It’s a funny thing; now that my canine buddy is gone, I haven’t wanted to be home much.
It’s so quiet and unsettling to find oneself unexpectedly alone, and with almost everything reminding me of Bailey, I find I’m using any excuse to get out of the house.
So I’ve been grocery shopping even more than I used to, taking the time to visit old favorites, like New Seasons to stock up on booch and other favorite beverages
as well as their wonderful produce, like these amazing blood oranges, kumquats and fresh ginger.
Having food like this in the house enables me to whip up things like this, my current favorite version of Avocado Toast with Brazil nuts and kumquats.
I’ve also hit all my preferred ethnic markets to re-stock my pantry with both familiar choices (like this Holy Basil and rau ram, a cilantro-like herb)
and shelf-stable items like these.
I also have gotten some new tools for my culinary toolbox — like this
(Suggestions for either of these last two?)
I’ve also accepted offers for cocktails at friend’s houses
and invites to new book groups meeting up
and lunches out
and walks with friends in the neighborhood.
And as always, there’s been so much TLC that’s surrounded us, like this party my dear neighbor threw for us to celebrate Bailey’s life.
We got to have whatever we wanted to eat, so we opted for take out from our favorite pizza place in town, Scottie’s.
She ordered so much pizza
that we were able to bring home almost a whole pie for the next day’s lunch — such a treat.
We love their pizza so much — and their Bianca (with homemade ricotta and lemon zest) is out-of-this-world.
Another neighbor brought homemade carrot cake (I need to track it down and share with you as it’s the best I’ve ever had) and toasts were made, and sparklers were lit as our neighbors shared some of their favorite Bailey memories with us.
Thanks to all this support and a little bit of time, I’m beginning to get out of the funk induced by his passing.
And priority one for me has been reaching out to others to pay forward all the kindness showered upon us.
I’ve made a couple different kinds of soup over the last two weeks
and dropped all but a few servings of it off to friends scattered throughout the city.
I’ve made cookies for pals
and salads for all my neighbors.
This past week I also got to talking with a new friend who was struggling with her own dog’s ailing health.
Knowing the depth of her pain and the fact that she probably wasn’t eating that well, I thought she might appreciate a care package of treats and sustenance.
I ended up sitting on the floor with her in those last few hours with her dog and I tried to reassure her that she was making the right decision to end her greyhound’s suffering.
(I was so honored that she chose to confide in me and that she wanted me to meet her dog before she passed.)
And the next day I was so happy to have the house so full of life and laughter when we hosted Oliver’s Mock Trial group.
About twice a month we host about twenty of these teenagers while they work on their case load.
I love to cook for this great group of kids because they are smart, polite and friendly kids who are so enthusiastic and grateful for any effort you make on their behalf.
And when you make them Chocolate Buttermilk Donut/Cakes with Chocolate Ganache
(some with different colored powdered sugars)
and Sharp Cheddar and Oregano mini-Frittatas
they view you like the goddess that you are.
So here’s to eating especially well when you really need it
and being lucky enough to be surrounded with so much joy and love (like my littlest neighbor pictured in the vintage coat we bought her).
Look here for more cooking and recipes to come; I’m going to crack open a few cookbooks from Christmas and if I come across something particularly good, you know I’ll share with you the results.
What are you all up to? And is it anything particularly delicious?