Wednesday, February 22, 2012

nostalgia wednesdays: winter

It's a gorgeous, amazing, blissful 62 degrees and sunny right now, and predicted to climb to the high sixties again tomorrow. I walked to and from mass with my boss, and even though we went nearly half a mile out of our way by accident, it was the perfect day for the adventure. I can't wait for happy hour on a patio somewhere later on today. 

I'd say 99.5% of the time this "winter," I've been thrilled with the weather. I absolutely hate being cold, and find snow to be magical only until it becomes dirty and dingy and hinders my commute to and from work (spoiler alert: that happens really quickly).

But I have to say that a tiny part of me is nostalgic for real winter. This is the season when you're supposed to pull on a pair of cute rain boots and go sledding with your neighbors on an unexpected snow day...

Or when you're supposed to venture out in a historic snow storm in search of gelato with your roomate...

Stopping along the way to yank arm-sized icicles off buildings and climb to the top of tree-height snow piles. 

It's easy to be all nostalgic now about the snowmen-making and hot cocoa sipping, and to forget about the bitter cold and lack of paycheck for the week the government was shut down. And I do love that I can walk down the street without a coat on February 22(!). But next winter, I'd like just one good snow, ok, mother nature? 

In the mean time, I'll just have to pretend it's chilly outside to enjoy some of winter's more hearty go-to recipes, like the little dinner I made last night. I bought a bag of brussels sprouts at Trader Joe's Monday, intending to make this dish. I didn't want to buy, or use, heavy cream, so I decided to search for something different. 

I came across this food network recipe instead, and heavily adapted it for what I had on hand (and for what I personally like best). It ended up going something like this: 

-handful of baby carrots, sliced lengthwise
-handful of baby potatoes, cut in half
-half a bag of brussels sprouts, cut in half
-half a red pepper, cut in to medium size pieces
-clove of garlic, minced (seriously, every savory recipe should include this, in my book)
-sprinkling of rosemary & thyme (maybe tablespoon of each)
-pinch of sea salt
-a few cranks of black pepper from the grinder
-just enough olive oil to coat everything lightly and keep it from sticking to the pan

I baked it all together in my pretty pyrex pie pan at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes, stirring it with a spoon halfway through. A cookie sheet would do just as well, but I'm trying to make a more concerted effort to treat dinner less like an obligation and more like something nice I can do for myself (and whoever might be at my house at the time), which means using the nice pans, plates, and wine glasses!

Even though it wasn't all that cold outside, it was the perfect winter weeknight dinner, with a little salad on the side, and a Trader Joe's ice cream sandwich for dessert (yes, I'm one of those weirdos who prefers ice cream in winter).

ps-Sorry to be so MIA (I know everyone has really missed me. REALLY). I had one of my closest college friends and her boyfriend in town for the long weekend, and I spent three straight days totally crashing their touristy weekend, which was a real gift, but didn't lend itself to cooking much! 

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