My heart is stuck in Spring. Last I remember, it was the end of May, and I was still marveling at the glorious scent of lilacs in my backyard. I don’t know what happened to those pleasantly warm days and pleasantly cool nights, but they’re nowhere to be seen now.
One moment I was going about my life, digging into great big bowls of strawberry rhubarb ice cream, the next I was making a new home for myself in my dad’s hospital room, where I’ve spent the past six weeks by his side.
It’s crazy to think how suddenly things can change. One minute everything’s fine, and the next thing you know your whole life gets turned upside down and all the stuff gets dumped out of your pockets. It’s scary to think about, and even scarier to go through, but it’s also amazing to see just how much people can step up and be there when you need them.
If I had to venture a guess, I’d say General Tso’s Chicken is probably one of the best-known Chinese dishes here in America. Which is kind of funny, seeing as it’s such a far cry from traditional Chinese food.
Indeed, it has nothing to do with with it’s namesake, the military leader General Tso of the Qing Dynesty, nor did it even originate in Hunan, China, of which it is supposedly the cuisine. Instead, it was created in the early 70′s, when Chinese chefs here in the U.S. needed a dish that would appeal to the American palate.
Well… they succeeded. Whatever it’s origins, there’s no question about it: it’s downright delicious. Sweet, spicy, rich sauce smothering crispy fried nuggets of chicken… how could anyone not love this stuff?
The internet and I, we’re best buds. Whenever I’m in need of cute cat videos, or can’t remember who that one guy from that one movie was, or want to keep in touch with far away friends… the internet is there for me.
But there are some things the internet just cannot do. This past week, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time not sitting at my computer (strange, I know), and actually interacting with the world instead.
I’m here to report: it’s pretty fantastic out there, beyond the internet.
Strange though it may sound, I have been dreaming of this day for months. Huddled under a pile of blankets in the depths of winter, I couldn’t get rhubarb out of my mind. Perhaps it was the thought of all those things that rhubarb season brings with it — warm weather, gardening, not having to wear five layers of clothing to keep warm — but whatever the reason, I was stuck on it.
Now, it’s finally here. Rhubarb season has begun, and that calls for a celebration! (Okay, so the rhubarb plant in my garden hasn’t gotten the memo just yet, but it IS rhubarb season and I’m not going to let that stop me.)
Before I go rushing off to make a pie, though, I thought I’d start with something a little different. Like, rhubarb and lime simple syrup, for example.
I have eaten a lot of banana bread in my day. I mean, a lot. In fact, I might go so far as to call myself a banana bread expert.
First off, it’s got to be moist, m’kay? Not underbaked, not overbaked, but that perfect middle ground where it’s not too wet or too dry. It also has to be tender, not spongy or dense, and most of all, it has to have that intense banana flavor.
This banana bread hits a home run on all of these criteria, and then some.
The other day you asked me, as we drifted off to sleep, what today means to me — our one year anniversary. I said, I don’t think of it as our first. I think of it as our third, because to me, it means three incredible years with my best friend.
This has been an inordinately hectic week for me. On top of trying to cram as much into each day as I can, I’m tired… like, the kind of fatigue that makes you want to crawl back under the covers ever minute of every day, tired.
It’s beginning to put a serious cramp in my style.
So instead of doing what I’m supposed to, I’ve taken to watching a lot of youtube videos. Some people might call that procrastinating, but I prefer to call it “having priorities”. That is, if you consider watching tiny hamsters eat tiny burritos a priority. Which I do.
It will never cease to amaze me what variety there is when it comes to food. There are so many things I’ve never heard of, never had the opportunity to taste, never had the pleasure of experiencing. Everywhere you go, there are new flavors just waiting to be discovered.
Which is probably why I love watching shows on the Food Network and Travel Channel, where I get to see a small glimpse into cuisines which I can only dream of one day having the opportunity to try.
Sometimes, though, new and exciting things are hiding right under your nose, or just outside the door. Ramps are one of those. They’re native to the Great Lakes area, and yet I’ve never had them until now.