I'm done wallowing in self pity (at least for April). It's spring dammit, and even though work is stressful and my life isn't everything I wish it could be right now, it's pretty good anyway. As far as work, my hands are tied, there's nothing I can do until June, so I'm giving up for now. And I'm heading to Paris in a week. For three weeks. I've really earned it, working from home on my time off and stressing out every minute about things I can't control (oh, but I love control).
One thing I can control though, is food. Every time I'm in an uncomfortable situation or surrounded by total chaos I return to the kitchen. I do work in a kitchen, and that can be stressful at times to say the least, but in my own home or in someone else's it becomes more of a meditation. Now, I think I'm pretty grounded in reality, and I don't think of myself as a very spiritual person. But when I'm cooking for the people that I love it's probably as close to something like spirituality as I can get. I recently had an experience like this when I cooked for some new friends of mine. I showed up on their front porch armed with tools, food and wine and announced: "I'll be your personal chef this evening", and was whisked into their lives for a few hours. I hadn't prepared anything in advance, so was a bit nervous that I'd be able to have everything ready in one and a half hours. When not under the gun I have a tendency to work very slowly, and then you add a glass of wine into the mix and it's molasses city. M always found something really time consuming to do when I cooked for him, as he knew dinner probably wouldn't be ready till ten. Well, I am happy to report that it all came off without a hitch. We all were able to eat together----at six!! B helped make the dessert, and the twins watched and said "I like you" over and over, and everything was delicious. It was by far the most rewarding cooking experience I've had aside from the time that my Mom said a meal I made for her was the most delicious thing she ever ate in her life.
Remember that vanilla pot de creme from a little while ago? This is what we ate with it, and it totally blew everyone's mind.
(adapted from Canal House Cooking via orangette)
2 lb. rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 3-inch lengths
½ cup sugar
½ cup crisp white wine (I used an Alsatian riesling)
1 vanilla bean, split (or 1/2 tsp vanilla paste)
Set a rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Put the rhubarb in a casserole dish or other oven-safe pot. Add the sugar, wine, and vanilla bean, and stir to mix. Bake (uncovered) for about 30 minutes, or until very tender.