On a Sunday evening, there are few things I love more than cooking a fantastic dinner and eating it on the couch watching Mad Men. It’s a formula that can’t be improved upon – except for those Sundays when I am able, in between grocery shopping and vegetable prep, to squeeze in a Skype call with my increasingly mobile and perpetually adorable niece. Last weekend was filled with great friends and lots of wine, and by Sunday, I was fully ready for my weekly hibernation. And with unseasonably cold temperatures of late, something warm and homey sounded just right – a roast chicken recipe from Bon Appetit incorporating several of the vegetables from my most recent CSA box.
Tag Archives: Meat
It’s a little embarrassing to admit at age 29, but birthdays are still a big deal to me. As an adult, I have tried to dial back my enthusiasm to a respectable level, but as a child, being born the day after Halloween means your birthday is a culmination of a three day orgy of candy, glorious outfits, and presents. My mom, having been raised in a “birthdays are a BFD” household herself, implemented a firm policy of putting the birthday child in charge. The whole family would wake up early to have breakfast and open presents, followed by an afternoon classroom pizza delivery, then dinner and more presents with our grandparents. It’s easy to get used to that kind of celebration.
In keeping with my barely-concealed desire to be lavished with attention on the anniversary of my arrival in the world, this year I invited my besties over for a birthday feast. They brought copious amounts of wine and thoughtful gifts, and I in turn served up a coma-inducing spread of the ultimate in comfort food, spaghetti and meatballs.
It was the perfect menu for weeknight festivities. The meatballs and homemade tomato sauce required a little love and advance preparation on Sunday night, but there was no slaving over the stove on the evening of the party. Instead, I was in the dining room sipping wine and snacking on rosemary marcona almonds with my friends. A salad of arugula and shaved Pecorino Romano, tossed in a bracing red wine vinaigrette, and homemade garlic bread rounded out the meal. And for dessert, the best cannoli in Chicago, with a candle in mine, of course.
My Uncle Wally is the quintessential hunter-gatherer. One memorable Christmas, on his way to the family celebration, he watched as the car ahead of him struck a deer, and immediately pulled over. To help, sure, but also to ask, “uh, are you going to keep that?” The rest of us snacked on appetizers while he and my dad field dressed the deer in our city backyard. He watches with pride as his children devour homemade goose nuggets, and his garage is home to no fewer than four devices for cooking, smoking, or otherwise preparing meat. So when he swears allegiance to his Weber charcoal grill, I take him at his word, particularly when it is accompanied by delicious barbecued ribs.