Intentions for today: To put up a new recipe.
Actuality of today: I didn’t craft a new recipe, but I certainly had a lot of good food.
Every few weeks, I feel obligated to travel to Connecticut to visit The Life Givers. Admittedly, in the winter, those visits are more far and few between. Northwestern Connecticut in the winter is, well, bleak and uninspiring. To sound less elegant, it’s wicked boring up there. I get enthralled to spend thirty minutes shopping in my hometown’s gargantuan Super Stop & Shop, and I am sadly using little hyperbole. To do anything truly stimulating involves at least a fifteen minute car ride, and frankly, in the little time I spend up there, I rarely feel inclined to take those trips two towns over when the temperatures are cold.
That being said, I do love going back to the little cottage I grew up in. It’s airy, it’s funky, it’s cozy, it’s home. In the winter, my visits usually involve me cooking one or two dishes for my parents, my father perhaps throwing something together, like a refrigerator lunch or a late-night pan of brownies, and me watching copious amounts of digital cable, a luxury I can not afford in Manhattan. As I type this paragraph in specific, “Tremors 2” is playing on the Sundance Channel. (True story: I loved this movie as a kid and can recite a large chunk of it verbatim. Should I be so open about such a feat?)
I like to try new dishes for my parents. Though I had showcased Shakshuka here on the blog last weekend, my parents wanted to try it. My mom loved my recipe post; their friend Herbie happened to visit them the day I posted the recipe, and, apparently, he is no stranger to Shakshuka. So, off I went to buy the ingredients! In the mean time, my father whipped together a wonderful matzoh ball soup for lunch, with cheese and crackers to accompany it. (Carbs and dairy; well-balanced.)
Soon, the daylight began to dim. My aperture was failing me, but I got a few good shots of my masterpiece, even after the sun set and the kitchen lighting cast a yellow warming glow over my creation…
The next morning, my mother very excitedly took me out to Plantin’ Seeds. Admittedly, I had been looking forward to this meal experience for quite a few months. Located at a quite intersection in my hometown, and upon first walking in, one would think it’s your typical country restaurant. However, it is more than just that. It is a full-on initiative. On weekends, wonderful farm – to – table brunches are provided, with all payment by donation. In turn, diners are provided with a multi-course meal showcasing local grains and produce. There is also a co-op element, allowing patrons to buy locally-grown grains, honey, et al. The morning I went, the focus was on carrots.
So I started out with some assam tea…
Soon, we moved onto bread baked with local grains, complemented with butter topped with flaked sea salt and red currant jam.
Roasted carrots with seeds and a Meyer Lemon vinaigrette was the first course.
The main course was an absolutely mind-blowingly delicious chickpea crepe, stuffed with a carrot-potato curry and topped with cashew cream. The accompanying kimchi took the dish to another level.
Finally, an incredibly tender donut came out along side a few slices of blood orange.
Also, the homemade kombucha was perfection! It was light with hints of jasmine.
I love cooking in my tiny little Manhattan kitchen, but it’s rare nowadays that I get to share my cooking beyond a beau or a roommate. I occasionally have friends over to feed them, though not often enough. (No one wants to travel to Inwood, yet I’m expected to go see them in Brooklyn?! Ha!) I know my cooking is appreciated and loved in Connecticut, so I am happy to whip up something awesome for two eager diners. Also, on occasion, I can still come across dining experiences such as the one I had at Plantin’ Seeds.
The city is lively, but the countryside I grew up in can still hold surprises.