Weather-wise, it’s been all over the map around here.
The weekend started out Friday gloriously sunny — if a bit cold.
I started the morning with a bagel run at Bridgetown Bagels.
This is a food truck about a mile from my house that turns out some reliably tasty bagels — and three of the last four times I’ve been either the line had been too long or they’d sold out. With the weather so cold, I thought I’d stand a chance, and I did.
I picked up a huge box and started composing edible care packages.
There was the one to a friend who’d been working a lot lately and someone I thought could use a little TLC.
I have another friend who’s been having a really tough time with medical issues, so I prepared a care package for her, too.
She’s one of the smartest, most compassionate people I know and is always taking care of others, so I thought it was time to show her a little love, too.
I emptied my freezer of all my homemade soups, packed up some homemade Garlic and Herb Schmear I’d made, and a few other treats and dropped off the tray at her house.
And because snow days before the holidays meant school closures and I hadn’t been able to get a food gift to every teacher, I made bagel-to-go packages for some of them, too.
Isn’t that a great way to head into the weekend?
Schmear is the easiest thing in the world to make, and it’s a great way to accessorize your favorite bread. I’ve made all different kinds, but the one I keep coming back to is made with full-fat cream cheese, chevre, fresh herbs, very finely diced shallot and garlic and lots of ground pepper.
Just whip these all up with an electric beater (or Kitchenaid) until fluffy, adding just a tablespoon or two of cream or milk until it arrives at the desired consistency.
Deliveries made, I met up with a girlfriend for lunch at Vivienne Kitchen and Pantry.
I’ve told you about this place before, and I just love it.
It looks like something you’d find in a sleepier neighborhood in Paris — a vision of marble, light, blonde wood, and pretty little details everywhere.
We got the Tuna Conserva Salad (made more intriguing by the introduction of nori and almonds and brightened with tiny apple slices and satsuma oranges) and the Smashed Chickpea and Arugula Sandwich on Ciabatta.
Everything here is always so uncluttered and simple, yet spot-on.
I’m so grateful to have this place just five blocks from my house.
Friday afternoon the cold remained and with it the worry of an impending storm. Not wanting to be caught without the proper provisions, I darted over to New Seasons Market to stock up.
My kids have been asking for homemade fried chicken for a while, so I thought this weekend (with all the time indoors) might be a good time to tackle it again.
Frying chicken is easy, but it does involve quite a few steps and planning (so the chicken can properly brine in the buttermilk).
After the chicken has luxuriated for a while in the buttermilk (at times I’ve done it for as little as 30 minutes and at others as long as two days), I seasoned it with a salt/spice blend and then dredged it fully in flour.
I like to fry it until crispy, let it drain on paper towels and then finish the chicken in a 350 oven for about 30 minutes until the meat is fully cooked and the skin at optimum crunch.
My God is this chicken good!
So as the weather worsened outside, we stuffed ourselves silly inside.
Charlotte and I had an Indoor Spa Day with facials and foot baths and watched a wonderful 2015 BBC program: And Then There Were None.
I’d read the Agatha Christie novel it’s based on (Ten Little Indians) and seen the 1945 film rendition, too — but found this version vastly superior with its incredible performances (remember Miranda Richardson from The Crying Game? She’s terrific here) and gorgeous, haunting cinematography.
It’s a three hour ride (2 – 1 1/2 hour segments available on Amazon) and I highly recommend it.
And as the weather turned ever worse yesterday with sleet forming and tree branches falling under the weight of ice, we hunkered down all day yesterday, watching football, and eating gloriously.
There were bagels for brunch.
And more of that glorious fried chicken.
Having had the amazing chicken at Imperial, I decided to copy their treatment and serve the hot crispy pieces with warmed honey and hot sauce alongside, allowing each person to customize the chicken to their desired sweetness and heat.
Who needs to venture out when Amazon Prime is always available and the food is so tasty at home?
I guess that’s a question that now bears repeating; our school system has decided this morning that the roads are still too slick to drive, and consequently called for our fifth snow day of the school year.
Which means that the kids will be asking me to play THE GAME OF LIFE while I’ll try to lure them to other activities (homemade pretzel-making, anyone?).
Wherever you are, I hope you’re warm, safe, sane — and well-fed.