week at a friend's cottage in the Muskokas. It was heaven. We read, we drank, we ate, we sat around and talked. It amazed me the way I was suddenly so aware of my environment - the sound of the birds in the tall pines around us; the sun dripping through the branches and trickling onto my upturned face. The sound of the wind, of the water lapping the shore, even the insects and small creatures rustling in the leaves. I've never been so relaxed, so happy to sit still.
So, what did I eat on our honeymoon? Apart from Burgers, Burgers, Burgers? Well, let's just say that I took 'variations on a theme' to the next level. You know, one of the things I love about vacation is the simplicity it enforces. When you pack, you throw in two pairs of pants, a couple of dresses, some sweaters, and out of this, you fashion a wardrobe that will tide you over for the next week or two. And for the most part, I'm always happy having less choices. I remind myself to pare down my closet when I get home and live like this, with a few great pieces on heavy rotation. But I forget; clothing and food are two entirely different creatures.
And so, armed with a package of bacon, a bagful of apples from Meaford (the apple capital of Ontario) and a hunk of Danish blue cheese, I imagined and re-imagined, then recycled and re-recycled this flavour triumvirate into two weeks worth of meals. I feel I am qualified in saying that I have fully exhausted this taste combination for perhaps another year. Maybe longer. And after a long spate of daily wedding cake leftovers, burgers, sausage and chicken, I came home not only with about 5 extra pounds of body weight, but a strong craving for vegetables and fish.
I went to the grocery store yesterday to fill my barren fridge and it was almost too much, seeing all the gorgeous produce, colourful, gleaming, promising vitamins and antioxidants and properly functioning intestines; I had to close my eyes for a minute and compose myself. I got home and started putting together my salad, based on this recipe and decided to pair it with a big honking salmon steak. I used some of this:
and some of this:
and a dash of these, even though they were supposed to be peanuts:
I sliced, diced and zested and put the salad together. It looked like a bowl of 'refreshing.'
Then I pan-fried my massive salmon steak and put it on a plate and attempted to photograph it, only a ghostly predator lurked at my feet, making movement treacherous...
I managed to get my plate to safety and settled down to eat. The salad was delicious, brimming with flavours and textures, and the salmon was like butter at first, but then I realized I was eating the skin and got kind of grossed out by that (eeeuuwww, eating skin) so I skipped it and devoured the rest.
It's a funny thing, this 'getting married' stuff. It's not that I gained a Husband, because frankly, he was my Forever Person before we even got engaged. But I seem to have gained this precious insight into my life, almost like looking at it from outside a window. And what's there, what's in front of me is all I've ever wanted.
My adaptation of Asian Slaw with Roasted Peanuts, via Ezra Pound Cake:
2 carrots, really finely sliced
1/2 a green pepper, finely chopped
a handful of chives, finely chopped
3-4 leaves of romaine lettuce, chopped
a large handful of baby spinach, sliced into ribbons
1/2 avocado, chopped into smallish pieces
zest of one lime, finely grated
1/4 cup of pistachios, chopped coarsely (I'm trying not to be too repetitive with my chopping adjectives)
Chop up ingredients and put them in a large bowl. Dress and top with nuts just before serving.
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2-1 lime, depending on size
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp ground ginger (I didn't have fresh...would have been awesome)
1 tbsp brown sugar
a glug or two of soy sauce
Combine all ingredients in small jar or bowl and whisk till well combined. Adjust amounts as you see fit.