This past weekend was what we might call my “return to the living.” In some ways, I wasn’t sure my bronchial tubes and I were up to it–the cough that still plagues me when the night falls makes me sympathetic to werewolves and vampires alike–but it was time to see the sun, to engage in human conversation and, most importantly, to celebrate a friend’s birthday with a lovely meal. In the last two weeks I’ve had more than my share of orange juice and Italian wedding soup (recipe courtesy of TheKitchn, which I liked; it doesn’t hold a candle to my mom’s, though. It’s all about the construction of the perfect meatball and meatballs require onions for moisture). It was time for something heartier.
And if this plate of rosemary-scented meat–from a rack of ribs–doesn’t convince you that the evening was delicious from beginning to end, nothing will. The host and hostess had prepared the whole meal and each dish–mashed potatoes, asparagus, roasted broccoli and dessert– was wonderful. I even got to sample some Tarkhun (Georgian tarragon soda; the first picture of this post), which is a fascinating electric green color. Drinking it felt like sampling a “healing” tonic from a faraway land. It also tastes great with a liberal splash of vodka.
There was also, as there always should be on a chocolate lover’s birthday, a pretty chocolate cake, made from one Dorie Greenspan’s cookbooks. Dorie is a baking goddess and flourless chocolate cake is a fine way of demonstrating that fact.Vanilla bean ice cream and fresh strawberries only enhance what is already a perfectly good thing.
Returning home that night, I felt both very (but pleasantly) full and glad that I had gone out. Sometimes the healing process needs a little nudge…Progress continued on Sunday, too. The Greek asked me what I wanted for breakfast. I had said these carrot cake pancakes, but, since our carrots were not in the best of shape, we had to come up with a Plan B. Joy the Baker’s inspiring pancake recipes are endless–two summers ago, I almost lived on the Single Lady Pancake–so we finally managed to settle on another creation of hers: Cornmeal Molasses Pancakes with a blackberry syrup. Needless to say, between the chocolate cake and the pancakes, I started to feel like my old self. I even started working on my dissertation again! More on that next time when I’ll also share my celebratory back-to-health meal with you all….Let’s just say, for now, that I was inspired by “A Good Appetite.”