If you know me, you know that I’m not Valentine’s Day’s biggest fan. It’s not that I hate relationships or love or love or any of that—if anything it’s the complete opposite. I’m pretty sure my disdain for all things Valentine’s Day has to do with how the internet celebrates. Everything immediately turns red and pink and pizzas on Pinterest are topped with heart-shapped pepperoni. WHY?!
Also, I’m convinced that we shouldn’t be consuming that much food coloring in our lives. It’s a very rare occasion where I’m like, let’s turn this whole dish RED! PINK! Like, no. If it’s not meant to be pink then let it live in its original color and chill. Let’s all walk away from the food coloring, ok? (Red velvet cake on occasion is fine.)
Today the internet beat me. I made something festive…sorta. It was on my long list of to-makes so I figured it might be a good time, but this is naturally pink, so I’m defending it.
Here it is, internetz: (Resentfully) presenting pink hummus…
Yesterday I ate 1/2 of gigantic big bowl of guacamole, pet a bird, ate 1/4 of this spinach dip and then had a gigantic plate of Feijoada. (The Feijoada was beyond epic and it’s now my goal to make it for this here space.)
Basically what I’m saying is that I overate. Probably more than Thanksgiving. A dinner of just appetizers is like a dream for me. It reminds me of My-So-Called-Life when Rayenne complains about always having frozen appetizers for dinner and her mother has no idea what she’s talking about.
Eating just appetizers reminds me of afterschool snacks and tapas in Spain and my favorite television series of all time.
Oreo decided to be super nice and send me their two new soon-to-be-released cookies: Cookie Dough and Marshmallow Crispy. So of course I ate like 10 in one sitting and felt sick and terrible about myself. I contemplated not eating for the rest of the day just to make up for it, but quickly admitted to myself that I could never do that. I’m not a girl who goes on cleanses. They’ve never worked out for me. Instead I just eat some carrots.
Last year Josh whipped me up a snack of roasted carrots, whipped goat cheese and carrot-top pesto. I remember having my mind blown a little bit. Up until that point I don’t think I had eaten the tops of the carrot before; I’m pretty sure I usually just threw those things away with absolutely no remorse. But why? I used beet greens in stuff before, why not the tops of carrots?
Before we dive in to this Cranberry Thyme Gin and Tonic. It’s story time: When it comes to the beverage of choice, Thanksgiving has always been about wine. And beer. But mainly wine. Even growing up, Thanksgiving was that time when my parents would bust open the “fancy” bottle of wine a relative brought back from some region of Spain and we all discussed its legs and body like we knew what we were talking about.
Thanksgiving was the time when my parents would serve me a glass of wine at the ripe age of thirteen because that’s what you Latin people do – we give our kids wine! My fellow American friends always thought that was so strange and awesome, but in South America alcohol and kids isn’t that big of a deal. You give ’em a little sip because it’s a special occasion, you know? Sharing is caring.
Now, cooking is different. When you’re cooking it’s a cocktail time…and in this case, thyme. Cocktail thyme! (I’m annoying myself today, too, don’t worry.) I love a good spritzer. It’s because deep down I’m a grandma who loves her spritzers and maybe, just maybe when no one’s looking I put a few ice cubes in my wine, too.
Last winter it felt like every single restaurant I went to there was some sort of kale salad on the menu. Usually some sort of hard cheese was involved like pecorino or Parmesan. There was sometimes fruit on it. And it was always massaged. I want a massage. Good gracious, enough with the dang kale, man. The last thing this universe needs is another kale salad. And here I am throwing another kale salad in your super cute face. But, this kale salad is really good. And there’s lardon dressing involved. I mean…bacon fat dressing, c’mon!
This lardon situation was supposed to be guanciale, which is my current love, but when I headed to my local hipster super artisinal neighborhood market and they didn’t have it, I turned to bacon. I figured if I couldn’t get it, you probably wouldn’t be able to find it either. So, instead we have this bacon/lardon situation. This salad is as fall as fall can get. There’s fennel, roasted delicata squash, pomegranate and sturdy kale. The kale can easily be swapped out for another kind of green, it just needs to be able to stand up to the hot, warm dressing and not wilt and wither away.
This salad is easy with a capital E. The lardons are fried up in a pan, removed and then to that fat the dressing is made. A heavy splash of red wine vinegar, lemon juice, lots of pepper and a garlic clove are added to make up the dressing. The mixture is poured over the kale and massaged and tossed until the kale softens a bit. It’s a winner of a salad.