10.20.2011

Slowing Down.


I have gone home to Richmond and now I have returned home to Los Angeles. I had somewhat of a seminal trip, I must say. While I always appreciate going back home, it is, more often than not, fraught with some sort of mess (usually caused by me). This visit, however, was decidedly different. It was not only mess-free, it was calm and nice (with a lite peppering of pretty great play-times), and it made me honestly miss Richmond.

Don’t get too worried. I don’t see myself leaving LA. Certainly not any time soon.

On my first night there I had plans to have dinner with my dad and Paz. We had reservations at the Blue Goat at eight o’clock. Paz came over a little after seven or so for a champagne toast before heading out. But I just could not relax. I kept looking at my watch and asking Dad if we were okay on time. We had to get to the West End, after all! He told me to chill (which he does a lot). We left at ten minutes to eight, effortlessly found parking and walked in the front door of the restaurant at two minutes to eight.

Um.

On another day I was driving through my neighborhood, The Fan, with My Favorite Rugby Boy when I noticed the car in front of me pulled over to the right and put their hazards on while someone proceeded to get out of, or into, the car. Without hesitation I checked my blind spot and whizzed around them. MFRB grabbed the OMG handle in the car and was, visibly, a bit rattled. I turned to him and said, “What’s the problem?” To which he replied, “I forgot about you Los Angeles drivers, is all.” During that moment that I rolled my eyes at him, I also realized, he’s right. There was really no reason to go around that car. Why couldn’t I have just waited one minute, until they were moving again, and amble along from there? What’s the hurry?

And you know what? I’m always in a hurry. I always have to be doing, moving, going. I’m obsessed with time and being on time. There’s never enough time.

After I realized this, I slowed it down. I meandered around the new grounds of the Virginia Museum, I leafed through a magazine, I took a nap, and I wasn’t even crabby when My Favorite Rugby Boy told me he was running late for cooking-lesson-night at his house (bless his heart – he boils chicken and eats it for dinner).

That night I taught him how to make chicken under a brick (fantastic chicken from Belmont Butchery), slow-cooked broccoli rabe, salt-baked potatoes and a roasted cauliflower and garlic soup with rye croutons. I thought the first three items would all be things he could take away and riff on: simple classics that taste delicious. In an interesting turn of events he was most taken with the soup. In an even more interesting turn of events, I walked away that evening with knowledge of a new term: SCRUM. One never does know, does one?

The next day Dad and I drove up to Northern Virginia to visit Aunt Babe. I napped the whole way there while Dad drove. We had lunch with she and her daughter, my cousin, Noel. It was truly wonderful to see them both. I got a ton of recipes and stories and material to work with. Heck, three of the dishes at the next Dinner at Eight are Aunt Babe’s. The funny thing was, Aunt Babe expressed she was pleased as punch to be out of the kitchen and didn’t miss it one bit. One never does know, does one? 

I then napped the entire way back to Richmond while Dad drove.

Me, Aunt Babe & Dad, circa 1999.

For my last night back home I stayed in. In my pine cone jammies. On the couch. I was sort of sad. I realized that I really love Richmond. I realized that I really miss Richmond. I started fantasizing about moving back to Richmond. It’s so beautiful, so straightforward there. I, of course, also realized that it’s easy to feel this way about a place when you spend your days there jogging, wandering, eating, drinking wine, napping, reading and being snuggly.

But I did make a decision. Here it is: I will be going back home considerably more often. I even pulled a classic chick move on the very house in which I grew up. I left stuff that I knew I would have to return to – namely my pine cone jammies.

~~~

And for all of you and My Favorite Rugby Boy, here’s the recipe for that sexy soup.



Creamy Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower Soup with Rye Croutons

serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 whole head cauliflower
1 large whole head garlic
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
6-8 fresh sage leaves
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper 
1 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup sherry 

1 cup water
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock, plus up to 2 more as needed for desired consistency
1 dried bay leaf
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 slice crustless rye bread, cut into 1/2-inch dice (1 cup), toasted
 
Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.


Cut cauliflower into individual florets. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Transfer to a foil lined baking sheet. Scatter fresh sage leaves around the florets. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.


Cut the top off of the head of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap with foil. Place wrapped garlic on the baking sheet. Roast the cauliflower and garlic at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. When the cauliflower is tender and golden remove from the oven.


The garlic will need to roast for a total of about 25-30 minutes. You can remove it to check it's progress as needed - it should smell fragrant but not raw, be golden and tender.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a cast iron dutch oven or medium-large stock pot. Add the onion. Saute over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Whisk in the salt, pepper, and flour and continue to cook for 2 more minutes.

Add the sherry and water, whisking to combine with the flour mixture. Then, slowly add in the 2 cups broth. Add the bay leaf and roasted garlic cloves. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower and simmer an additional 5 minutes.


Remove the bay leaf. Working in batches, add the soup to a food processor (or use the trusty immersion blender) and blend until pureed and smooth. Add additional broth during or after blending to achieve desired consistency. After all the batches have been completed, return to the pot. Stir in the cream. Cook until just heated through. Adjust salt and pepper for tastes.


Ladle into bowls, scatter the croutons on top and serve.


Printable Recipe

One year ago: Cream Biscuits
Two years ago: Pizzeria Bianco


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