Mother Nature has been teasing me with days full of sunshine and temperatures mild enough to warrant only a heavy sweater to stay comfortable outdoors. It's the kind of weather that breeds wishful thoughts of lemons and fresh berries, fresh green baby spinach leaves, spears of asparagus and bright red juicy radishes pulled from the garden.
The Oscars are coming. I tune in to watch the hoopla every year. It never matters that most years I haven't seen the movies that have been nominated for awards. It's not the actual presentation of each award that attracts me. It's the whole package - the people, the clothes they're wearing, the sparkling jewels, the music - and the food we eat while watching. During the past year I've actually seen a few movies. One of those movies, "It's Complicated," is not on any list of nominations. But it will be getting some attention.
The heady aroma of simmering sauerkraut is not what typically arouses me from my morning slumber.
During my last trip to the Twin Cities, I had the opportunity to visit one of the new specialty stores that sells olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Vinaigrette, near 50th and Xerxes in south Minneapolis, has been open for business since last September. I'd never been in a store like this. And I'd never sipped balsamic vinegars or olive oil straight up. I slowly moved from one stainless steel airtight container to the next, tasting sweet balsamic vinegars and robust olive oils. I chose a few to take home. Owners Sarah and Richard Piepenburg bottled them for me as I watched.
I've been eating thin, lacy pancakes the size of a dinner plate since I was a toddler. Although some would call them French crepes, in our house, they were Hungarian palacsinta. On palacsinta days, the kitchen would be perfumed with the fragrance of vanilla and sugar.
Who doesn't love a good dip to slather on crackers or down with some chips? And if it's a dip that can be ready in about 10 minutes from start to finish - touchdown! A few weeks ago I was trying to think of a warm, easy-to-make snack when my son and daughter-in-law were visiting. For some reason, an artichoke dip that I hadn't made in years popped into my mind. The recipe came to me via a dinner club.
The sign read "Pasties For Sale." It was 1988 and I was in Ely, Minn. My husband was a sports writer at that time and we were there for the state American Legion baseball tournament. I wasn't very interested in the games, but I kept eyeing that sign at the concession stand advertising pasties for sale. Pasties for sale? Ummm. I'd never heard of edible pasties. And, at a ballpark concession stand? Finally, my curiosity got the best of me. I gingerly approached the snack stand, thinking I'd just take a peek. No such luck, though.
You may think you have distaste for lentils. That can happen. But maybe you haven't had lentils when they are cooked to perfect tenderness and mixed with other flavorful ingredients. And maybe you haven't had an opportunity to try a few varieties of lentils, brown, green and red, all of a different size. I was introduced to common brown lentils at an early age. My Hungarian mother made sure we had lentils the first day of every year. In Hungary, coin-shaped lentils are consumed on New Year's Day to ensure wealth and prosperity throughout the year.