How to make yourself cook: get out of bed (eat) and stand in the trees

I almost didn’t get out of bed this morning except that Ferdinand would have nothing to do with it. He has an advent calendar with a little piece of chocolate hiding behind each cardboard window and for the first 24 days of December as soon as his eyes open he says “good morning Mom, where’s the chocolate? Get up Mom, we have to open the chocolate.” I can appreciate this kind of thinking–I created this kind of thinking–but I feel I have too much to do to get out of bed, even for chocolate. The problem is I have no shopping done, I have no cooking done, I have no baking done, I have dust that we are wading through, and I need help with my hair. Ferdinand could care less. “GET UP”. And so I’m up and I’m dressed and I’m feeding him and I even manage to hug him and if you can just keep going during this critical moment of being in motion before you stop again, you’re all right.

If I’m up I drink coffee and if there is a is a creamy on the inside, crusty on the outside baguette on the table, what are you going to do, not eat it? And jam that your girlfriend sent you and fresh butter out of a fancy gold wrapper from France and once I start, my blood starts traveling faster and my heart sends messages to my brain or the other way around saying “hey this is good, I like this, what’s for lunch, who’s making lunch?” In my sleep I can make menus, so I start writing before I fully wake up enough to decide that I can’t. It’s much better to edit after you have something than before.

Roasted Brined turkey Breast
Caponata (with eggplant, red peppers, zucchini, olives and capers and onions, all roasted or sauted on their own and then thrown together with a little balsamic, lemon, rosemary and thyme, even a drop more olive oil if you have the good stuff)

French Lentils cooked just until they are done and marinated with olive oil, fresh thyme and roasted garlic and shallots

Potato leek soup

a sformata made with a pound of sauteed spinach with garlic and oil, squeezed of the liquid and combined with a half pound of fresh ricotta, a quarter cup of chevre (or not) a cup of besciamella (white sauce), a handful of parmesan and a beaten egg, then baked at 350 til set on the edges.

A pile of garlicky string beans

red sauce with shrimp poached in the sauce at a simmer

Three beautiful cheeses, Pave du nord, Pyrenees bethmale and Spanish Naked Goat to have as soon as they walk in the door with a beautiful glass of wine. Find a cheese counter where the guy is so in love with the cheese that you can’t help but walk out a person who needs to taste what he’s talking about.

For dessert, lemon tart and pears (stick with the roasting) tossed with sugar and dotted with butter and each one set on top of a fresh sprig of lavendar before the whole sheetpan of them go in the oven to get all golden around the bottom edges.

All of a sudden the world is good again. If you have to though, have a pot luck or have it all delivered (Fresh Direct in NYC) and buy your gingerbread cookies from City Bakery or One Girl Cookies ( or Magnolia. Stand in the Christmas trees and take a big whiff and for gifts why not get everybody lip gloss or shaving cream to encourage kissing. That’s what the world needs more of.

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