Monday, January 26, 2009

Comfort Food

With tales of snow approaching (I'll believe it when I see it), the Potomac River frozen over for the last week or so, and me giving in to wearing socks EVERY SINGLE DAY, I have accepted that winter has arrived in DC.

I know, I know...but winter, despite several perks, is just not my favorite. Namely, I don't do cold. I have often discussed with friends from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and other Siberia-like environs my theory on dealing with weather: you are trained to handle one extreme. Growing up in Texas, I can live with 90+ (or 100+) degree days in July. Wind chill of -4? I'm out.

Not to say there aren't things I enjoy about the cold. Snow is in fact really, really beautiful, and I still get excited when we get the first fall and everything is white and quiet. Of course then it gets all gray and slushy and annoying, but at first it is wonderful. I also love snuggling under lots of blankets - I like the heaviness of quilts and throws all piled on my bed.

Mainly though, I like the excuse to eat some comfort food. Not that I really need a season to indulge in anything...while I try to be healthy for the most part, butter and cream and cheese and all products dairy manage to sneak their way into a lot of my food choices. But there's something about cold temperatures that inspires me to have cheesy soups and creamy pastas and chili with cheddar cheese for just about every meal.

So tonight I have made one of my favorites: penne a la vodka. I use this recipe, which is pretty counterintuitive for a number of reasons. First, the name is just idiotic. I doubt I will ever bring myself to make it for a guy, just on principle. Unless I'm married, I suppose, but since that's currently not the case...just no. And it's by Rachael Ray, who I generally find to be rather annoying. And I saw her make it on Oprah, which I don't watch. But with all those caveats, it's an easy, delicious recipe that gets even better after it's been in the fridge overnight. Be sure to serve with some sort of crusty bread. And as Rachael mentioned in the show, don't use hooch* - it will make a difference.

Next on my slate is chili (for a Super Bowl party) and Jamaican Jerk Burgers. What are your comfort foods?

*Can I share that while buying said not-hooch today at the VABC store, the clerk whom I have never seen before totally gave me the third degree about my dating life? Talk about irony.

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