So here’s something that just occurred to me: It’s ironic — cruelly ironic — that the season of resolutions (and trying to keep them) coincides with the season of trying not to freeze here on the east coast. The food pages hawk salads and smoothies; bluster and chill begs for stew and hot cocoa. Perhaps we should mark the new year in May, or just move to California. Or Australia. Alas, I don’t have much pull with the folks who set the calendar – and I may have even less sway when it comes to convincing my wonderful wife that the west coast would suit us well. DC friends, rejoice: we’re not leaving.
Instead, we’re hunkering down under fleece blankets and finding one too many excuses to make hot cocoa. But even the frigid depths of January and February require occasional salads. We can’t subsist entirely on soup (though rest assured, I have tried). Here’s what I have to say about those winter salads: they don’t always want leaves. They certainly don’t want to be nibbled, or speared politely with a small fork. These are hungry days; we want to shovel our salads with a spoon, in big heaps, and let them fill our bellies.
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Having been out of cooking commission for most of fall, I missed the season of fancy party snacks and holiday breakfasts. I spent December gazing at a certain very delicious little face, foregoing the mistletoe and the cocktail parties. Now it’s January, and the cinnamon rolls and champagne flutes are fading in the rear view mirror on your way to the gym. 2015, you came quickly.
But I’ve been making up for lost time, now that the babe and I have hit our stride. We’ve had scones and omelettes for brunch, wintry mixed drinks at happy hour, and plenty of snacks. I’ll spare you the over-the-top breakfasts and the bourbony indulgence — for now — but the snacks I’ve been making these past couple weeks are too good not to share. Think of it as some belated holiday cheer.
These dates snapped back into my repertoire after I received a version of them from a friend, shortly after Adi was born. Jana, an excellent cook (and now a maker of very fancy cakes), slipped some chevre into pitted dates, and topped each date with a slice of pistachio and a pinch of minced chives. I ate one, then shamelessly ate all the others before D could get any. And then, the very next day, I added a TJ’s run to our itinerary to pick up dates and chives and chevre and do the whole thing again.
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