Monday, April 17, 2006

Hooky

Today I played hooky from work. It seems that I don't take enough days off or take the wrong ones, and so if I don't use them they will be gone next year. I don't get the actual difference between personal, floating and vacation days. Although they've tried to make it simpler by narrowing it down to personal, vacation and sick, I still get confused. I've apparently taken vacation days when I should have taken personal and to top it off I never "call in sick" unless I'm in my death-bed. For me, you get a bunch of days and should fend for yourself. But no, and so if you call the day before saying you won't be in it counts as sick (which makes sense), if you organize it ahead of time you can choose between personal and vacation, now where's the logic in that? If you are a woman and are pregnant, do you take personal, sick or vacation days? you're not really sick unless you're throwing your guts up, it's not really a vacation (I have friends that can more than confirm that), but is it personal?
Anyway, I decided that instead of having my "sick" days go to waste, I would call saying that I wasn't coming in. And so I woke up at my regular hour and called the office. Needless to say that I feel guilty taking a sick day when in fact I'm not sick. I prefer, for my own peace of mind, to think of it as a "mental health" day...

It was a beautiful day (I apologize in advance to those that were being responsible and worked), but a bit chilly so I didn't go to the garden. Instead I took my time shopping for food for the whole week - yes, it's become a culinary entry yet again-. Nothing like going to the supermarket when everyone else is working. You share the isles with the elder, which in this case suit me just fine. No hurry, no racing to the cash register, taking my time to look at labels and savoring what each meal will be like.
In my years of buying food I've discovered one little pleasure that comes almost guilt-free: Turkey bacon. You see, I grew up with a grandfather that had a heart condition and so salt was sparse and food health-conscious. Now I have a husband with a family-history of heart problems. When you are Mediterranean this dietetic situation can get a bit tricky, but some bright soul invented olive oil, so all is good.
Back to my turkey bacon. The purists might be cringing but I can vouch for it. It tastes like bacon, since it's smoked, but doesn't have as nearly all the fat as real bacon has. Somehow I try to make things tasty without much of the fat that comes with all the greatest meals. No sour cream (I'm still crying over that one), no using butter for cooking, and I still call myself French...
Tonight I decided to use some healthy bacon galore. I'm simmering onions with fig preserves so that they can caramelize. They in turn will be topping the serving of calf's liver with bits of turkey bacon. All this accompanied by a cucumber and yogurt salad that has been condiment-ed with papalo (got you there, ask me about it) and my ever-faithful mesclun salad that has... bits of turkey bacon! I thought about adding some feta cheese to it, but that might overkill it. Tasty but healthy, somewhat.
Tomorrow I'm back at work, lingering smells of cooking in my mind, of summer days to come, but specially of some great meals to have when I'm in Spain shortly!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Delicious

Mesclun salad with a simple vinaigrette topped with pan seared salmon that has been marinating in green lemon juice, fish sauce and lemon soy sauce. A salad of crab meat with cilantro, grapefruit,a tiny (really tiny) drop of white truffle oil and jalapenos to start with. The smells of a mild evening coming through the wide open windows to finish it off. Now that's what I call a summer meal after a day of gardening.
Tomatoes were planted. Space for the basil and the coriander was made. The parsley, thyme, lemon thyme, sage and oregano are in place. I, my dear friends, are happy. Good weather is here! I have revived.
I am not made for winter and so my blogs shall become sparse. Why? look me up in the garden ;o)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Oh

Almost forgot about my promise in Nonsense. I did get a (very) good grade ;)

Finally!

It's spring! yes yes yes! The trees are blooming, the first flowers are showing their colors, the birds are chirping. Even the dogs look happy while peeing on the sidewalks and no longer have that "hurry hurry before my paws freeze and I get stuck here!" kind of expression. Misery is no more, happiness is in the air. Pants are being tossed in the back of the closet and skirts get shorter as temperatures rise (not me mind you); flip-flops do their flippy-flapping in a wishful way although it's still a bit nippy out there. The moment it gets above 50F (10C for you mathematically challenged) New Yorkers don their summer attires so as to dare Old Man Winter to show his face again. I often see them shivering stubbornly in the evening, with a sweater around their waist and refusing to admit that they might be very close to hypothermia. I sometimes feel like reminding some of those dare devils that we have had snowstorms in April, but hey, to each it's own.
I, very wisely, have learned the lesson and carry my faithful pashmina around. Don't want to look like an old lady wearing the "just in case it gets cold" buttoned up sweater, discreetly admitting that they have the right idea about the "evening chill". And so during these spring evenings generation gaps become painfully obvious...
Anyway, spring is here and so I open the windows, start considering the million variations of salads I will be making, buy flowers that never fully satisfy me and patiently contemplate the soon-to-be-here dips in the pool.
Somehow it's harder going to work during springtime than during summer. I guess that since spring is the first hint we get of any outside activity where layering is not involved we feel like being outside all the time. By summer we get used to it and even look forward to air conditioning... right now the simple thought of AC makes us roll our eyes and say "pleeeease". Any second we are out there we inhale as if to take it all in, sort of like letting our lungs fill in with the new and get rid of the stale air winter has.
And so spring is here. I am going to playfully skip on to the kitchen and make a wonderful herb and mushrooms omelet accompanied by, what else? a nice mesclun salad, the whole finished by a nice lemon sorbet, my pashmina nearby just in case I get a bit of a chill...