memorial day was a new start for me.
so many holidays have happened
since i moved away six years ago.
they all resembled each other.
i, on the brink of frantic, would
cook as much as i possibly could in my
kitchen, before arriving at my mom's,
an hour away
with a couple of half-prepared dishes,
various cooking utensils,
baking vessels and
plastic baggies filled with mise en place:
measured baking soda or cinnamon,
and bottles of things.
while my family sat and socialized,
my mom and i would cook.
and i, who usually cooked a lot
before i came, would be tired.
mom, too, i'm sure.
but, this year.
this year, for memorial day,
i found myself in our new house,
just 10 minutes from my mother's.
by myself. larry had left
for a bachelor party two days before.
i had this brand new space to myself
and i did not have to dream up ridiculous
plans to get the food from
i was going to get to know the kitchen.
sure, i had cooked a couple times earlier
that week - reaching into the drawer with
foil when i needed flatware, opening up
the cabinet for olive oil and finding mixing bowls
and trying to figure out how much money we're
willing to set aside for an electrician to install
new lights in our crazy dark kitchen.
but, this time was different.
i was on my own timetable
(not trying to rush to finish before
the sun went down and the room was
rendered too dark) and i had the day to
not be spastic.
and i used it.
i woke up in the morning with
all ingredients for the hamburger buns
and potato salad already in the house -
for me, this is the real secret to organized
success. the second i have to leave, go to the
grocery store, come back and get started
is the second my day somehow always goes
awry. i went downstairs and i cooked.
it went well.
i learned where everything was
and i discovered that the counter to
the right and left of the sink are
pretty good for prep work. i realized
that it is nice to have a modern oven,
with buttons instead of dials,
and that i can appreciate the ugly
ceiling fan that the former owners installed.
but, i didn't, i realized too, late,
take pictures with the intention of blogging.
the dough for the buns had already risen
before i remembered to grab my camera
and even though i started early with potatoes,
i still missed some crucial shots, like um,
maybe a pretty one.
still, i got some good ones to commemorate
my first holiday in my new home, near
as as i read the recipe for hamburger buns last year in the new york times, i wanted to make them immediately. then, they started showing up in blogs and i just kept waiting for my chance. this memorial day, it happened. my mom made feta and spinach turkey burgers, erin squeezed shredded cucumbers for tzatziki and i finally made some buns - successfully on the first try. i can't believe that three years ago, i was so afraid of yeast that i ignored any recipe that called for a packet.
i made potatoes gribiche a couple months ago after staring at potatoes on my counter for way too long and remembering that that's exactly how luisa, from the wednesday chef, originally came across the recipe - guiltily ignoring potatoes nearing their expiration date in her kitchen. the first time, i made them, adding a bit more mustard and vinegar, and served them soon after, warm, as intended. it was the perfect dish for me, tangy, salty, crunchy and all surrounding crisply roasted potatoes. the next day, even though it was cautioned otherwise, i had the leftovers and didn't mind them one bit. that's why last week, i took a chance and made a double batch of them for the barbecue, not at all worried about the fact that they wouldn't be served for hours. my family loved them and reinforced that this is a great alternative to well, any side dish you might otherwise make.