For the Week (1.6.13)

What is living “the dream” nowadays? If you could do anything, without limits or hinderance, would that be living the dream? It’d definitely be living your dream… For me, I’d eat or cook for a living, or something in the restaurant industry. It’s still hazy. Or I’d travel for a living. But I don’t think I’d enjoy all of the intermediary steps to becoming a professional travel writer or restauranteur, so I’m stuck headed down a mysterious path to an indiscernible ending. Oh the joys of being an almost-college-graduate.

Two of the interesting links I found this week feature indie “dream” jobs — professional baristas (and the camps you can attend to be one!) and modern small farmers. At least that’s what I imagine to be super cool indie jobs. Check them out, maybe you’ll want to join in the fun too. Here’s hoping I can find a part-time job at a coffee shop this year!

Black Bean, Tomatillo and Poblano Soup

Black Bean, Tomatillo and Poblano Soup

Some people pair food with wine. Others pair it with a perfectly complementary table setting. I pair food with music. I’m constantly seeking out new flavors in food, and I’m on a parallel journey to discover new sounds in music.

I’ve decided to share music pairings with each recipe. A song whose spirit captures the spirit of the dish. This song by Cayucas is sunny, etherial, bright, and poppy. It feels like lazy days in the beachy sunshine, eating tacos from a street vendor. This hearty Mexican soup is like a winter remedy for missing that moment of summertime.

Black Bean, Tomatillo and Poblano Soup

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Moroccan Lamb Tagine

Moroccan Lamb Tagine

House rule: everyone gets a big first helping of dinner, but after that you can pick and choose what you want to eat more of, directly from the pot. It’s a fork war for more carrots or the last big hunk of lamb. And it’s a lot easier than being fussy and using a serving spoon to move the best bits and pieces onto your plate. This big pot of Moroccan lamb is no exception.

The Moroccan lamb is wonderful; it’s spicy and sweet, rich and bright, and has a flavor-packed sauce that melts into the couscous. There are 12 different spices, but if you’re missing one, just substitute a little more of another. I doubt you’ll be able to tell the difference. (But don’t hold me responsible, please!) I threw in chickpeas to add a little more oomph and protein, and an extra can of tomatoes because I like them. Before adding the carrots and fruit, the sauce was definitely spicy, but the addition of the last few ingredients really cuts the spice and adds another level of flavor and sweetness.

Moroccan Lamb Tagine

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Chocolate Bread Pudding

Chocolate Bread Pudding

This morning I went out to breakfast and ordered a hot chocolate instead of my usual coffee. The drink disappointed me. The chocolate wasn’t rich enough. The milk was too watery. I don’t normally drink hot chocolate, so when I do, I want to indulge! I don’t want to have everyday sacrifices in my cocoa (skim milk, powdered chocolate) if I’m not drinking it every day.

Flash back to sitting in Florence last fall, drinking a 6 euro hot chocolate while looking out at the Duomo. Maybe I shouldn’t be comparing the two at all, but the chocolate in Florence was a moment wholly about indulgences. Outrageous price, but an outrageous setting and outrageous taste. I believe in treating oneself. Rather than having little goodies here and there, save up your “goodie points” and use them on something special. A decadent cocktail, dessert made with heavy cream, or new pair of fancy shoes. Or all three.

Chocolate Bread Pudding

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For the Week (12.23.12)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! But today it rained, and rained, and rained… and then rained some more. And it’s still raining. Northern California is soaked! But the weather won’t stop us from spending time with family, cooking wonderful food, and opening presents Tuesday morning.

As promised, I’ve collected the best tidbits from the web for the week. Have a wonderful holiday and final few days of the year! May they be tasty and bright