I was going to blog yesterday, but instead spent the afternoon nervously clutching a satin-bepillowcased cushion to my fervently beating heart (that is, I hugged a pillow) while watching the US election results unfold. I…should’ve seen that coming, that I wouldn’t get any blogging done. I can’t pretend I entirely saw Obama’s victory coming, but I am so utterly, viscerally relieved that he did get in again. That’s all I’ll say, except – how extremely excellent was his speech? I was punching the air pretty much the entire time, like an animated gif of Bender at the end of The Breakfast Club.
What a week it has been. From dizzying highs – a Halloween party, purposefully in November so Tim and I could be there with our wondrous friends. Tim dressed as Effie Trinket from Hunger Games and I dressed as the Wicked Witch of the East (complete with a house fascinator and hand-spangled ruby slippers) – to literally dizzying lows, when I had a small panic attack on the street last Friday evening. It’s by no means the first one I’ve had, but it has been a good long while, and it took me completely by surprise. I was of all things, on my way to pick up my engagement ring which was being resized. I assure you, as I assured Tim, that my sudden inability to breath and my burning face and dizzy brain were nothing to do with the act of getting the ring. Tooootally unrelated. Which now makes it sound like I’m being deeply sarcastic, but honestly! It just happened. And it sucks, and it’s not a particularly food-bloggingly-sparkly subject, but what can I say? It’s my life, and though I’m annoyed by the signals my brain sends out occasionally, I shall be not ashamed of them. And in case you’re wondering, yes, almost a week later we are still finding red sequins everywhere that my shoes shed hither and yon.
Back to the dizzying highs: I made an incredibly good dinner and thought I’d share it with you.
Corn and Tomatoes doesn’t sound like much, and I guess it isn’t, but it’s intensely delicious – the corn sort of stews in the tomato juices, which become syrupy-rich with the olive oil. The paprika offers the sweetness of the corn and tomatoes a deep smokiness, and it suddenly seems all a lot greater than the parts of which it sums. I called it corn and tomatoes because that’s what it is, which seemed to justify the slightly fancifully-named Miso Poached Potatoes. It simply occurred to me that cooking new potatoes in miso-enriched water might make them rather magnificent. It did.
Corn and Tomatoes
A recipe by myself.
2 cups frozen corn
3 small, ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Mix everything together in a roasting dish. Bake at 220 C for about 25 minutes.
Miso-poached Potatoes with Butter
Also a recipe by myself. I couldn’t possibly guess how many potatoes you can eat, but in case you’re wondering, for the two of us I went with about eight smallish potatoes, a heaped tablespoonful of miso paste, and about 50g butter.
White miso paste
Quarter the potatoes lengthwise (or really, cut how you please.) Fill the pot you’re going to cook them with half to two-thirds full of water, then add a few spoonfuls of miso paste depending on the quantity of water. Simmer the potatoes till they’re tender, then drain them and stir through as much butter as you please, till it’s melted. Serve.
The miso soup really seeps into every last granule of the potatoes, giving their blandly creaminess a kind of nutty, rich caramelised savouriness, which is only intensified once they’re smothered in fast-melting butter. I’m never particularly enthused over new potatoes (I like my potatoes to be sustaining crispness to 90% of their bodies) but this turns them into something thoroughly exciting. In direct proportion to the quantity of butter you coat them with.
Tim’s and my American holiday has suddenly been sucked into the realm of feeling like a distant, highly vivid dream. It’s over a week since we landed at Auckland at 5.40am. Speaking of things I did not see coming, Mum – my parents live an hour south – had hinted that she might or might not come meet us at the airport. My supposing was on the side of not, since it was so ridiculously early, but I murmured dazedly to Tim as we trudged through customs, “$5 says Mum is here and has turned this into a girls’ adventure with her best friend”. My small wager was in fact, correct, but I had entirely underestimated the crazy capers afoot. My mum and her best friend were indeed there, as was my aunty who I hadn’t seen in over a year. But wait. A small red checked napkin was produced by way of tablecloth. There were wine glasses. And bubbly. And a crystal bowl of strawberries. Right there in the food court at the international airport, to congratulate us on our engagement. Tim and I were slightly dazed, as well you might be at 6am after flying for thirteen hours and then suddenly finding yourself drinking fizzy wine, but we couldn’t have had a nicer, sweeter, more hilarious welcome back home.
Title via: the adolescent-angst musical Spring Awakening, and its suitably mournful song Blue Wind.
Moon River, as sung utterly plaintively and yet subtly and yet devastatingly as always by Judy Garland. I mean this song could even render some emotional response from a particularly jaded lab rat, but in Judy’s hands, and lungs, it just slays me.
Baby Says, The Kills. These two are terrifyingly good. We were lucky enough to see them at Third Man Records in Nashville. Luckier still: the concert was being recorded live onto vinyl. Luckiest of all: a copy of that vinyl will eventually be sent to us here in New Zealand.
Next time: I bought a copy of the Momofuku cookbook while we were in New York. Do you know how badly I want to cook every last thing in it? Quite, quite badly.