The last weekend of August is about to kick off, and I still haven’t accepted that September is only a few days away. Although rain and cool weather are forecast for most of the weekend, that won’t stop me from getting as much outdoors-y time as I can, maybe even at the beach, and trying to get in as many last-minute summer dishes as I have time to make and space in my stomach for before I give in to fall, apples, sweaters, squash, spices, tea.
This time of year, there are two types of people: first, there are the ones who are ecstatic about the drop in temperature, the cooler nights, the early hints of fall in the air. Then there are the people grasping at summer by their fingernails, trying to wring every second out of the daylight hours, the warmth, the sun.
Guess which one I am?
Living in Chicago, one of the many things I’ve come to appreciate about this city is the sheer diversity of the food, especially in the neighborhoods: Polish, Italian (the two closest to my heart and heritage), but also Vietnamese, Thai, Greek, Indian, Cuban, Chinese, Mexican. I’m sure I’m leaving out some great ones, but there are just so many to choose from!
I’m avoiding thinking about the noticeable chill in the air around Chicago lately (it was barely above 60 this morning, and yes, that’s chilly), so instead I’m focusing on making the most out of the remaining long days of summer. I’ve already mentioned tomatoes, corn, and some other favorites this time of year, but one thing I’ve actually just embraced is one of the popular variations on pesto with arugula and walnuts.
I know arugula can be divisive–as divisive as a lettuce can be, I suppose–but I love its bitterness and bite. Paired with walnuts (my favorite) and a good amount of cheese and olive oil, I’ve been adding this creamy deliciousness to just about everything this week–eggs, chicken, tomatoes, and best of all, grilled pizza. Holy crap.
I think the idea of “making art” is intimidating to a lot of people—myself included, as I’ve said before. But I just couldn’t take looking at the big, bare wall in my living room any longer, and I am too cheap to spend the exorbitant amount that it would cost to buy a piece to fill the space. And so, necessity, invention, etc.
As I was making a ridiculously oversized pot of my favorite chili earlier this week and began planning to share the recipe here, I started thinking about the recipe’s origins and all the memories associated with it.
That may sound like this is some treasured family heirloom recipe, passed down through generations. In fact, the recipe is from Emeril Legasse and his show on the Food Network back when it was in its “celebrity chef-catchphrase” phase. But it made me remember when the network first started and the Saturday afternoons when my mom, sisters, and I would all cram onto our big white couch in our little house and watch a show called, so simply, Taste. Continue reading
Two blogging lessons learned over the past two weeks:
- Don’t plan to write two blog posts about your vacation right after you return from said vacation. You will be too busy getting back into the swing of things and and it will take much longer than anticipated, especially when…
- WordPress decides to eat the draft of your post that you just spent a day revising (will write in Word from now on).
That said, I will have two posts about my vacation soon, but in the meantime, here is one of the most delicious and simplest snacks/lunches/light dinners of my summer. There isn’t even a “recipe” as such, it just relies on getting the best ingredients you can find: excellent bread (Chicago folks, I recommend picking up a loaf of Bennison’s Sweet City bread, but a good whole grain or rye are great too), the freshest possible butter, thinly sliced radishes, flaky sea salt, and some roughly chopped parsley. The flavor and texture combinations are absolutely perfect and so complementary of each other: bitter, sweet, salty; crunchy, chewy, buttery.
And to keep myself on track, I hope to share another “art for non-artists” project, my favorite chili recipe (which also takes full advantage of summer produce, and happens to be vegetarian), and a sweet treat or two in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!