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I made Martha Stewart’s Provencal Tian this evening…soooo good! My “meat, cheese, & potatoes” husband even likes it. Of course, I had to first find the appropriate tian baker to use – which Crate & Barrel had for a steal at $20 for a set of 3.
It has always amazed me how a certain taste or the smell of something cooking in the kitchen can instantly bring back memories. Over the years, I have found that making my mother’s fried green tomatoes, German potato salad, and other favorite recipes are almost a way of visiting with her.
I’ll never forget the day I finally mastered Mama Chris‘ fried okra. Hers was never over-breaded or slimy. It almost had the texture of popcorn, was lightly salted, and had just a dusting of corn meal & flour. When I finally figured out her secret (cook it much longer than any recipe advises) and bit into that crunchy okra treat, I almost got a little teary. I hadn’t experienced this particular taste and texture in nearly a decade.
For my mom’s birthday this year, I decided to gather scanned photos of handwritten family recipes and have them copied onto a hand towel. Zazzle did a great job for a very reasonable price. I LOVE the finished product…such a nice reminder of countless meals and gatherings, enjoying dishes that only a loved one can make.
My husband and I spent our anniversary in Boston last summer, checking out several restaurants and sights. For a recent conference, I had the opportunity to go back and revisit a few favorites as well as try a few new restaurants.
I almost didn’t recognize the stately, leather-chair, old-school-Bostonian Oak Bar located in the Fairmont Copley Plaza. It has undergone a huge renovation and is now hip, vibrant Oak Long Bar + Kitchen. I had the tagliatelle with lobster, short ribs, and zucchini soffrito. Oh. My. God. The poor bartender had to gently pull my empty bowl away when I was done. I will most certainly be trying to copy this recipe very soon. While I can appreciate the restaurant needing to appeal to a larger, younger crowd, I will miss the Old World elegance of the Oak Room. An after-dinner stroll through their amazing lobby makes me look forward to seeing Versailles.
A second night, I decided to try Lucca Back Bay, a sister restaurant of the original located on the North End. I had the bolognese pappardelle with a side of brussels sprouts, copying one of my favorite after-work dinners that I often have here at Piatti of Denver. It was very nice, as was the service.
Some favorites that I didn’t get to see this trip: Top of the Hub (gorgeous views) and L’Espalier (if you’re in the mood for a decadent and very expensive dinner. They have a Fromager, if that’s any indication.)