I will always hold a special place in my heart for The Big Potluck – it was the very first ‘conference’ I attended after launching Smith Bites; it was also the first time I’d traveled sans The Professor since we had married. I was nervous about actually meeting people who I’d only conversed with online – and I’m terribly directionally-impaired when it comes to finding my way – anywhere. Turns out I didn’t need to worry at all.
So these little bites came about because The Professor and I both really enjoy Indian food – and we don’t make it at home – although I’m not sure why. I think it’s probably more a mindset than execution – and we don’t have any cookbooks covering this particular cuisine. But it’s a lovely marriage when curry, garam masala and chili peppers meld together with the tang and creaminess of yogurt and . . . well, just typing the words and I’m like Pavlov’s dog.
I’ve been on a pickling kick this summer and in fact, I’ve pickled more food this year than ever. It started with these preserved lemons and moved on to sweet pickles, sour pickles, blackberries and I even have a jar of brandied cherries tucked away; jams and jellies are also stacked in the pantry and I may even try my hand at a bit of sauerkraut this fall.
It’s been a wonderful summer, maybe the best one we’ve had yet, I’m not really sure; life is always full of adventure and good things with The Professor and I count myself very lucky to have him as my life partner. Our travel schedule has been jam-packed traversing to both coasts, to Italy and back again – busy at times, exhausting at times, but always, always, rewarding. The work we are privileged to do fills our need for creativity and the people we meet are warm and genuine; some become friends forever – making our lives very rich indeed.
The Professor and I have been on the road quite a bit this summer; in fact, we’ve been on the move since March and still have a few more shoots to complete before the year is finished. It’s been a wild spring and summer but we just wouldn’t have it any other way.
The Professor and I have done our fair share of entertaining; we don’t as much anymore as our family has aged, college life has spread us about and schedules seem to be busier than ever. And even though there aren’t as many people sitting at our table as often, a couple of rules remain the same: whatever we serve at a party, needs to feed a crowd and the recipe needs to be make-ahead so we have time to enjoy our guests.
The Professor and I are back from Italy – and what a trip it was! And though the locals kept apologizing for the weather, we found the mid-70s temperatures perfect – even the occasional day of rain wasn’t enough to dampen our spirits – we were in Italy!
I won’t swear to this but I don’t believe I experienced the buttery goodness of an avocado until my family made the move to Arizona when I was 13. Because back in the day, (a) ‘seasonal’ really did mean seasonal – as in, if it’s not in season in my hometown, it’s not on the store shelves and (b) Walla Walla isn’t an avocado growing climate, (c) I’m certain that if avocados were available ‘in season’, my family couldn’t afford them and most importantly, (d) Avocados are green. With knarly, bumpy skins. And they are soft and squishy. My grade school self said ‘Gross!’
While I love a great pastry for breakfast and occasionally dessert, when it comes to snacks, I tend to land on the side of salty. And while there are a plethora of cookbooks on the market for all things sugary and sweet, the field is much smaller when it comes to savory. Salty Snacks by Cynthia Nims, is a book that feeds America’s love affair with salt.
The Professor and I have been participating in the Verizon Midwest Savvy Gourmet program since June and we’ve had a blast testing a few of the products they offer – specifically the Motorola XYBoard and the LG Intuition. Both are fun to use, but more importantly, both are powerful workhorses and have served us well in our travels these past several months.
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Musical pairing – Holy Moses by Washington
This is one of those recipes I’ve wanted to share for a couple of years now; the anticipation of fall and the harvesting of concord grapes makes me feel nothing less than giddy. But Concord grape season is short, my attention span is short and one of three things has happened: (a) I completely miss said Concord grape season, (b) I remember Concord grape season but can’t find any at my local store and (c) by some miracle I actually remember Concord grape season, find said Concord grapes and make this fabulous recipe . . . but then I forget to take photos . . .