I had chess pie for the first time when a former roommate of
mine made it in South Carolina. It’s a southern staple – essentially a custard
pie thickened slightly with cornmeal.
Now, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of the pie the
first go round. I wasn’t really a fan of my roommate, either. Not because he wasn’t
a great person & friend – he was! I just don’t like roommates very much. Of
So far, Seth has remained the exception. I like hanging out with him, I’m relaxed and totally myself when he’s home, and my hair hasn’t started falling out from stress (as it has with previous roommates).
It certainly helps that he is a willing and enthusiastic taste tester. I’m learning how to gauge his reactions to a recipe rather quickly now. I can tell whether he likes something without any words, simply by reading his body language and facial expressions.
I’m currently sitting in a Chicago coffee shop after a night spent enjoying lasagna and red velvet cake with friends. I made the drive down yesterday – something I haven’t done in the better part of a year.
Before leaving, I did something else I hadn’t in ages – roasted a chicken! I used to do this fairly regularly, roasting it one day to eat off of for the week. Not rocket science or even an entirely new idea, but genius nonetheless.
One of the biggest struggles I’ve discovered in living with
someone and in working from home is what the heck do we eat?! Seth is a big,
Midwestern guy with a big, Midwestern appetite. He likes meat and potatoes with
a side of meat and potatoes. Whereas I, on the other hand, ate the same salad
every day behind the bar for nearly two years. We only get a few dinners together
per week, so I feel the desire to make sure we eat good meals when we have the
opportunity to share them.
I bought a planner. It’s pink with gold embossing and a thin ribbon to mark the page. It’s got a monthly overview and a weekly to-do. Very chic, very millennial.
I also got the color-coded pens – blue, black, red, green, pink, orange. All assigned to a specific sector of my life – finance, work, Ernessi, social.
It’s my hope/belief/misguided delusion that by making lists and filling out schedules and trying to be a better planner that I will somehow get my life in order.
And yet…I’ve missed weeks, I’ve missed paying bills, I’ve missed opportunities to get posts up in a timely manner.
There’s a small bit of solace in knowing that this isn’t uncommon for creative types. There’s some reassurance that my spastic scheduling and mediocre time management are byproducts of the artistic juices flowing through my veins! See? It’s not that I’m a bad person – I’m a great person – I just didn’t respond to an email for two weeks because I’m an artiste! I can’t help it, it’s how I’m wired. I can’t be expected to create masterpieces under the shackles of a schedule!
At least, that’s what I tell myself so I don’t dissolve into a heap of tears over not meeting the actual deadlines created by credit card companies or the personal ones I’ve set for myself. In reality, I know it’s a load of bull and I have to really commit to and work on sticking to a schedule if I’m ever going to get where I want to be, doing what I want to be doing.
More of a cake person? This caramel apple cake is a show stopper. Or this sweet potato cake (with toasted marshmallow frosting!!!) that turns a much beloved side into an even better dessert! A bundt cake filled with brandy and pears is just as beautiful and delicious (and a touch easier/quicker) as any layer cake. Does cheesecake count as cake? Does this butternut squash cheesecake count as a vegetable dish? Let’s say it does.
Believe it or not, I have actually made some vegetable recipes before! And I’ll be making my famous bacon braised Brussels sprouts for the festivities like I do every year. And then eating this salad to detox the rest of the weekend.
The cider will be flowing at dinner, after steeping with mulling spices for over 24 hours. If you need a drink to please a crowd, try this easy sangria I made a few weeks ago. It’s to die for!
Sparkling Cider Sangria
1 bottle dry red wine – I like a nice cabernet
2 bottles sparkling cider
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
1/4 cup orange juice
juice of one lemon
1 apple, thinly sliced
1 pear, thinly sliced
1 orange, thinly sliced
3 cinnamon sticks
Pour all liquid into a large pitcher and stir in fruit and cinnamon sticks. Allow to steep in fridge for at least four hours, preferably overnight. Serve chilled with extra fruit and garnish with cinnamon sticks, if desired.