You’d think I’d get sick of this recipe at some point, but I haven’t.
My body craves summer. Not a hot and sticky Florida summer or a dry Texas summer, just our summer. A Minnesota summer.
Most nights for dinner, when I actually cook, I prepare something like this.
Summer tomatoes, bell pepper, and herbs, all marinated in good balsamic and olive oil and served on toasted bread. If I have fresh mozzarella, I’ll use some of that; if I have goat cheese or ricotta I might use that instead.
This has nothing to do with breakfast sandwiches, but I just really want to say that I am kind of into HBO’s Crashing.
The main character Pete (real life comedian Pete Holmes) is an aspiring stand-up comic pursuing his dream and crashing on famous comedian’s couches, post separation. He’s not quite sure how to function on his own and support himself financially. Both Pete and his ex-spouse come from a conservative Christian background, and, for the first time, they’re both trying to figure out who they are and what they believe. It’s funny and so heartfelt. The push and pull between both spectrums are treated with surprising compassion.
I can relate to pieces of Pete’s background and floundering around one’s 30’s.
Growing-up in Minnesota, I took rhubarb for granted.
My folks weren’t really into it. Rhubarb was this mysterious, sour pink stalky plant we dared each other to eat as kids. Jake remembers dipping it into sugar. As a young adult, I remember catering an event where the people ate all of the other summer pies except the rhubarb. The rhubarb slices came back to the kitchen where we happily enjoyed them.
I realized they were fools.
No one in my family is Finnish but we grew up eating Finnish Oven Pancakes nearly every week.
My mom got this recipe from my Godmother, with whom she exchanged many other recipes that became family staples.
“I know why my mom made Finnish Oven Pancakes so often,” I thought as I prepared one for the second time this week. They’re easy to make, only require a few ingredients, and taste like a humble feast.
Every time we move, I lose my recipe binder and rejoice upon finding it again.
The binder’s not fancy. It’s a tattered, spiral-ring binder overflowing with recipes I’ve collected since college. Some of the recipes are photocopies of my mom’s cookbooks or library books. Others are packets I’ve collected from cooking classes. A few recipes are from friends who actually hand wrote them on recipe cards, while others are clippings from old Star Tribune Taste sections.
According to the time stamp on my recipe, I printed it February of 2007. At this time, I was finishing my senior year of college where I lived in a house with a group of friends. We were in the midst of planning a party to welcome our housemate back from Mali. Looking back, I must have searched online for West African recipes and chosen this stew.