Monday, February 27, 2012

Catch up: Potato Pancakes, Orange Walnut Cake and Scandinavian Cooking

There is much to say. Between December and January, I

- got engaged
- spent a culinarian's dream weekend in Austin
- celebrated Christmas with my fiance's family
- mourned Yia Yia's passing (Damon's grandma)
- mourned my grandfather's passing
- began wedding planning
- flew to Portland to plan our July 7 (!!) wedding at Timberline Lodge
- moved out of my beloved 4 year-long residence in Old Town with my dear roommate of six years
- moved in with Damon

That's a lot right? I feel heavy chested just reading it. Life sometimes smacks you over the head and you land on the ground, slowly blinking up at a whole new world around you. I think I'm still blinking heavily these days, though what I see is growing ever more familiar. Loving and losing always go hand in hand, don't they?

An early Saturday morning in February, I awoke to freshly laid snow. I think it one of two snows that have kept overnight all winter. In the spirit of blanketing warmth, I always reach for carbohydrates but with Damon dipping his toes in the gluten-free pond I embarked on my first ever crusade with a potato pancake. My Moosewood cookbook is still my go-to favorite to use up odds and ends in my cupboard and still feel that I'm feeding myself well. These cumin-scented potato pancakes were no exception. Sometimes masala and coffee and freshly fallen snow is exactly what I need to get my head screwed on straight.

Then there was a Orange-Walnut cake  from Lottie & Doof, which I used as my own personal welcome home present. Because it's been so warm this winter, I haven't craved citrus like I usually do. Typically, fresh oranges and grapefruits in the dead of winter take me right back to Florida vacations at my grandparents. Grandpa would start sizzling up bacon for eggs benedict and in the meantime, slice up backyard-grown ruby grapefruits. I can still see his super bent thumbs cutting each piece of fruit from the pith.

On a sunny Sunday morning I found myself vicariously living through a treasured friend. She is pushing her own professional limits to the edge as she takes over the helm of this kitchen. I'm inspired and impressed and jealous that she's being pushed so hard in a kitchen newly her own. Big things are ahead. Big things. After detailing her Valentine's Day menu for 60, she brushed this treat across the table for me. Maybe big Scandinavian things could be in store for me too.

I've also celebrated the final installment of our Harry Potter marathon, which I do solemnly swear to show you the delicious feast that bookended the series. And, another dear Kendall friend and I cooked our way through the Oscars. To be released later this week...