In August, my mom sent me this text: “5 years ago you were in Paris.”
“No,” I was quick to correct, I didn’t leave for Paris until September 2008. Not August.
This correction was more than the snit in me seizing on my mom’s mistake. I was not yet mentally prepared for that anniversary. Four years and eleven months away from Paris I could handle. Five years, no. Any length of time not in Paris is too long, but five years is five years. But here we are, more than a month after my mom sent that text, and there’s no denying that September 2008 was a milestone ago. I guess I’m ready to accept that fact, but only because my memories of that glittering month are so vivid that I can dial them up and relive gougère after pomme frite after kir royale as if I were there just a couple of weeks ago.
When I was just a wee lass, I wouldn’t eat shrimp. Unless, of course, they were deep fried “baby” shrimp from the wonderful Chesapeake Bay Seafood House, in which case they were more fry than shrimp, and really just an excuse to get the hush puppies that came in each basket–yes, of course, basket–on the table. But I turned up my nose at the peel and eat shrimp feasts my family would make on beach vacations, and shrimp in decadent restaurant pasta dishes, and shrimp in Chinese food (actually, I turned my nose up at Chinese food altogether, deigning only to eat sad passive aggressive little roll ups of moo-shu wrappers stuffed with rice and cheddar cheese slices. yikes). Of all the things I’ve been wrong about in my life, shrimp is up there. I love them now (as evidenced here and here) in just about any form, but a new weeknight favorite is shrimp tossed in a super simple sauce of mostly sriracha and butter. Deelish, and done in just minutes.
Fall is so real life.
On September 3rd, the world collectively pulled a Band-Aid and we all got shoved out of the lazy, hazy days and into the totally crazy days. Email, meetings, bills, chores, pumpkin spice, and ‘Skins disappointments have swallowed up all of the hours of my day. There’s barely time to exercise our Netflix account or read cookbooks. With each day packed with this much B. to T.C., the shiny golden slip of time between when I get home and when we resume our binge watching of Breaking Bad (only on Season 3 – no spoilers, please!) is sometimes so small that there’s no way I can make dinner. Or at least, no way I can make a dinner for two grown-ups, which means scrambled eggs, PB&J, and reheated pigs in blankets don’t count. However, if I have 15 minutes, I know I have time to make this shrimp and feta dinner. If I have 20 minutes, we can have orzo, too. Sitting down to this bright and creamy plate of shrimp after a full day of dealing with fall makes me feel like I’m the boss.
All summer long—in between Laura and Ed’s move to Boston, Jessica and Hal moving in together and to a new neighborhood, and Laura and Ed’s wedding—we were quietly cooking from Bon Appétit. Even though we had exciting things happening outside of the kitchen, we still reviewed the magazine, decided on a shared recipe, and gave it a whirl. Our choices brought some definite surprises. We expected two of the recipes to be solid winners, and one felt like much more of a (possible gross-out) wild card. And we were exactly wrong.
For all of my New York life, I haven’t had a dishwasher. I’m used to hand washing everything, which definitely impacts my cooking choices–especially on weeknights, I’m way less likely to make something complicated that’s going to take half of forever to clean up. My sweetheart, on the other hand, considers a dishwasher an absolute necessity. Cooking at his apartment (and! in our brand new dishwasher having shared home! excitement!) has caused me to switch up my habits a bit, and be a little more devil may care in my dish use.
One night this summer, having pinned a couple of recipes that I thought would go well together–shrimp tacos with mango salsa from the Kitchn and Mexican street corn salad from Love & Lemons–I looked at the pile of dishes I was accumulating and decided to go all in. Even tho it was just the two of us for a weeknight dinner, I plated the heck out of everything and gave every component it’s own little bowl. And I loved it, mess and all.
stacks on stacks on stacks of dishes.
Ed and I had a perfect wedding day. We were both so happy to be marrying each other and completely humbled and overwhelmed by the love of our family and friends. We ran off to our honeymoon immediately after the wedding and savored every relaxing moment. In short, it was a fantastic couple of weeks. And now everything’s over. That fact has been nagging me much more than I expected. I found myself in a fog last week, weighed down and melancholy. I blamed my feelings on the discomfort of the long drive back from Virginia and the remaining sniffles of a mild cold, but I was just sad that the wedding was in the past.
mint, parsley, lemon zest