I call this place Kitchen Therapy – that safe space where good conversation and good food blend together to feed our souls. There’s been a lot of celebrating at the counter and table. Gosh, how I love to celebrate. In fact, if you came to CasaRock, I’d celebrate your arrival and keep celebrating your stay. The only thing I wouldn’t celebrate is your “goodbye,” though I might end up feeding my feelings (a different kind of Kitchen Therapy altogether).
But sometimes, Kitchen Therapy isn’t a celebration – it’s a lesson learned for this old gal. No, I didn’t set the house on fire. But I almost burned something far more valuable.
This past week, I posted something on my blog – a gut-level look at walking really messy roads with people. It resonated. People said “thank you” and “write more” and praised my boldness. You can read it here if you’d like. Trust me, there’s more to share – my heart is full of things to say about the depth and power of grace. I’m not sure where it will all end up, but there’s more to write.
That blog post was a lesson I’ve been learning, but that post wasn’t THE lesson I needed to learn this week. That lesson came in a simple text from a friend. A prayer request that crumbled my heart.
Because I considered this friend “family.” I’ve walked a lot of life with this person. We’ve celebrated birthdays and anniversaries, cheered for new babies and weddings and wept together in the toughest of times. But lately, our lives have been busy. Crazy-busy. Life-changing stuff busy. It used to be easy to get our families together. We used to run in the same circles. New circles have been drawn, crafting something that feels more like a Celtic cross or links of a chain.
I know better. But I allowed all the excuses to creep in, and I stopped doing the very things that friends do. Stopped making time. Stopped checking in. Stopped praying.
So, I prayed. But first, I apologized. No sweetness and light thing, but rather a “I’m so sorry – I’ve been lousy” thing. A real apology.
And then I delivered a meal.
Now, the meal wasn’t an attempt to gain favor. It was simply the right thing to do. Because friends care for each other. And I needed to be reminded of that – in the kitchen as well as in my heart.
So enjoy the recipes. But if you would, do this for me. Take a moment and reach out to a friend. Let them know you love them. Ask them what you might do for them. And, if by chance you’ve neglected that friendship – apologize. Don’t make excuses. Just say “I’m sorry – I’ve been a lousy friend.” I can attest, it’s very good for the soul.
Herbed Beef Tenderloin
One 2 to 2-1/2 pound beef tenderloin, trimmed
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 T. fresh tarragon, finely chopped
2 t. fresh thyme, finely chopped
Place tenderloin in a Ziplog bag and add olive oil, garlic and herbs. Massage ingredients into beef and marinate refrigerated for 4-6 hours. Remove from refrigerator and place in the center of a roasting pan with roasting rack. Put in oven that’s been preheated to 400 and roast uncovered for 20 minutes or until browned; reduce oven temperature to 350 and continue roasting until internal temperature reaches 140. Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Easy Potatoes Romanoff
(serves about 6)
3 large Russet potatoes, scrubbed well and chopped, but left unpeeled
1 cube Knorr’s vegetable boullion
1 medium onion, finely minced
2-1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese (I use a mixture of white and yellow cheddar, and a mix of mild and sharp)
1-1/2 cups crème fraiche (or use sour cream if you cant find it)
2 t. salt
¼ t. white pepper
1 cup Panko crumbs
3 T. olive oil
1 t. herbs de Provence
Preheat over to 350.
Place chopped potatoes and minced onion in a pot of water with the Knorr’s bouillion cube. Bring to a boil and cook potatoes until just tender. Remove from heat and drain. Add cheese, crème fraiche, salt and pepper and toss gently with a spoon to mix. Transfer the potato mixture to a 1 1/2-quart gratin dish; do not compress.
In a small bowl, mix panko crumbs, olive oil and herbs. Sprinkle over potato mixture, and bake until the potatoes are hot and the cheese is bubbly, about 30 minutes.
Roasted Mushrooms with Herbs
serves 2 as a main, 6 as a side dish
3/4 pound cremini mushrooms, washed and sliced
1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, washed and sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh herbs such as chives, thyme, marjoram, and flat-leaf parsley, minced
Sour cream, for garnish
Heat the oven to 475°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Toss the mushrooms in a large bowl with a generous amount of salt and pepper and the olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes, then toss the mushrooms once, and return to the oven. Roast for an additional 10 minutes, or until they are dark and slightly shrunken.
Return the roasted mushrooms to the bowl. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Toss with the herbs, then transfer to a serving dish and top with a dollop of sour cream. Serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy of thekitchn.com.