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A Bit Of Comfort

[Dinner, November 2008.]

Buttermilk mashed potatoes. Chickpeas with garlic and spinach. Roasted cauliflower and carrots. I can think of fewer things that can make me happier on a wind-blown Tuesday eve in San Francisco — and it’s what I ate for dinner the other night.

I’ve been a bit cranky this week, probably because it’s been foggy and chilly since I got home and my cab ride Sunday back from the airport cost a lot more than I thought it would (hate that). I’m a little jetlagged, though going to bed gloriously early has helped for sure. That dinner the other night did wonders to remedy the grump — and the best part was that there were enough leftovers to make another meal out of it. This meant that last night I extended my run an extra two miles — easier to stretch it out to six when I know I don’t have to cook dinner when I get home — which also did wonders to remedy the grumpy-bearness of it all.

Just thinking about that pile of fluffy, cloud-like mashed potatoes waiting for me in the fridge carried me across the last bit of pavement, up the hill past Alamo Square Park and down again, then up the stairs to home, to a hot shower and cranberry juice and lots of water. I almost wanted to dive into that pillowy pile of potatoes, in fact, so much did I anticipate my future dinner.

[Mashed p’s, November 2008.]

I don’t often make mashed potatoes, and when I do, I usually lace them with soy milk and olive oil or margarine. This week, however, I decided to let myself be a little less healthy. I had some leftover buttermilk from that red velvet cake and so I swapped that for the soy milk. And then of course since I was going in that indulgent direction I added a good pat of butter and let it melt into the potatoes until the whole pot was salty, soft, and incredibly satisfying.

(So basically, in terms of proportions, I used 5 small new potatoes, peeled, quartered, and boiled until tender. Then I added about 3 Tb. of butter and a 1/2 cup of buttermilk and stirred very well to combine. A little more salt at the end and served extra hot.)

As my cauliflower obsession continues apace it was only fitting I roasted a half a head of the stuff until caramelized and crispy. I dug out a slightly wilted carrot from of the vegetable drawer (trying not to go to the store this week until I can get to the f. market on Sunday) so I threw that into the pan as well (a wise decision). Then I sauteed my last can of chickpeas with a little spinach and garlic to round out my dinner plate. Simple, comforting, and exactly what I wanted.

But now — darn it — I’ve eaten all the leftovers.


  1. please do not beat yourself anymore about the really expensive taxi. You obviously made that decision under duress and JETLAG dammit!

  2. As often as I comment that I should live near you, I am not sure it’s a good idea. I’d be in need of elastic pants within a week.

  3. Heard your piece on NPR. My fiancee and I have been vegetarians for two years and have always sort of dreaded Thanksgiving. Your blog has given us some really great ideas!! We’re now very much looking forward to it.

  4. Just thought you might like to know that your latest NPR article is the talk of my office this morning – or at least, a vegetarian co-worker has been talking about how her mother read it and is excited to try out some of the recipes, and the co-worker is planning to experiment with them at her own dinner party this weekend. I told her to let me know how how they turn out so I can pass on any praise to you.

    Hope you’re well!

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