Grown up grilled cheese

Originally posted November 2012.

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As you must know, since you have a working Internet connection and are presumably not a time traveler who just arrived here in 2012 (and really, why would you want to come to 2012 if you were a time traveler? I’m digressing), you know that last month, we got sacked pretty hard by a hurricane. Or superstorm. I’m not quite sure what we’re calling it. Either way, it was pretty ridiculous. People were out of power for days/weeks — some are still waiting for their power to come back on! — and others tragically lost their possessions, homes and, in some cases, lives. 

Despite living in a bayfront town, we were pretty lucky. There was no damage to our apartment or cars (though my car did almost get smashed to bits by a colossal pine tree — silly me for thinking my car would be safer at my parents’ house further inland), and while being without power or heat for a week was not even remotely fun, it could have been a lot worse. I went to the Jersey Shore to help a friend who was one of the unlucky ones. While I thought the term “devastated” and all its variants seemed overused, it’s really the only word to describe what happened down there. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen up close.

Before this gets too depressing, let me tell you about something I threw together before we got gobsmacked by a worst-case-scenario storm and alternated between living off of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches (curse you, electric stove!) and going out to eat all the time in order to escape our 50-degree living quarters and put something lukewarm in our bellies.

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Breaking through writer’s block with an ungodly amount of garlic.

Originally posted July 2012.

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It always bothers me when I post a recipe I found from some other chef/food blogger’s website (though clearly, not enough to refrain from doing so) because I feel so…un-innovative. I feel like really, all I’m doing is successfully duplicating something that’s already been done. I usually try to tweak things, or take a component from one recipe I’ve found and incorporate it into something else. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself, because really, I’m not trying to cash in on anyone else’s successes or claim them as my own. I maintain this website because it’s my own little way of dealing with writer’s block. It’s cathartic, in a way, to be able to come home after a frustrating day and chill out (or swelter, these days) in the kitchen, listen to some good music, take some mediocre pictures and put it all into words.

For years now, I’ve been dealing with seemingly insurmountable writer’s block…or rather, not dealing with it, unless you count staring at a blank notebook saying “well, that idea sucked” then rolling over and going to sleep as dealing with it. I’ve more or less been a writing machine since I decided to pursue a lit degree (and probable cardboard box dwelling) in 2005, but there is a colossal difference between writing for work/school and writing because youlove it and not doing it simply is not an option. I can churn out news and feature articles like it’s my job (because, well, it sort of is), but when it comes to writing for myself? It just doesn’t happen anymore. At least, not like it used to. I can’t necessarily lock myself in my room for days like I did when I was a teenager, emerging with some poem or short story or chapter of a yet-to-be-completed novel, but I can sit at my kitchen table and write about my adventures in the kitchen. That’s really what I’m here for.

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This will convert you into a macaroni salad fan. If you’re weird like me and didn’t already like it, that is.

Originally posted June 2012.

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Dear Macaroni Salad,

If you don’t mind, I’m going to be frank with you — I never really liked you. Now look, I’m not saying this to hurt your feelings, but I’m just trying to establish an honest relationship with you.

It wasn’t your fault, really. I’ve just never really thought that macaroni should be served cold. Macaroni, in my eyes, has always been at its best served hot, slathered in tomato sauce and topped with two or three big ol’ meatballs. Or baked in a plethora of cheeses. Heck, I even enjoy macaroni on its own, with just a bit of melted butter and parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

But cold? Macaroni had no business being served cold. And especially not with celery. The starch salad that always won my heart was that of the potato. I know you’ve had your fans, Macaroni Salad, but I was not one of them.

Not until this came along…

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This delicious, spicy, smoky, COLD macaroni dish that I would happily make on a weekly basis. This macaroni salad that I made last night and just polished off the leftovers of for lunch. This macaroni salad that you must try to make on your own. Seriously, I demand it.

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All you need is love. And steak.

Originally posted May 2012.

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And puppy kisses. Although I think that probably falls under the “love” category.

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Colin and I adopted this adorable, floppy bundle of fuzz, love and needle-sharp teeth a couple of weeks ago, and needless to say, I am completely smitten. Nothing beats coming home to a wiggly little furball so excited to see you they can’t stop jumping up to shower your face with kisses. NOTHING.

His name is Samwise Gump, by the way. Named for the two best people ever created. He wants to be friends with just about everyone. Even you! Aren’t you excited? I bet Sam just made your day.

Besides puppy kisses, you know what else can’t be beat? Steak.

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