Wings for two, I'll Be Gone in the Dark, and partying

 Attempt #1

Attempt #1

The time has finally come for me to post my long-delayed review of what has become one of my favorite books of the year, I'll Be Gone in the Dark. First, I was going to post it with the espresso brownies. Theme: what keeps you up at night. But then we started watching The Haunting of Hill House and between that show and this book, I wasn't sleeping at all. So I started reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and put this book aside for a few days. A few days turned into a few weeks, I got too many requests not to post the brownie recipe solo, and here we are, pairing this FINALLY completed book with a recipe for chicken wings

 The final pairing

The final pairing

These chicken wings, by the way, are not a bad consolation prize as far as recipes go. Between them (made with some delightful massaman curry from my friends at Savory Spice) and the vegetarian buffalo chickpea dip recipe that’s going out to newsletter subscribers tomorrow and will be live to all you non-subscribers next week, you’ve got the start of a party.

If we can return to I’ll Be Gone in the Dark for a moment, though, I just want to emphasize that it didn’t take me so long to read this book because it’s bad. Rather, the opposite. This book rocked my world. It was happy, sad, terrifying, thrilling, and absolutely addictive. I could barely bring myself to put it down, even while it was turning me into an insomniac. It's more than just true crime, which is exactly what everyone says about it, but it is! I really, really think that everyone should read it, and not just because I want people to talk about it with. I want you to read it because I think you’ll love it. And because you’ll want somebody to discuss with too. Fair, I think.

Pumpkin gnocchi, The Awakening, and unexpected experiences

Today is all about the unexpected, which, actually, seems broad because much of life is unexpected. <insert thinking hard with hand on chin emoji guy>

ANYWAY, what could possibly make homemade pasta better? Two things, guys: one, adding pumpkin because tis the freaking season, and two: not having to roll it out, which is the only slightly less than perfect part of the pasta making experience. While adding pumpkin to pasta dough is kind of an unexpected use of that orange ingredient we all love to scorn, it actually helps take the gnocchi from light, pillowy pasta to light, pillowy, chewy, perfectly balanced pasta that pairs well with just about any kind of assortment of fall toppings there are: pine nuts, bacon, kale, arugula, heck, even hazelnuts. It's a beauty of a recipe, and if the wine pairing class at wineHouse taught me anything, it's that it pairs beautifully with Tornatore Etna Rosso. If you're jealous about how I learned that, sign up for the next one on November 13 by emailing me at pageandplateblog@gmail.com. 

Pumpkin Gnocchi and The Awakening

Also unexpected was how enjoyable I found my reading of The Awakening, which I've had on my shelf since I bought it at a garage sale for $1 ages ago. It's a quick read and a powerful one, and you should check out the review here before grabbing a copy and knocking it out in a day. 

Lastly, I am generally not a fan of horror. However, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix has me positively riveted. Check it out and feel free to yell at me when you can't sleep for a week. 

Autumn salad, Black Klansman, and fall fun

Ah, fall. The rainy, dreary, basic time of year wherein people grow scarves out of their necks, consume more pumpkin than they probably should, and get in your face about being registered to vote.

If you nodded your head and sighed while you read that last sentence, I have mixed news for you: the good is that you’re not only getting the typical recipe and book rec today, but a movie rec as well! Wow! Three for the price of one (two?)! The potentially less good news is that I’m going to join the ranks of people who get in your face about voting.

So, let’s intersperse the voting rant with fun things! Starting with #1: it’s my mom’s birthday today! She’s the best, and I know that you probably don’t know her, but if you did, you would think she’s the best too. If you want to give her a birthday shout out, head over to Twitter, where she lurks as @hollys_momma (Holly is our dog, okay?). Cool. Thanks!

Okay, here’s where you can find out where you should vote. Here’s where you can read up on the issues and the candidates. Here’s where you can find out how to help at a polling place to make democracy happen. Here’s where you can learn about what to do if you’re turned away at the polls.

Anyway, SALAD, am I right?! It’s almost that sad time of year when salads lose their spark (aka fresh veggies), so nab this recipe now, nail it, and then figure out how to swap out the tomatoes for sweet potatoes or carrots or whatever else floats your boat. That way, you’ll have something delicious to look forward to this winter diet.

Also of note and worth recommending are both the book Black Klansman and the movie it inspired, Blackklansman. They’re both good, so you should see it AND read it. You’ll love it, I promise.

Black Klansman and Autumn Salad

Bacon fat brussels sprouts, The Third Plate, and nerding out

Remember that book I talked about last week? The non-fiction one that I couldn’t wait to put down Mr. Penumbra to read? Yeah. This is it.

The Third Plate and Bacon Fat Brussels Sprouts

Dan Barber, chef and restaurateur, is not a few face to me. And probably, if you’re reading this blog, he’s not new to you either. After being featured in one of my all-time favorite Netflix shows, Chef’s Table, Barber became more of a household name in a very small category: chefs focused on the future of food and what we can do to make our eating more sustainable at a fine dining level.

This book is all of that and more. And, coincidentally, did a lot in terms of making him seem less like a jerk and more like a hero, in my opinion. He travels the world to explore what it means to be responsible eaters and discovers more problems than solutions, which is both unfortunate and motivating. Anyway. Go read the review, and you can decide how nerdy you want to get with this.

Speaking of nerding out, let’s talk about how many versions of brussels sprouts I’ve made before finally getting to this recipe, which I think (actually, I know) is a total winner. Even the non-brussels sprouts converts (hi, Uncle Dave and Papa) will have a hard time turning them down when after they’ve been roasted in bacon fat.

Eggplant Parmesan, Pasta Pane Vino, and Meeting Phil

A couple of weeks ago while I was trolling through Instagram instead of putting up a post here (heh heh oops), I found a Chicago Food Bowl event that centered around my current TV obsession, Netflix's Somebody Feed PhilIt was free. It was a screening of the Dublin episode. And I freaked out. (Below is me being totally starstruck and Colin looking totally normal.)

 What is wrong with my face? PHIL.

What is wrong with my face? PHIL.

Colin and I have been loving Phil Rosenthal's food and travel show (previously called I'll Have What Phil's Having when it aired on PBS). When we started it on a whim, I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was that made the show so magical, but as a now-seasoned viewer, let me tell you all about it. It's a food and travel show, sure, but at its core, it’s really about human connections and why they’re important in today’s climate (both political and weather-wise, am I right?). It’s amazing. I love it. Everyone should watch it.

One of the reasons I love it is that food has indeed served as the great connector in my life too. I often joke with people that if it weren't for my chicken parmesan recipe, I wouldn't have any friends from college. I'm ~mostly~ joking about that, but there's definitely a connection between the people for whom I made chicken parmesan freshman year and the people I'm in touch with from college. It’s something that I cook that is more than just a recipe: it’s a reminder of cooking for the people I would come to count as my best friends. Sniff.

Someday, I'll give away that recipe, but today is not that day. Today is a day to celebrate the beautiful emoji vegetable we all love and its glorious fate as eggplant parmesan. And also, the Italian cooking culture from whence it came, as beautifully described by Matt Goulding in Pasta Pane Vino. Go forth in red wine and eggplant.

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Smoked veggie tacos, Sharp Objects, and hype

When I was little, I had a paralyzing fear that if I got too excited for something, it would inevitably turn out to be the worst thing ever. I'm fairly certain that this was a result of some totally innocent and well-meaning advice my father gave me about how sometimes, the things we are least excited for turn out to be amazing. Clearly, I was a difficult child to advise. Sorry, Dad. It was great advice. I just ruined it.

The point I'm trying to get to here is that since then, I've kept that sneaking suspicion in the back of my head. If I'm really looking forward to something, I have an irrational fear that it might be disappointing. And if I'm really not looking forward to something, I have a feeling that the universe is going to pull a fast one on me and make it a genuinely great experience. I'm not superstitious, I'm a little-stitious. 

Okay, point made. So when I got home the other day dreading what I was going to try to pull out of my back pocket to make a great dinner, veggie tacos kind of sounded lame. And, if we're being completely honest, disgusto-gross. But, lucky me, my stitious-self was right, and my veggie tacos that I really wasn't looking forward to turned out to be just plain yummy. And gorgeous.

Smoked Veggie Tacos and Sharp Objects

Conversely, I was really pumped to read another Gillian Flynn novel. I flew through Gone Girl when it was a thing, and so the prospect of Sharp Objects was exciting for me. I was, in fact, looking forward to it so much that I decided to postpone my reading until I got through a few other less exciting-sounding books. Well, guess what? Joke's on me. I hated it. 

As always, check out the review, check out the recipe, and let me know what you think of both. If you think Sharp Objects was the best book you read this year, I want to hear about it because I love a good argument. If you think that the cilantro I reference might be parsley, you're totally right and there's no argument to be had. 

Sunset Salmon, Kitchen Confidential, and Other Things I Learned from Bourdain

I know, I know. The fact that I'm just now getting around to reading Kitchen Confidential is something that I should be suitably ashamed of, right? Certainly not something I should be admitting, let alone boasting about in a blog post. But here we are. I'm admitting it. I'm owning up to having missed out on a great literary, culinary work. I'm saying I was wrong for not having read this before, and I'm compelling you to do the same if you haven't already because this is not a book to miss. 

As I really hope you already know, Anthony Bourdain was the guy. The guy who exposed the world of restaurants and cooking in gritty behind-the-scenes details to the rest of us schmucks who usually only see the polished final product. The guy who brought the world the world on a plate. The guy who, although he knew he wasn't perfect, called out people in a position of power for not striving to be better. If you've seen his show, read any one of his books, or even just glanced at an interview he gave, like the one I'm about to reference, you know the deal. 

Kitchen Confidential and Sunset Salmon

In the last interview he gave, Bourdain talked about how lucky he was to have the gig he had. "To sit alone or with a few friends, half-drunk under a full moon, you just understand how lucky you are; it’s a story you can’t tell. It’s a story you almost by definition, can’t share. I’ve learned in real time to look at those things and realize: I just had a really good moment."

I had that quote in the back of my mind as I finished Kitchen Confidential and went to make this beautiful sunset-like salmon for dinner. Simple ingredients. Basically no recipe. Just the promise of a quiet dinner at the end of a hectic weekend, and a really good few moments. 

Do yourself a favor: read the book. Even if you've already read it once. Pick it up again, savor it for what it is, and enjoy it with a great dinner with people you love. 

Walking a line: turkey burgers and Betwixt-and-Between

Here is the thing about being a vegetarian: people assume that you either hate all meat-eaters forever until the end of the world or that you hate fun or both. For me, it's both. 

KIDDING. Geez. As I think I've preached before on this blog, I'm a vegetarian because I simply prefer not eating meat, and that is that. I'm not overly picky about chicken broth in risotto or gelatin in pudding or anything. I always try at least a bite of the meat that I cook because I have a deep paranoia that one day I will accidentally give someone food poisoning and then be blamed for that person's demise as I, the vegetarian, stand over them, totally healthy and laughing.

There are a few foods that I make a definite exception for and indulge in more than just one bite: shrimp is one. Salmon also makes the list. These turkey burgers, with the delicious addition of feta cheese (hello) and spinach, are another. Thanks, Mom! (No, seriously, it's her recipe, and she ROCKS it.) They walk the line perfectly between a healthy choice for your body and the planet AND between tasting as indulgent as a half-pound burger stuffed with extra cheddar cheese. I did them on the stove, but they get EVEN HEALTHIER if you toss them on the grill. Just be sure to use a sheet of tin foil to prevent them from falling through the cracks.

Also walking a line, in my opinion, between a story collection and a book of philosophical essays, is this week’s book from Coffee House Press, Betwixt-and-Between. While it does win the title of the most beautiful book cover I’ve seen this year, I just couldn’t connect with the text and author Jenny Boully’s message. Check out the review, give it a read, and prove me wrong.

Coffee House Press provided a copy of Betwixt-and-Between for the purposes of this independent review.

WE BACK with Sweet Jerk Pork Chops and Missing Persons

HELLO. If you follow this blog enough to notice that I didn't blog last week, I mean, wow. Thanks. I'm truly honored that you noticed my laziness. You have my congratulations and respect. To reward you, I will now return to my regularly scheduled content. Bam.

Between weddings, holidays, and time off, I've had plenty of time to cook up a storm. However, between days of 97 and 101 degrees with one hundred percent humidity, I wanted to do anything BUT cook up a storm. For those of you who are with me and have a grill, welcome. I have a great recipe that you can do on your grill without heating your house up a single degree. For those of you who are with me and don't have a grill, bear with me, heat up your house a tiny bit, and enjoy these delicious sweet jerk pork chops anyway. You gotta do the best you can with what you have, and in this case, what you have are some sweet spices and barbecue sauces from Savory Spice Shop (thanks, guys!). 

While you're sitting in the room furthest from the kitchen avoiding the heat pouring from your oven (I feel you), might I recommend checking out Stephanie Carpenter's Missing Persons? It's a beautiful little collection that just miiiiight make you forget how big your hair has gotten from the humidity. But no promises. It's silly to promise anything when the humidity is this high.

Sweet Jerk Pork Chops and Missing Persons

Buckwheat Breadsticks, Florida, and Restraint

 

I'm not known for my restraint. Given the choice, I will always add more sprinkles, toss that extra bit of salt in, and buy that book that I quite possibly didn't really need. Luckily, there are some recipes where restraint isn't important. There are some recipes where it's more important to just go for it and dump those extra few sesame seeds (black or white) into that dough and trust that it'll end up delicious. The buckwheat breadsticks we're serving up this week is one of those recipes, and it was a huge hit at Friday's demo-catering event. (More about that in this month's newsletter, to which you can subscribe here.) (<--- self promotion) 

Florida and Buckwheat Breadsticks

 

There was little restraint shown for those breadsticks, but Lauren Groff, on the other hand, was practiced and cool when she wrote Florida, a collection of stories. And if you want to hear more about that, go read the review. I'm restraining myself from giving it all away.   
 

Sourdough, Show Your Work!, and Serious Things

Sourdough from Scratch

The fabled sourdough starter recipe has at last been posted, and it's a doozy. It's the longest recipe I've ever posted on Page & Plate, while also arguably the simplest, as it clocks in at two ingredients (three, if you count the five grapes). It's something I'm really proud of and will overhype if I'm not careful, so go check it out here if you can't possibly bring yourself to sit through three more paragraphs of this post. 

Originally, I had plans to post this recipe alongside the book Heat by Bill Buford. The photo shoot was done, the book was scheduled to be my night read for the week, and the recipe was ready. But then I started reading. As you may or may know, the book details Buford's experiences in befriending and then working for Mario Batali, who you definitely know as being recently accused of sexual assault by many women as a part of the #metoo movement. 

I think I got about 60 pages in before I realized that this book was going to be one of the few I couldn't finish. You read my reviews. You know that I'm pretty easy to please as a reader. For me to not finish a book, there was a problem. And in this case, the problem was the now-infamous Batali behavior that is written into Heat as a laughable, not-a-big-deal part of working for and being around Batali. I was really, really taken aback and disappointed that this behavior was portrayed the way it is in the book, as a joke, a laughing matter, an aside to Batali's success story. So I stopped reading it. I thought about posting the bread recipe by itself to make a statement, but I decided on something else. 

Instead, I'm posting this recipe with a beautiful, inspiring, empowering book: Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon. I loved how jazzed this book made me and how anti-BS it was. But I especially loved how I got to share it with a dynamite group of ladies called the Society of Lady Artists and Entrepreneurs (SLAE) that I've been hanging out with here in Chicago. We're all pursuing different arts, mediums, and passions, and when we come together, it's anyone's guess what we'll end up talking about, but one thing is for sure: we all leave the table empowered and inspired, in part because of stuff we share with each other like this book from Kleon (who also runs an awesome newsletter here). If you're in Chicago, and you're looking for some inspo in the #slae part of your life, hit us up on Instagram at @societyoflae

Okay. Rant over. GO BREAD AND SHOW YOUR WORK!

Sourdough and Show Your Work

Herb Spiral Tart, The Female Persuasion, and Some Plugs

I KNOW. I missed a post last week. I was doing so well. I was on such a roll (that's foreshadowing for today's recipe by the way). BUT, I'm also not going to apologize because life gets busy, I'm not perfect, and I can't hold myself to unreasonable standards. I am zen, calm, and totally excited to share what I meant to share on Thursday with you TODAY, which is Tuesday.

Plugs of color are important in every day life (especially when it's summer), and that's why I'm so excited to show you today's recipe for herb spiral tart and the absolutely gorgeous cover for The Female Persuasionboth of which are excellent choices for summery days that feel like the depths of fall and kind of look like it too with all of this fog, hem hem CHICAGO, get it together.

In other plug news, I've been really into the newest section of the New York Times's daily newsletter, called What We're Reading, and so I'm going to hop on that band wagon and tell you what I'm consuming (therefore covering food, books, articles, television, etc., how clever) at the moment that I think you should consume too:

  • Laurnie Wilson's piece on Life After Anthony Bourdain, which hits hard and hits home. (And really, anything else on her blog, which is worth your subscription.)
  • Haley Bryant's piece on The Humanity in Data, a brilliant exploration of data, how we collect it, and what it means to us as humans in this moment. 
  • Surfing Merms, a new project by CJB, where feminist mermaids come to life.
  • Faces Places, a documentary on Netflix that made me cry for no reason other than it was very sweet and in French.

COOL. See ya Thursday. Promise.

National Cheese Day Alert

Hello. Today is National Cheese Day in the United States of America, and I for one am all about this holiday. Cheese is my favorite food, and I am so excited to present you with a round-up of 'cheese-foward' recipes that you can and definitely should make to honor this most wonderful of occasions. Without further ado: THE CHEESES OF PAGE & PLATE.

Spicy Summer Salad and Dead Girls and Other Stories

Man, talk about an attention grabbing blog post title. 

Today I'm going to wax poetic about salad. I was chatting with a friend over the long weekend, and he told me (TO MY FACE) that he believed anyone who says the like salad is a liar.  I was frozen in place. How could he think this? I liked salad, right? Am I the only one who likes salad? Have I forced Colin to eat salads, thinking he loved them, when all the while he was disgusted behind my back!? (No clue, I love it, no, and no, he likes them.) 

OKAY so here is my defense of salad: if you don't like salad, you haven't had a good salad. You've had some gross, watery lettuce glued together with Ranch dressing. Here is the beauty of salads: you can put whatever you want on a salad. It doesn't even have to have lettuce! I hate lettuce! But I LOVE SALAD. Because I make amazing salads that have all sorts of fun veggies and cheeses and dressings, and they all go together and make delicious bites you feel good about eating. I love salad because salads are beautiful and unique. As evidenced by today's recipe for a spicy summer salad. Go make it, all you non-believers. You'll believe me then.

In other things that are unique and beautiful, today's book by Emily Geminder, Dead Girls and Other Stories, came from Dzanc Books, who were kind enough to send it my way for a review. It was a wild ride, and you should definitely check it out. Very, very interesting, and very powerful.

Dead Girls and Spicy Summer Salad

Note: Dzanc Books provided Page & Plate, LLC a complementary copy of Dead Girls and Other Stories for the purpose of this independent review.

Moroccan Meatballs, The Broom of the System, and Head Fakes

Smiling through the pain.

You think you know what's coming and then BLAMO, something unexpected hits you right in the face. Great example: you decide to sign up for the All Community Events Chi Town Half Marathon in December, knowing that spring will be blooming in full force by April. Then BLAMO, here comes reality: there's a windchill of 10, and you still have to run 13.1 miles! Classic!

True story, folks. But! We triumphed despite the weather, then spent the rest of the day defrosting with Game of Thrones and BIG & littles tacos. Life was good. Our legs were not. Still aren't. We will live.

Allow me to back up a few days, though, to the week before the race. With nights crammed with dreadful treadmill (HAH rhyme) appointments but a very real need for carbs, a quick and easy spaghetti was sounding good. Alas, the catch: I've been on a make-my-own-noodles kick, and we had no pasta in the house or time to make it. So instead, we made this delicious Moroccan meatballs dinner instead. Looks like plain Jane spaghetti and meatballs, but tastes a lot more exciting. 

David Foster Wallace's Broom of the System and Moroccan Meatballs

Speaking of looking like one thing but being another (it's so amazing how these things always end up going so well together, isn't it?), check out The Broom of the System by none other than David Foster Wallace of Infinite Jest fame. "Him?" you say to me skeptically, prompting me to think of this scene from Arrested Development. "Again? I thought you didn't even finish his other book." You're exactly right, jerk. But I finished this one! Go find out why.

Spicy Polenta Plate, The Nix, and Other Things That Are Stuffed

I'm a big fan of the simple things in life. Plain chocolate. A straightforward novel about a journey. Macaroni and cheese. Kids' movies. But there are times in life that call for something a little more complicated than that, and folks, today's post caters to those moments. 

When I picked up The NixI did so with zero idea of what it was about, whether it was a popular book, or even who Nathan Hill was (still unsure on that last part, TBH). My only lead was the kind of political cover that may or may not have led me to believe it was a biography of Nixon. Thank god I was wrong. (I mean, obviously I was wrong.) Instead, I found a book that portrayed a young woman determined to make a difference, her son trying to make sense of the world, and the spirit that followed their family from Norway.

There's a lot here: politics (but no Nixon), family drama, employment struggles, you name it. But instead of making for a fuzzy focus, it all builds to craft a novel that will hold your interest and capture your feels.

Similarly, so will this spicy polenta plate, which is somewhere in between soup, sauce, and gumbo. And if it's as disgusting as it is in Chicago where you are now, you'll need a dish that's comforting yet exciting, spicy yet creamy, and healthy yet just a little bad for you tonight. 

Sausage and Fennel Risotto, The Forger's Spell, and Friendly Motivation

In case you've missed the crazy Instagramming or my real-life-in-person rants, I'm in a book club, and I am very into it, for most of the reasons you would expect (books, wine, food, friends) and a few that you wouldn't. "What things I wouldn't expect?" you ask. Glad you asked! Here's a blog post about it.

 Our book club is better than yours.

Our book club is better than yours.

Something special happens when you have people pushing you to think harder about something you thought you believed. Obviously, this is usually about the book (check out the Fates & Furies post to see just how contentious things get), but sometimes, it makes you consider other non-book club items in the same kind of light. 

"Examples?" you ask. Glad you asked! Allow me to present you with a dish and a book that I was motivated to think harder about as a result of people in my life: sausage and fennel risotto and The Forger's Spell. Food first, shall we? 

Fennel is a vegetable that I believed was impossible to make well unless you were a chef in a very expensive French restaurant. And even then, I secretly wondered if it could really be that good. I mean ... notes of licorice? In a vegetable? I don't even like that in candy. But it turns out (upon discussion with a fellow cook) that I was really just a little hesitant about cooking it because I didn't know how to cut it. I googled it, the internet presented me with an answer, and now I'm funky for fennel (t-shirts coming soon to a store near you). Boom. Done.

Also on the list of things that I had to be gently coerced into loving is non-fiction, which I believe many of you know by now, is not a genre I spend a lot of time exploring. But after about two years of gentle reminders from my mother about how good The Forger's Spell was, I finally picked it up and devoured it like she promised I would. 

End of story: join a book club, have your view challenged, cook fennel. 

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Old Town Oil, AKA Narnia, and Slow Roasted Salmon

A few weekends back, I got off the plane from Florida and was immediately bummed out that it wasn't 80 and sunny. So I hopped off the train at the Sedgwick station and made my way over to Old Town Oil, suitcase in hand, in search of something delicious to brighten my day. 

AND BOY OH BOY DID I FIND IT. In fact, I found about 25 somethings because who knew there were so many flavors with which to infuse cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar? I didn't. At least, not until I stopped in the Old Town location, met Jess, and became a fully sentient human olive oil and vinegar taster. (Oh, yeah, and you can taste in the store.)

 Christmas came early! Late? It doesn't matter! Yay!

Christmas came early! Late? It doesn't matter! Yay!

Old Town Oil, run by a Chicagoland family who knows their stuff, is all about helping you see the potential in your olive oil and vinegar collection (yes, I now have a collection, and yes, I am so totally okay with that). They know more about olive oil than I know about all kinds of oil combined. They can help you find the perfect housewarming gifts for your friends who are #adulting and moving, the perfect pairing for that way too expensive cheese you just bought at Eataly (this is what happens when you drink and shop at the same time), and they can tell you what kind of olive oil gift box says "Hey, boss. Happy holidays. I'm intriguing, I'm trustworthy, and I have a lot to offer you in the future."

You guys, it's heaven. And you know what's even better? They have an online store. They ship. And if you use my discount code PP15 either online or in the store between now and July, you'll get, uhm, a discount (discount code = discount, duh). So you now have no excuse. GO. SHOP. LEARN. Make this slow roasted salmon using that gorgeous grapefruit balsamic. Everyone wins.

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Page & Plate Note: Old Town Oil gave me a sampler pack of olive oil and vinegar to use for recipe testing and the purposes of this review. Thanks, Old Town Oil!

Mushroom and Swiss Chard Galette, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, and Packaging

First of all, longest post title ever. Whew. 

Second of all, let's talk about packaging! And no, I don't mean the typical explosion of bubble wrap or the lethally sharp plastic fasteners. I'm talking about the perfect pie crust. Or book cover. Don't you just love how my two topics of discussion meld so seamlessly together for discussion every single time? Me too. 

 So tasty, yet so sad. SO SAD.

So tasty, yet so sad. SO SAD.

I struggle with aesthetics, particularly in baked goods. Though I'm getting better with dishes I cook, baking is still a struggle. (For context, I will include a picture of my disastrous macarons from this weekend.) My inability to cope with these less than perfect desserts is also why Colin has put a moratorium on baked goods when I'm overtired. That is another story for another day.

This is just one of the reasons I love a good galette. All of its imperfections aren't even imperfections! They're part of what makes it rustic and quaint, all things that a galette must be to be more than a messy pie. Not to mention that they do a great job of hiding all of the ugly things inside of them (sorry, mushrooms).

I also struggle with judging things hastily, and I am definitely not improving in that department. But it always when something comes along and upturns all of your judgement on its head just to prove you wrong and remind you of your own shortcomings. This week, that something was The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, which I recently really enjoyed thanks to the recommendation of a fellow book lover over beers at Old Town Ale House. 

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Arcadia (Again), Ramen (Finally), and Weather

I just want to warn you that you're about to read a post that mostly focuses on weather. If you don't want to hear about my old-man-like obsession, skip to the links and be gone with you.

I love checking the weather. I pride myself on knowing how many inches of rain we're going to get and when it's going to come and how likely it is that I need my umbrella buried on the bottom of my bag, and there's no greater pleasure in my meteorological career than asking Alexa what the weather is today and scoffing when I know more than her. 

I also love most weather in general. Rain is great, snow is better, and sunshine is happiness. Where I have issues though, is with all of this wishy-washy back and forth. This weekend, it was sunny and warm enough that I could run outside (!). Last night, it was sleeting sideways and covering everything with ice. Today, it's raining and in the high 30s. 

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What's a girl to cook in weather like that? Certainly not pot pie or stew, because those are things for winter, and it's basically spring (right?). And serving up some fish tacos with margaritas seems a bit aggressive while there's still a snowflake on my weather map. Solution: ramen. Warm and comforting enough to get you through the cold spells and fresh and light enough to feel like a spring indulgence, ramen sits happily on the fence between seasonal eating trends and makes for the perfect March meal. 

Accompanying it in evergreen status is another book called Arcadia, this time by Fates and Furies author Lauren Groff, which I got for sale at the absolutely incredible Unabridged Books. Pro tip: there is never a wrong weather in which to buy books. Check both out, and let me know what you're reading and eating in this strange, limbo weather.