We got a tree, a Christmas tree, and it’s my first one–Rabbi Schlomo, plug your ears–and it’s making our apartment seem so festive. Somehow I thought getting a tree would be a big ordeal: with the lights and the stand and the balls and the baubles. But, actually, it was a totally easy process. On the advice of my friend John, we went to the Target in Eagle Rock where we stocked up on all the tree necessities (a tree skirt, to attract male trees; lights, balls, etc.) and then we bought a tree right outside at a pop-up tree farm. The tree came on a stand so we just carried it through the door, stood it up, and started wiring the lights. Voila. Now all we had to do was to have people over to enjoy the tree, which is why I spent some time figuring out the perfect December menu.
When I got back from my book tour, all I wanted to do was cook cook cook. Comfort foods, mostly. That first night it was my ultimate comfort food dish of fusilli with homemade tomato sauce and a Caesar salad to start. The next night, though, I wanted a different sort of comfort food. I was thinking: “Butternut Squash Soup.” I’d serve it with a salad made with radicchio, fennel, apples, toasted walnuts–olive oil and lemon juice for dressing–a hunk of blue cheese on the side and maybe a hunk of bread to round things out. No recipes were used in the making of this dinner. I just winged it. And the results totally hit the spot.
How do you wing a butternut squash soup? Easy….
You may be wondering about a post that was on my blog on Friday wherein I made Melissa Clark’s Sticky Cranberry Gingerbread live on webcam (using LiveStream) and then interviewed Melissa Clark on my cellphone afterwards. Many of you attended, though you missed the ending when the cake came out of the oven because LiveStream cut out. Not only that, but LiveStream didn’t archive the video (even though I hit “record”) so I had to take the post down because there was nothing left to see. Luckily, though, there’s this picture of the finished product and my profound ability to capture its essence in words.
It’s easy to innovate when you’re working with a set formula. Oatmeal has a set formula. Bring 1 and 3/4 cups water (or milk) to a boil, add a pinch of salt, add your rolled oats, lower to a simmer, stir and cook until your oatmeal’s absorbed most of the liquid. Then sweeten with a little brown sugar, syrup or honey and you’ve got oatmeal.