What I’m Cooking: March

What I’m drinking

When the first nor’easter came through last Friday, I longed for a cup of hot spiced wine to warm my ice-flecked face after I got home from work. I mulled a pot of wine for a small dinner gathering the next night, but we didn’t drink it–my apartment was very warm after roasting two Cornish hens, and I had made a candy-colored cocktail with two of my infused vodkas (strawberry and peach) and lemonade.

When the second nor’easter came through, I had the day off of work and a yearning for a drink I get at a nearby Malaysian restaurant which is made with strong coffee mixed with strong tea and condensed milk. I didn’t have any condensed milk, but I loaded up my French press with some coffee and smoky black tea, and used regular milk with a pinch of sugar. Mixing coffee and black tea together brings out the earthy, nutty notes in each; it made caffeine a treat for my day off, rather than something I consume to stay awake.

I have recently discovered the wine spritzer. This feels like a weird thing to say, and at other times of my life (particularly when I worked in a wine store) I would have been totally embarrassed to dilute wine with anything. But I had been gifted some overly sweet wine that I wanted to use up on New Year’s Eve, and as it turns out, sweet wine tastes great mixed with LaCroix and a splash of bitters. The second-from-bottom-shelf cabernet I buy for myself works well for this, too. The internet suggests 3 parts wine to 1 part fizz, but for convenience we usually do it half-and-half. It is refreshing and I regret nothing.

What I’m cooking

Aside from the dinner party Cornish hens, I’ve been a creature of habit. I make this spicy chicken and lentil stew on the regular (I add kale). I throw a block of tofu, a pint jar of the kimchi I make periodically, and a few cups of red rice straight from the rice cooker into a hot pan for kimchi fried rice. I make a kale and sweet potato coconut curry for which I do not have a recipe. When my neighbor comes over to play video games, we make aluminum foil pouches to bake salmon filets (with a dab of miso butter) and baby golden potatoes, and serve that on top of crunchy salads lightly dressed with ginger dressing. The pattern, for me, has been meals I can make by heart and for which I have components already made. Very little inspiration or experimentation going on in my kitchen lately.

I’d love to hear what’s been keeping everyone else warm this winter; perhaps you’ll spark a taste for something new.

What I’m writing

Well, this blog–for the first time in a year! (The last post was published March 7, 2017.) When I submitted my dissertation in August 2016, I was at first very excited to continue reading and writing about food without the pressure of a looming deadline. But it was a struggle to recover my fervor for the subject. I stopped writing about food. I stopped reading about food. I stopped caring about food culture, or at least about interpreting and discussing it.

But time passed, people kept posting really smart and interesting things about food, and I realized that I wanted to read their smart writing and make connections and maybe, possibly, write responses to it. I’m not entirely sure where or how far this will go.

In the meantime, tell me what you’ve got cooking (on the stovetop or on the laptop).

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