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In the Land of Dreamy Dreams

Today it’s raining and all I want to do is go home and cook and cook. Alas I cannot (post-work plans, you know), but this afternoon I can still dream of it (for perhaps at the weekend) — I can dream of cauliflower and chickpeas roasted in garlic olive oil until the pan is a caramelized, slightly-crispy mess of a thing that’s then swirled with slow-cooked red onion and feta added just at the end so it gets the tiniest bit melty but not too. I can dream about tomorrow’s cup of coffee, when I’ll finally crack open the can of that’s patiently been waiting for me to return from travels and weekends out of town; that delicious coffee-bean-smell will smack me straight in the face and I might even warm up the milk before slipping it in — and I can hardly wait.

The little things.

Rainy Friday afternoons are ripe for dreaming, I think. The week is chewing over its days and pondering a few hours off — the weekend, so sought after and sighed-over always passes in a flash — to fill with cooking or baking or reading old books or absolutely nothing at all. Last night I baked a batch of cupcakes that made twenty-six cupcakes, about half of which I packed up and brought in to the delight of my coworkers, so I think my daydreams today are more of the savory sort rather than the sweet. Although I do have a hankering for cake I haven’t made in ages, a that I might instead fill with apple or pear sauce made from fruit from the market …

A little bit I’m still dreaming of and a perfectly perfect sandwich I ate there: just a baguette smeared liberally with butter, brie and cranberry (healthy it may not have been but, oh, was it good). Later on, after drifting down the river in that wooden ‘punt’ but before evening services and that glorious sunset, there was also a tart-sweet slice of cheesecake and a cup of tea served out of a big white teapot. So a little bit I am dreaming of being there right now to do it all over again.

But I’m also dreaming of Greece (and cooking in general) on this quietly grey day, most likely prompted by reading a piece about Michael Psilakis via the , and whose new cookbook I’m dying to read:

“There’s a beauty in rustic food that you can never capture in haute cuisine. It takes you on a journey,” Psilakis said. “I know you’ve had a meal, probably in Italy, that takes you somewhere.”

That I indeed had that meal in Italy seems to frustrate Psilakis. It’s not only that people think first of Italy. It’s that Psilakis doesn’t believe food should be treasured only when it is exotic. His dearest food memories are these: making his parents poached eggs and blueberry muffins and serving them in bed, pitting cherries for preserves with his mother, growing tomatoes and hunting rabbits with his father. Food marks special occasions, Psilakis said. “But the point is, you don’t have to go on a vacation to have a moment like that. You can have it at home.”

Yes, and yes.

That’s truly the stuff dreams are made of.

This weekend, in between all the little moments and the day-dreamy hours, do this:

– roast one head cauliflower (on 400 F, with about 4 Tb. or so of olive oil and 1/2 tsp. or less of salt) until caramelized and slightly crisping and incredibly delicious

– meanwhile, toast about 1/4 cup or so of pine nuts for a few minutes in a frying pan over high heat. Remove and set aside.

– then sautee as many green beans (trimmed) as you like in a bit of olive oil — garlic optional, but would probably be very nice — until tender but not too soft.

– mix cauliflower, pine nuts, and green beans in a bowl, tossing well to combine. Add a bit more olive oil and salt if you like.

– devour

* Thanks to Ellen Gilchrist for the


  1. I tried the roasted cauliflower with green beans and pine nuts yesterday – simply scrumptious! We had it with a jacket potato which rounded it out to a lovely meal. Thanks!

  2. clearly you miss Cambridge (and us) so much that you will have to come back, preferably soon! We miss you!

  3. great post….made me dreamy to read it…took me back to those special trips and brilliant meals. keep up the spectacular prose!

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