Headlines for Saturday:

  1. Happiness (255 words)
  2. Learning how to wok (192 words)



1. Happiness: 20:02

I'll upload pictures someday and then go back and edit these entries, but I wanted to make sure that I got the stories out at least.

I need to read more cooking magazines. I'm running out of superlatives for describing what I've been eating these days. Today's vocabulary challenge was posed by dinner: a strawberry spinach salad tossed with a raspberry vinaigrette, sprinkled with almond slivers. The tartness of the raspberry vinaigrette contrasted with sweet strawberries and nutty almonds. Feta cheese might have added an interesting saltiness to it, but we didn't have any handy, so we added grated Parmesan cheese instead. And all because strawberries were on sale today at No Frills, $3.49 for 2 pounds.

Just thinking about it makes my toes curl.

For brunch earlier, we had buttermilk pancakes: stacks of six airy buttermilk pancakes with a slightly crisp face, heaped with strawberry chunks, drizzled with pure maple syrup, and—the final flourish—dusted with confectioner's sugar in the fancy-shmancy way that restaurants justify high prices.

It actually doesn't take a lot of money to live the life of the rich. In terms of eating things in season, I think we're totally there. Sure, there are little things that we can add over time as our circumstances improve. A griddle would be nice, for example. But it's hard to imagine a better life than this, with plenty of time to leisurely cook and cheerfully linger over one of life's basic pleasures.

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2. Learning how to wok: 20:31

Although the Joy of Cooking is a venerable cookbook and the one we turn to for classic recipes, my current inspiration is The Essential Wok Cookbook, by Whitecap Books. Maybe it's the colorful pictures. Maybe it's my own inclination towards Asian recipes that feature garlic and ginger and all sorts of yummy things. Whatever it is, that wok cookbook tickles my fancy more than Joy of Cooking does. Maybe I have to learn how to wok before I can... augh. I'm sorry. I just had to say that.

I like stir-fries. There's something almost magical about the result of a 15-minute marinade, a little oil, and a lot of movement. You can throw in whatever vegetables are on sale. And it lends itself well to using frozen meat, too. Beef is much easier to slice thinly when it's still frozen solid, and you only need a little of it anyway.

I'm looking forward to trying the other recipes. After we finish the pho, or perhaps for lunch on Monday, maybe I can make garlic beef and red pepper. Mmmmm...

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