I’ve never been much of a breakfast person, but boy do I love brunch. Growing up, breakfast was always this big question mark of what I was going to throw down my gullet before running to catch the bus to school. I seriously detested milk which meant that cereal was out of the question (so soggy, so gross) and Eggo waffles could only sustain me for so long. My two most common breakfast foods were most people’s lunch or dinner; I alternated between ramen noodles and half of a frozen individual Celeste pizza. Kind of horrifying, no?
Brunch, on the other hand, was a Sunday morning affair when my mom would make her famous Belgian waffles served with lots of fresh fruit (and occasionally mini chocolate chips!). And sometimes we would have French toast, or popovers, or sometimes pancakes. It didn’t matter what it was, while breakfast felt like a chore all week long, brunch on the weekend was an absolute delight. Which has led me to realize that I only enjoy breakfasts that take some time to make (and have a ton of calories). Forget about a cup of yogurt or instant oatmeal, I want homemade baked or griddled goods! The problem with this is that sometimes you just don’t have time in the morning. Or, but more bluntly, you don’t want to have to wake up early enough to have to throw some food together and get yourself to look presentable enough for the company that you’ve invited over for brunch.
One of things that I really love about Joseph is that we both really enjoy and value food. It’s not enough just to like food, to like to eat it. Who doesn’t like to eat? To be the man that I’ll spend the rest of my life with, he has to really appreciate what went into a dish to make it what it is, he has to celebrate the flavors and the way they work together, and he has to have a curiosity and genuine interest in what makes a dish so special. It doesn’t hurt to also be an amazing cook who also does a heck of a job washing dishes. Joseph is all of that, and more.
We spent the weekend before Valentine’s exploring local food treasures including the Danish Pastry House (absolutely incredible pastries), Fastachi (nuts, chocolate, and more), Penzeys Spices, John Dewar & Co. Butchers, and the Spirited Gourmet for a sake tasting. Then we had a fabulous dinner at Hungry Mother, one of my favorite restaurants in the Boston area, where the highlights were the braised beef tongue appetizer, the french gnocchi (I always have to order their gnocchi), and the outstanding bourbon upside-down cake with butter pecan ice cream. I can’t stop thinking about that sweet, salty, rich, nutty caramel goodness. And that was just Saturday.
Sunday, we trooped off to Taza Chocolate for a tour at the factory. If you aren’t familiar with Taza Chocolate, they’re located in Somerville, MA, just outside Boston and they are the only direct trade, organic, stone ground, bean-to-bar chocolate maker in the country. You’ll find plenty of chocolatiers in the States, but finding one that buys the cacao beans and does everything else from roasting the beans, to tempering, to making the bars, wrapping them (by hand no less!), and selling them is much more rare. I knew it was a really cool company, but being there and actually seeing and hearing more about it, well, I’m completely smitten.
There are a few food blogs that I check pretty regularly, but hands down my favorite is Smitten Kitchen. When I saw this recipe of hers there was no question about whether I was going to make it, it was when. You see, I love any quick simple pasta that involves lemon. Oh, and there’s cheese!
When I had already picked up the zucchini for this recipe, my sister sent me a different but similar zucchini pasta recipe. When I responded that we were once again on the same wavelength, she wrote back that she had seen this recipe and wasn’t going to make it because she didn’t have a mandoline. Oh. Oops, I missed that part. But it wasn’t going to stop me! I had a fleeting thought that I could just cutting them thicker, but scoffed at the idea. I would do it by hand! So I painstakingly cut the first zucchini into teeny tiny slivers. Then Joseph came along and finished the next two double time with his master cutting skills. Continue reading