Mama Mia

It is crazy being snowed in for two days and a half days. Opportune excuse to eat, drink and be merry. Sounds like Christmas all over again. As children, I remember the excitement that came with sitting around in our pajamas, drinking hot chocolate, watching the television and waiting impatiently for our school's name to flash across the screen indicating that it was closed for business. The snow days of our youth were the very best.

The evening before this storm, all was relatively quiet. I think there was a good dose of apprehension about what was to come. We enjoyed an early dinner out in fear that we might be stuck for a day or two. Vietnamese on the other side of town, of course. The following morning, we made one last early trek to the grocer before you know what hit the fan. We bumped into friends and ruminated about the weather. Around 9.00 am it began and so we waited with baited breath and watched. Thank my stars for Uber because I was not driving in such a mess and nor was Matthew.  I will say that the snow completely derailed my efforts at keeping things in check. My yoga and spinning studios were closed. Nachos, bee stings and cold ones with friends were definitely high points of our snowpocalypse. That and a new favorite, Ezekiel flaxseed toast smeared with almond butter, one organic over easy egg and a drizzle of Sriracha. Give it a try and check back. 

Come yesterday, we found ourselves a bit stir crazy. I feel guilty saying this as what a treat it is. Working from home aside, we bounced back and forth between walking in the snow (a couple of victory laps around our front yard really), reading and fiddling around on the computer. I felt antsy like we should be doing something constructive. In the morning, I cooked and braised. This bought us some time. Did I want to watch a movie? No thank you. We vacuumed the house and washed the floors. We watched our northern neighbors across the street expertly shovel their driveway. We tried to emulate said. We made some progress but generally speaking, it was an abort mission exercise. 

In the late afternoon, Matthew tested my acumen at snowman construction. Not too shabby. We covered the spectrum. Sometime around dusk, Matthew commented on what life must be like in Alaska when people are housebound for months, not days. Perish the thought. By nightfall, the stocked fridge had completely lost its luster. I stared, uninspired, at everything prepared and purchased days before. Instead, I baked cookies for dinner. For crying out loud. Self control gone. At least they were stuffed with cinnamon, nutmeg, golden raisins, toasted walnuts and gluten free oats. They paired well with my Pinot. Oh well, let the good times roll. I wrapped them up today and sent them to work with Matthew. Happy Valentine's Day work friends.

Thanks in large part to national news coverage, the world now knows that Winter Storm Pax greeted many of our southern towns and cities with a vengeance. Of course it hit other parts of the country too. My thoughts are with those who had real problems. My sister, who lives in New York City, emailed me yesterday asking how we were holding up. Touch wood we did not lose power unlike many of our friends in other parts of the city. 

She informed me that they were thinking of us and commiserating as the City had so much snow that the snow plowing efforts were futile. Swirling down, up, left and right she remarked. She also said it was so windy that one could not safely hold an umbrella without causing a fatality. Yikes. Her husband chipped in that the warmest day this year was ironically that of Super Bowl Sunday. I think we can all count our lucky stars that the worst is hopefully behind us. I will insert here that little brother in Los Angeles responded the following to our email threads: It's 75 and sunny here. I have no idea what y'all are talking about. What a wise guy. I love the Breyer sibs and have included some screenshots below.

Hailing from a place where snow was a rare occurrence, I simply love the snow. Excuse to stay home from work? We will take it. Watching it fall is somehow hypnotic. There is serious excitement to be had watching it pile up. I don't know what the final inch tally was but speaking for our neck of the woods, it was a lot. We strategically placed a bucket on our deck to eyeball the amount received. At one point, a limb hanging over one of the cars became so heavy that it was kissing the roof of one. 

We had a joyous two hours attempting to move cars without four wheel drive over ice and snow in an effort to spare ourselves a headache of the insurance sort. Four wheelers cruised down our street. The neighborhood children were bursting with glee in the streets. No cars moved, everyone was warm and cozy at home. For once, our city was still and it was wonderful.

On one of our snowy nights, Matthew had a craving for a hearty bowl of pasta. Touch wood most goodies needed for such a recipe are usually hanging ten in our kitchen. This is the perfect meal for cold, winter weather and yields leftovers, which are easily reheated for midnight snacks, lunch the following day and the likes. Stay warm friends!

Pasta Bolognese

Kitchen Tip

When cleaning mushrooms, it is best to simply wipe them down with a damp cloth. You could even use a mushroom brush. Yes, they exist. It is okay to gently rinse and then pat dry. You do not want to soak them. When one soaks mushrooms, they absorb the water, which will not allow them to cook and brown properly.


Extra virgin olive oil
Two anchovies - in their oil
Garlic - chopped
White onion - chopped
1 carrot - chopped
1 celery stalk - chopped
16 oz mushrooms - sliced
3 cups of arugula - you could also use spinach or other greens of choice
2 TBS tomato paste
1/2 cup of good red wine
1 TBS maple syrup
1 TBS dried thyme
2 TBS fresh basil - chopped
2 TBS fresh sage - chopped
1 tsp dried fennel
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 lbs ground turkey - you can also use beef, veal or pork
The rind of a hard cheese - I used Pecorino but Parmesan also works
Cheese for grating on top of your dish
28 oz can of plum tomatoes - San Marzano variety preferable
Kosher Salt

Fasten Your Apron

1. Add 2 TBS olive oil to your Dutch oven or pot on medium high heat. Add your meat, a pinch or two of salt, some fresh cracked pepper. Brown your meat. Once done, transfer to a plate for later use.

2. Throw in your anchovies and let them dissolve. Now add the garlic as well as the red pepper flakes. Stir around until fragrant. Now add the onion, celery and carrot. This is also the time to season with thyme, fennel, salt and pepper. Take a pinch here and there. Stir around until everything is cooked. Around five minutes or so.

3. Now add the mushrooms and tomato paste. Continue to stir until the mushrooms cook down.

4. Add the red wine, maple syrup, can of tomatoes, sage, basil and hard cheese rind. Now you also want to add the meat back into the mix. Give everything a big stir. Bring to a boil and then lower to simmer for 45 minutes.

5. After 45 minutes, add 3 cups of arugula and stir until wilted, approximately 5 minutes.

6. Serve with pasta of your choice and some freshly grated cheese. We used the Explore Asian organic soy bean spaghetti. It is gluten free, low carb and high in protein as well as fiber. You can find this at Earth Fare or Whole Foods.


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