Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Writer's block, a bit

As the title implies, I'm a bit stumped these days when it comes to blog topics. It is my own damn fault -- I haven't been spending nearly enough time in the kitchen lately, or thinking about food, or eating delicious food...basically, I just haven't given my hobbies a top priority lately. There are many reasons why (are you ready for this list of excuses?): I traveled a lot of the last month, the holidays were a completely hectic time, I've been watching my spending, and most of all, my heart just hasn't been in it, as cheesy as that sounds.

These are, of course, completely empty excuses. I have been spending a lot less on groceries lately, but given time and effort, I could still cook up a storm. Instead I've just been taking the easy way out -- pasta and sauce, pre-mixed salad from the farmers' market, leftovers...You get the gist. Well, enough is enough. I am still completely devoted to cooking my way through Barefoot in Paris -- a little hiatus was all I needed. Actually, I never shared these pictures:

Beef bourguignon from that cookbook (you can find the recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/beef-bourguignon-recipe/index.html). I thought it needed a little something, but the roommate went mad for it, so what can I say? So, I'll be sure to keep you all updated on that front. The awesome new chef's knives that I got for Christmas are sure to help, too (thanks mom!). Seriously though, they're awesome. Here's hoping I can keep all my fingers.

To keep things Frenchy -- the roommate and I had a delightful roommate holiday dinner shortly before Christmas. We went to Absinthe, which has been on my list for awhile. First of all, the neighborhood its in (Hayes Valley) is just adorable. If I was going to live downtown, that's where I'd want to be. There are a lot of cute cafes and shops, a great park, and classic San Francisco architecture. And actually, Absinthe is right across the street to the bistro that the guys at work took me to for my birthday! The restaurant itself was great, too -- of course, it was decked out in Christmas cheer, and you know I can't resist that. We'd made a reservation and were seated right away. It was crowded, but cozy. The roommate was a little overwhelmed by the menu, being unfamiliar with a lot of the items, so she left ordering up to me (yay!). We started with French onion soup -- I have to admit, I've been on a French onion soup kick lately. I mean, what's not to like -- caramelized onions, rich velvety stock, crusty bread, and a mountain of Gruyere cheese. Come on. Absinthe's didn't disappoint -- it was delicious and hearty. We followed that with a light salad of local greens, pears, candied nuts, and a Gorgonzola mousse quenelle, topped with a cheesy crisp. Next came the beef tartare topped with a quail egg, ordered mostly out of curiosity. I didn't hate it -- there was some pickle and capers chopped up in there that gave it a nice tangy crunch -- without that, I wouldn't have cared for the dish. Next came the main course (and I should mention here that we split all of this, so it wasn't too outrageous). The entree was a pork loin served on a cranberry bean ragu -- also all delicious. Between all this and a bottle of wine, we were satiated to the point that we didn't even order dessert! I know -- this may be a first. It was a great evening! Here's a pic of the tartare:

Okay, so somehow I managed to come up with a complete post. The lesson here? Sometimes a bit of rambling can totally give you direction!