Nourishing Memories

There is a certain melancholy that always sets in toward the end of a visit home. 

Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
 After ten days of cooking, watching movies and chilling out- it is time for things to go back to where they were just before the holidays. We had fabulous meals that were lovingly prepared with the best ingredients. But nothing enriches the heart more than time spent together being with the ones you love.

In the still of the early morning, my feelings of sadness are palpable. Yet, I know that we raised two independent minded daughters to go out into the world and to seek their own futures. The distance of so many thousands of miles is made a little easier with technology. Note to technology: Thank you Skype, e-mail, texting and that old fashion device called the telephone.

Home is a place that you carry with you; never really leaving it behind. In my heart, I still live at 20 Warwick in New Jersey but I haven’t been living there since 1972. The warmth and memories of that home will always live deep in side of me and I know they will never disappear. So many of those moments are connected to memorable meals.

I hope the same is true for our girls since our present home is where they both lived almost all of their lives. Yet, Sarah hasn’t been living here since at least the year 2000. And Fanny is now off on her journey again on the left coast leaving home for the first time.

To anchor us in some shared memories, I worked hard to prepare some of everyone’s favorite meals over the last week. Not only was I trying to feed all of us with flavors and freshness, but I was creating savory memories that build deep and intertwined roots.

The following meals took a lot of work starting with Ra El’s procurement of the freshest and best ingredients and a major investment at Whole Foods. There were 7 or 8 meals we knew we wanted to enjoy together so we sketched out a brief menu. The following is a sampling of these feasts.

Roasted Butternut Salad

Salad with roasted butternut squash, orange rosemary scented beets, pecans and Bucheron tossed in a classic vinaigrette with mixed greens. This salad is becoming one of our favorites.

Scallops with Balsamic Reduction

The salad was served with extra large Bay Scallops that were marinated in lime juice and  zest, olive oil and rosemary and then lightly grilled. They were drizzled with a balsamic, molasses and Cabernet reduction.

Another wonderful meal was our rearranged thanksgiving meal that the girls helped to prepare. I made the sacrifice of telling them I would wait until they woke up at 10:00 and that we would start the preparation by 10:30. Normally I would begin at 6:30. However they didn’t get up until noon but I still saved them plenty to do since cooking together is as important as the meal itself. We enjoyed tangerine Agave glazed rosemary roast turkey, mission fig and apricot stuffing, twice baked potatoes, cranberry, pear and orange relish and a simple mixed green salad.

You can watch a short video of the preparation from the day below.  

                                                     The Rearranged Thanksgiving Video

Twice baked potatoes win Best in Show

We all voted and twice baked potatoes with dill and a kiss of garlic got the award for food we can’t live without on Thanksgiving.

We enjoyed my classic crab cakes that combine lump crab meat with sauteed red pepper, celery and onion with fresh oregano and lemon zest. We had beautiful asparagus that made this a special meal.
Classic Crab Cakes with Pomegranate Salad

Italian Amarone

Oh, and the exquisite 2005 Tomassi Amarone complimented the crab cake meal perfectly too.


Finally, I made Lobster Mac n’ cheese. I combined brown rice pasta, chunks of cold water lobster tail with tallegio, gruyere, drunken goat, cheddar, Parmigiano Reggiano and goat cheese. Seasoned with freshly grated nutmeg and sea salt, this meal was shared with Fanny’s best friend Sara who we imported from South Carolina and with Fanny’s best friend from high school (John Bower) and his fiancée Sam (who came from Boston). Sitting together at this table with our family (and extended family of friends) was nourishment enough for me- although I did go back for seconds. We even enjoyed a dinner question or two that made everyone laugh.

Sam, John, Fanny and Sara

Sarah, Jeff and Lobster Mac n' Cheese
Lt. Mango savors life and leftovers
Lt. Mango our fifteen year old orange Persian agreed that that this was quite a weak of feasting. While his brother Shambala (AKA Zoro) provided a calming influence on all of us to help us relax.

Shambala with Sarah

A Taste of Home

As we take the girls to the airport today and tomorrow for there return flights, these memories becomes moments later, I will savor the taste of happiness. As they go back to their homes filled, I have filled them up with the presence of love and the wonderful memories of the taste of home.

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