The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. In a total of four weeks, we bought a new house, put our current one on the market for sale (prepping involved stuffing as many things as possible under the bed) and finally, sold it. In retrospect, four weeks to accomplish all that doesn’t seem like a long time but I remember some of those days being long, difficult and stressful. And I haven’t even started renovations on my new house or started packing for the big move yet!
Anyway, as a result of all that, I wasn’t cooking the way I wanted. Our meals were mostly uninspired and often repeated, but that’s not to say that they were bad. In fact, we often found great comfort in old favourites during such tired times. But if I could have my way, I would be baking more and trying out new recipes from either my collection of cookbooks or the ever growing list of websites saved in my “Favourites” folder.
A lot of times, I was too tired to take a photo of our dinner before eating; I just wanted to hurry through our dinner routine and put my tired kids and my tired self to bed. We did order take out, but that usually happened on weekends. For the meals that I did snap photos of, I want to post them here to share with you guys. Here goes:
Elizabeth David’s carrot soup from her book, French Provincial Cooking, and I go way back. Made with only onion, potato, carrot and water, it is one of the rare foods containing carrots that my picky daughter will eat. I used to make a big pot to store in the fridge as sustenance for my little daughter when we were suffering through those horrible days of jet lag when we just arrived back in Toronto from Singapore. During those dark times where I was completely zombified, I’m not exaggerating when I say that boiling water can be too much of an effort for me.
Next, I remember this roasted cauliflower rice salad being quite a highlight of our weeknight dinners. I had a tray of cauliflower florets roasting in a hot oven while a pot of arborio rice on the stove was boiling away. At the end of both cooking times, I tossed everything together in a large bowl with olive oil, capers, pitted black olives, anchovies and garlic. The rice salad was really good and both my kids loved it too. Leftovers made for a mighty fine lunch.
Here comes the pasta: a no cook sauce of cherry tomatoes, shallot, basil, red wine vinegar and olive oil that I tossed with orrecchiette, possibly one of the cutest shapes of pasta out there.
Yet another pasta meal for us; this time, a creamy avocado basil pesto (which was basically the regular pesto recipe but with a large avocado thrown in) that I used to coat wax beans and a type of fusilli that looks like telephone wires – don’t they? This is my rejigged version of a potato-less Pasta alla Genovese.
And the most memorable one for me – a comforting, homey and tasty olive oil zucchini cake that I cut thick wedges off each day and relished every single crumb I had. Cake is my salve and if I could survive on it I would. Sadly, this cake lasted for all of three days.
There will be tougher days ahead for us but I know I will be cooking my way through them because there is nothing more depressing than eating lousy take out after a lousy day. In the meantime, it is already August so let’s enjoy the last weeks of Summer before it’s gone!