Doing what we do best... dining

Monday, September 27, 2010

Living, simplified.

Yesterday may have started out a bit chaotically. For me, though, the chaos began in the wee hours of Sunday morning; around 3:00 or 4:00 AM. I started thinking about my fall/winter clothes closet. Oh. My. GOD. Circa March or April of this year, I knew long sleeves and sweaters could fairly safely be put to rest until September or October. Fleece, wool, heavy cottons and even some sweatshirts were crammed into the shelves of the fall/winter closet. When I say crammed... think Hoarders. My closet should have been damned. We live in a 100+ year old house (closets are small) and I don't like to get rid of clothes ("I might wear that again..."). Not a good combination. So, before the crack of dawn on Sunday morning, I knew it. An epic expunging of my closet was about to occur.

Armed with nothing but sweet desires for organization and simplicity, Operation Evacuate Closet began. Step one: Warn the Husband. These types of events never go smoothly. I crave organization - I despise trying to achieve it after failing it for so long. So I warned him. He and Gracie bravely decided to be spectators. I began hurling piles of garments onto the bed. Armload after armload. At one point, burying the Boston Terrier (don't get upset... she loved it). By the time the three shelves were vacant, I was left with a 3 foot tall pile of clothes on what used to be my bed. I'm pretty sure I said a few colorful words and wondered what the hell I was thinking at this point. There were garments I barely recognized, and a few I swore I'd never seen. Clothes I remember buying in high school. Sweaters that wore more 'pills' than actual fabric. "Hello, my name is Kristin, and I'm a clothing hoarder." Ugh.

Piece by piece, Brian and I went through it. Sizes anywhere from 2 - 12, hues ranging from fuchsia to forest green. Three piles: 1: keep it, 2: donate it and 3: wow that's not recognizable as proper attire. The pile that remained, I then folded, stacked by color and weight. The beautifully organized and simplified stacks were then placed into a very welcoming 100+ year old closet. And I enjoyed the thought of it all day. Isn't it lovely?

Oddly enough, this really does relate to food. Glorious and simple fall food. Early autumn is ripe with delicious flavors. Produce that doesn't need much assistance to be a delicious and healthy meal. Below are two very simple, very extraordinary recipes that are perfectly timed for this cooler weather. Crabcakes and Roasted Root Vegetables. With both, the main ingredient doesn't need to be all dressed up... they're perfect in a more natural state.

Maryland Blue Crab Cakes

You'll need:
(Serves 2 with 4 cakes)

8 - 12 oz. chuck Maryland Blue Crab (or YOUR favorite crab)
1/3 cup (approx.) mayo
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup ground bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning (or to taste)
Pinch fresh cracked pepper
Pinch garlic powder

The steps:

Very lightly, mix all ingredients by hand, careful not to break up the lumps of crab. Be very careful of shells - try to remove all small pieces.

Form into patties.

Bake at 350 degrees on a lightly greased pan for 20-25 minutes. The top will be a nice, golden color. Remember, you're cooking with eggs - make sure you cook it through.

We serve ours with Emeril's Garlic Aioli Recipe.


Roasted Root Vegetables

You'll need:

Approximately 1/2 cup of your favorite diced root veggies.
Make sure you cut them all about the same size, so they cook evenly.

We used:

New Potatoes
Sweet Potato

Olive Oil (enough to lightly coat the vegetables, around 1/4 cup)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 cup shallot, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste

The Steps:

Prep a 9" x 13" pan with Pam or olive oil.
Mix everything together in a large mixing bowl. Lightly toss to evenly coat. Put into the baking pan.
Bake at 425 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

Eat, enjoy!!

Enjoy the fall, friends. And do yourselves a favor; simplify.


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