Strange Pho Day

I ate lunch at Pho 32 with a grad-school friend of mine today. It’s a tasty little no-frills place in the heart of midtown with more than reasonable prices. Just before our pho arrived, I went over to the condiment bar to get some fish sauce, and my earring, a black pearl given to me last summer by my grandmother, fell into a vat of thick chili sauce. I told one of the servers, and he fished it out for me.

pho

I rarely wear small earrings — anyone who knows me knows that I always go for the enormous dangly variety. I just like the way they look. But this morning, I reached for these tiny ones, feeling compelled by their simplicity. And little did I know when I put them on in the morning, I would be glad by evening that I did — it made me feel very close to my grandmother when I got the phone call saying she’d passed away. I’m kind of in shock, but also flooded with memories of her cooking and crafting. She was a feisty woman with a mind like a steel-trap and a pair of hands that could make just about anything. We were close, and I’m really going to miss her.

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Dinner Party

Last night, I had a few people over for dinner — two of my dearest girlfriends and their boys. And it was kind of a magical night. The food, which resulted from a collaborative effort, was great. Unfortunately, we didn’t capture a picture of the meal, but it reminded me of the last time I’d had two of the same friends over for dinner — and I do have a picture of that. I’d made risotto, only I used red wine instead of white, cause that’s what I had on hand. It didn’t look pretty. And what you see in the bottom right-hand corner of the picture is steamed beets, sliced in half and stuffed with goat cheese. Also not pretty. It might have been the ugliest meal ever served in my house!

beets

Spring Salad with Grilled Chicken

chicken salad

One of my best friends came over for dinner tonight, and I made us salads with all kinds of yummy, healthy things: mixed greens, radish, celery, avocado, minced garlic, jalapeno, apple, walnut, dill, lime, rice vinegar, olive oil, ground pepper, salt, grilled chicken. light and delicious. You just don’t want to kiss anyone after, as my friend pointed out.

White Chocolate, Cranberry, Macadamia Cookies

I made these a few weeks ago now, but they’re worth mentioning — maybe it was just a function of my neighbor’s increasingly helpful culinary touch, but they’re the first gluten-free cookies I’ve made that came out looking like real cookies. usually, they don’t rise. They were some tasty little treats. I followed the basic ingredients for Toll House chocolate chip cookies, with gluten-free all-purpose flour and chocolate chips, cranberries, and macadamia cookies instead of chocolate chips.

cookies

Soup, Burgers, and Potato Chips from Scratch

I woke up wanting carrot-ginger soup (despite this balmy march weather!).

carrot ginger prep

So I cooked up some minced garlic and ginger in olive oil, added chopped carrots, potato, chicken broth, salt, and pepper, and threw it all in the blender.

soup

Dinner was burgers and potato chips (tossed in olive oil with a pinch each of salt, pepper, oregano, parsley, and basil; then baked), with a side of chipotle mayo (i added a bunch of ground chipotle, and a little sugar to cut the heat).

burger