Elusive Morpheus or Why I Love Sleep

I have never had an easy relationship with sleep.  Even when I was young, in high school, I had trouble falling asleep and later in life it translated into trouble staying asleep.  And now that I am chronically sleep-deprived (a combination of having small children who are up early and sometimes in the middle of the night and of habitually staying up too late) I almost always fall asleep easily.  The waking up in the night is another matter – the slightest sound from one of my children and I am wide awake but I can sleep through Jim getting in and out of bed, having a reading light on, or even writing on the computer.  And my constant, deep, life-long abiding love for sleep has only deepened.  Lying down in the bed after a long day is delicious and sleeping past 5:30am makes me profoundly happy.  And like a part-time lover blessed sleep is mine only for a limited time each week so I like to make the most of it.  I usually have vivid, often strange dreams.  Sometimes I dream about food and lately about my hair (anyone want to interpret that?)  Here is a meal that came to me in that hazy state just between sleeping and awake.

  • amuse bouche of tiny savory mustard dill shortbread with dot of creme fraiche and sliver of citrus gravlax
  • liquid gold soup of rich browned onion broth with tiny perfect butter dumplings
  • salad of baby greens with snipped herbs, spiced toasted walnuts, crispy browned goat cheese quenelles, shaved red onion, perfectly ripe grape tomatoes, simple vinaigrette
  • halibut cooked in white wine with capers, olives, grape tomatoes, garlic on a bed of wilted spinach
  • standing rib roast with a dry crust of rosemary, garlic, black pepper, kosher salt – cooked medium rare
  • crisp and brown on the outside, mealy and soft on the inside roasted baby potatoes
  • tender crisp fresh haricots verts served simply with brown butter and lemon zest
  • cheese plate with something goaty, something creamy, and something sharp served with
  • fresh figs, ripe strawberries, thin slices of fresh ripe pineapple, raw almonds
  • individual tarts filled with rhubarb curd and topped with whipped cream
  • tiny cups of strong mint tea or very dark coffee

There are some issues of kashrut with this meal but it does sound nice, doesn’t it?  Anyone else have fantasy/dream meals?

Tuscan Ono and Rhubarb Meringue Pie

Tonight’s dinner included challah rolls, rice, fresh mozzarella salad, Tuscan ono, rhubarb meringue pie, a good helping of monkey business, and two glasses of spilled grape juice.  Friday night in our house!  I was heartily enjoying the fish when the second glass of grape juice went down in my lap, leaving me wet and sticky.  Never one to be deterred from a meal, I finished my dinner before changing.  Some kids always spill and some kids rarely spill.  We’ve got one of each.  Oh, well, that’s what washing machines, floor mops, and wet towels are for. 

Tuscan Ono

  • 1 lb ono (or other hearty fish fillet ie salmon, halibut, sea bass, cod)
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 10-15 small tender basil leaves
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • splash of balsamic vinegar
  • sprinkle of salt and pepper

Dice the tomatoes and chop the garlic.  Toss together in a bowl all the ingredients except the fish.  Put the filets, skin side down, in a baking dish.  Top with the tomato mixture.  Bake at 350 until fish is done and tomatoes are baked soft.  Serve hot with rice or pasta (or potatoes or bread or nothing or salad…)  If you don’t have little tender basil leaves, use big ones and chiffonade them.

Now, as for the rhubarb pie, oh la la.  I blind baked 2 pie crusts until they were half-baked.  Then I filled them with rhubarb curd (I made a triple batch of the curd recipe posted below) then baked another 10 minutes.  Then I made meringue from the leftover egg whites and some sugar the topped the pies, then baked again until they were browned and firm.  Refrigerate until firm.  Eat.  Yum.  And just as side note, not all rhubarb is red.  In fact most rhubarb grown in home gardens are either lighter pink or just green.  So, if someone gives you a wonderful gift of bags of beautiful rhubarb and it mostly green your amazing rhubarb curd will be khaki not pink.  But you can make it pretty with a little beet juice.

About Love

As I was lying next to my daughter as she fell asleep this afternoon for her nap I was thinking about the nature of love.  Most specifically I was thinking about the love I have for my children and the love I have for my husband and how they are different.  I came up with this analogy; it is imperfect but it does pretty well. 

My love for my children is like titanium.  It is incredibly strong:  can’t be dented, broken, chipped, crushed, or otherwise damaged.  My love for them will never diminish and nothing can make the love come apart (which is not to say that I will always like them or like their behavior, just that I will always love them.)  This love is simply a fact and there is not a lot of need to monitor and baby it along.

On the other hand, my love for my husband is gold.  It is strong but can be dented, changed, mutated.  And a strong enough force can actually break or melt it.  So it is important to take care of spousal love, to protect it and polish it and keep it safe.  Just one more way of saying that having children should not take all of my focus – my husband gets some, too.

So, just the two of us went out to dinner and talked and ate and laughed.  Then home again to the children feeling a bit more like beloved and loving adults than just harried and impatient parents.  Ah, love in all its forms, ain’t nothing else like it.

Love of food, too...