And here we are, Wednesday, the first Wednesday of November 2013 in fact. The fall-colored yellow, red and oranges leaves of our trees frame our windows with a canopy of brightness; they cling to gnarled branches before floating to the ground in wispy groupings before turning a caramel-colored brown and are mulched into the lawn for the season. 2013 has been a grand year, albeit travel-heavy, but the work has been rewarding.
Januarys can be rather dull; while September ushers in bushels of apples, cider and doughnuts, October pays homage to the pumpkin. November we plan menus around family and turkeys (albeit there are times when one cannot make a distinction between the two) and December conversations center around words like: ho-ho-ho, hanukkah, cookie, celebration, party, gifts and cocktails among others. And after the letdown of ‘Happy New Year’ on January 1st . . . well . . . January can be rather dull.
For more years than I care to admit, I’ve carried yellowing, smudged, brittle and torn recipe pages up and down the West coast, then to the Midwest – always tucked inside a bulging 3-ring recipe binder that is home to hundreds of other recipes I’ve collected over the years. Like old, worn, favorite toys scattered about in a child’s room, these recipes have been ripped from newspapers and magazines, scribbled on scraps and bits of paper, napkins, the backs of envelopes and, during those times I was organized, real recipe cards. Whenever I’m feeling nostalgic, I plop that 3-ring binder on the dining room table and pour over these old recipes until I find one that fits my mood as well as the occasion.
When it comes to Valentine’s Day, I’m betting some sort of chocolate dessert tops the list of those most requested; chocolate candy, brownies, red velvet anything . . . chocolate seems to reign supreme on this single holiday. We thought you might enjoy a sexy little video to go with your dose of chocolate . . . m’kay, not that kind of video, we’re G-rated here at Smith Bites!! The Professor has dusted off his creative skills and written original music as well as used his mad sound-design skills . . . I gotta say, we kinda like this one . . .
Musical pairing – Human by Jon McLaughlin
When I asked The Professor for his advice on which angle to write this post . . . his reply was, ‘What about how much of a struggle the recipe was?’ To which I said, ‘Oh, you mean from the point of my failures?’ He then said, ‘I don’t like using the word ‘failure’ . . . I prefer the word . . . ‘challenging” . . . well alrighty then . . . let’s just say that the recipe was ‘challenging’ and at the end of it all, I had one ‘failure’ . . . of epic proportions . . .
Musical pairing – Carolina by James Taylor
I had been a fan of Virginia Willis long before I had the opportunity to meet her; perusing her blog is like grabbing a cup of coffee or tea and settling in to catch up . . . to see what’s been happening since the last time I visited . . . warm, inviting and one of the best storytellers I know, Virginia’s writing cuts to the chase and speaks to my heart . . .
Musical pairing – Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves by Aretha Franklin (with The Eurythmics)
‘An Adventure to the Classics‘ – As kids, my sister and I fell into two camps. I was the adventurous eater, my sister the picky one. I would pile on the spicy Indian sauces whereas my sister wouldn’t eat jelly on her peanut butter sandwiches. I’m sure I made a nuisance of myself as a preachy big sister, always insisting that the broccoli really was good, or that only fraidy-cats wouldn’t try gyros.
You are in for a treat because July 7th was World Chocolate Day – who knew? To celebrate, Debra and I tried to think of something chocolate to make and share with everyone. But, I was torn. I’ve been anxious to share a video that we shot last summer with head brewer Caleb Staton of Upland Brewing Co. in Bloomington, Indiana; in fact, their Wheat Ale was one of the first Indiana beers Debra tried several years ago, and we’ve both been fans every since – check out my Shandy post.
Musical pairing – You’re Gonna Get It by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
“Waitress” is a beautiful movie. I can’t say enough good things about it. Without ruining it for you, I’ll just say it’s about a lost woman finding her way back to herself in the face of unforeseen circumstances. The very talented (and tragically deceased) Adrienne Shelly wrote and directed the film. She believed that it needed an element of visual interest that would keep an audience focused during an otherwise cerebral story. So she decided that the main character should make a lot of pies. A pie for every turn in the plot. Ultimately, Keri Russell’s waitress character bakes to cope.
Musical pairing – The Sellout by Macy Gray
Have you heard about this new movie coming out, ‘The Greatest Movie Ever Sold‘? We came across it on Twitter, because POM Wonderful is a major sponsor and we follow their tweets. This satirical documentary about branding and advertising was ironically funded entirely by brands, advertising and their product placement in the movie. The movie had a limited opening last weekend and we haven’t seen it yet, but audiences loved it at the Sundance Film Festival – might be worth checking out. But hold that thought for a moment . . .
Musical pairing – If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d Have Baked A Cake by Eileen Barton
This post is a labor of love, and by that I mean that I count myself very fortunate to have married into one of the best families ever – and that includes my cousins on the Green side: Liz, Brenda, David and Andrea. We don’t see each other very often even though we live relatively close, but Facebook has kept us connected – which is how I ended up with this recipe and the memories that come with it.