Rainbows for dinner

My rainbow and ruby red chard is really going to town (as is my romaine lettuce) even after repeated cuttings.

So much so that when I’ve been offered lettuce the last few weeks at the farms I volunteer at, I’ve turned them down. I’ve given away a lot of it, too. Must be doing something right out there.

In addition to making salads with the chard leaves and stems, my husband and I also enjoy sauteing it in a skillet with olive oil, just until it’s a vibrant green. We add some garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and pierogis (which we have to make ourselves since we can’t find them in groceries stores around here… it’s just mashed potato and onion in a dough shell… sort of like ravioli). It’s a delicious meal.

 

I hope your gardens are bountiful!

 

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Comfort food

There’s something supremely comforting to me about making banana bread. Maybe it’s the worn recipe card that’s waved in places from minor kitchen accidents like a little spilled milk or a dripping egg white. Maybe it’s that I barely need the recipe card anymore, checking it more to reassure myself of my memory for the ingredients than out of need. It might be in the too-sweet smell of the over-ripe bananas, their black-mottled peels paper-thin and easily pulled away from the fruit. Or maybe it’s the taste of the batter, tangy, or the color, a soft yellow in the blue German bowl.

Whatever it is, making banana bread, which I do quite frequently since the local grocery store sells over-ripe bananas at 39 cents a pound (thank goodness my husband doesn’t mind eating the sweet bread so often), grounds me. In these too-long days of an unemployed summer, finding productive activities has been difficult. It’s hot outside, it’s hot inside. I’ve started re-reading favorite books to pass the time. I should update this blog more, but editing down hundreds of photos feels daunting these days. Probably because in the face of nothing to do, I’ve wilted a little, unintentionally embracing the nothingness and getting nothing done. Surely this is why American homes have gotten larger and larger to the point of ridiculous: Give the housewives more cleaning to do so they don’t slit their wrists out of tedium.

Though friends and family urge me against it, I openly declare I can’t wait for the school year to start, to get on with the next chapter of my life. August 29 seems so impossibly far off with these dog days of summer stretching interminably before me. I’ve found a job working at a sandwich shop and coffee hut, though, which starts next weekend. My mother is coming for a visit tomorrow. There’s some county fairs I’m itching to attend. We’re moving in a few weeks (Move number 12 in the past three years. Yes, you read that correctly. 12.). So really, August 29 should be here before I know it, but I can’t help wishing the time away. Wishing for autumn, my favorite season. Reading favorite blogs, tending to my garden, weeding the flower bed and reading my books don’t take up much of the day. I’m ready to shed these beetle wings of a life full of stops and starts, ready for the next great adventure, the next career. Something to which I feel more suited (goodbye journalism, it’s been real).

So until the end of August, I find comfort in baking banana bread. Comfort in the familiar recipe (which I’ve made small changes to over the years, improving the resulting loaf), the swirl of the wooden spoon in the batter, clinking against the bowl. I am reminded of a quote from Julie & Julia, one of my favorite films: “Chocolate cream pie! You know what I love about cooking? I love that after a day when nothing is sure and when I say nothing, I mean nothing. You can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. That’s such a comfort.”