the 4th on a wednesday??

ok, i spent a nice chunk of last week--as did most of the 9-5 working world--railing against the idiocy of the 4th of july on a wednesday. i mean, how is a girl supposed to really enjoy the holiday when she only gets one day off?? and since i've only just started a new job, i'm ineligible to apply for vacation time for another 6 weeks at least. i was near despair, except for one thing: i was in desperate need of a day off.

not to get too personal, but i've been struggling with my new job and having a difficult time keeping track of all of my new responsibilities, and it's been weighing on me. monday i had my first really great day--i actually got through my entire list of tasks, and got them done properly. this was a big step. tuesday we closed early and although i felt similarly confident in my task list, it turned out--i realized with a stomach-dropping thud as i walked out of the locked office door and noticed that i had forgotten my keys--i forgot one small but (in the grander scheme of things) important task.


so i sat on the subway with a heavy heart on my way to columbus circle, but it only took a few minutes' time in whole foods to feel better about life. i'd decided to make up for my weekend-that-might-have-been and spend my extra daylight hours preparing a delicious meal to help me relax and get into the proper frame of mind. i made wild mushroom soup with garlic scapes, and catalan meatballs with veal, pork, pancetta and applesauce. i made a basque cherry tart (which, in retrospect, is much like the one peabody made, but it is a coincidence, i swear) which, for my first home tart-making experience, came out like a dream. and was super-tasty besides.

the weather, meanwhile, was humid but lovely, not too hot, and i enjoyed the afternoon of cooking with the windows open for a literal breath of fresh air. i eagerly plotted my holiday meal--lunch and dinner.

i took a page from nigel slater, my idol, and went for a long walk along the hudson river followed by a fresh chicken-pancetta-rosemary burger patty with some freshly shredded jack cheese mixed in. yum.

dinner, though, was my real triumph and ultimately the point of this writing. i got back to my oleana tome, spice, and pulled out my bookmarked recipes for fried haloumi cheese and cumin-tomato-brown butter-smothered skirt steak and spent several happy hours making a disgustingly large pile of dishes in the sink. i successfully browned butter. i ate sheep's milk cheese for the first time. i got to use my new all-clad grill pan.

and, best of all, i made ice cream, which i offer up for this month's mingle. in keeping with my middle-eastern theme, i decided to go for a flavor i usually save for the fall and the jewish high holidays, honey. i took out the last of my bottle of wildflower honey, some of my CSA milk, and a new container of , which i blended together in my mixer. to this i added about 3/8 of a cup of honey, a splash of vanilla and a splash of orange blossom water. while this was churning in the ice cream maker, i whipped up a batch of martha stewart's "cocoa bee cookies" from the recent color issue (which, by the way, if you didn't get a chance to see and drool, you missed out). the recipe was quite similar to the one in her baking handbook for chocolate wafers only it used brown sugar and extra molasses instead of regular granulated sugar. the molasses made the dough much more difficult to handle but in the end went much better with the honey ice cream.

which i drizzled with a few spoonfuls of pomegranate molasses.

is that good enough to share with the mingle, meeta?
please say it is.

editor's note - i think i left my camera at my parents' house when i was there last weekend, so this continues to be a text-only blog, at least for now...

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