I like the challenge of cooking on vacation. I like the different stove. The different equipment. The weird spices. The limited cupboard. I think just being in a different kitchen and a different place can spark your creativity.
Of course, after a day in the sun or a day touring the sites, sometimes you don’t want to cook. You just want something easy. Or for someone to put a plate in front of your hungry face.
We spend a lot of the summer weekends in Brewster on Cape Cod and we take plenty of advantage of all the local, fresh seafood to make some great meals, but sometimes vacation means taking a break from everything, including cooking dinners.
We don’t eat out at restaurants very often. Both Michelle and I like to cook and, unless it’s a special occasion, we can often make something just as good and healthier (never mind cheaper) at home. We’ll sometimes cave to convenience, but I’d guess we only eat out as a family about 2-3 times a month.
When we do go to a restaurant, especially if it’s for lunch, we like to find something quick, tasty, and healthy-ish. Cava, a new fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant that recently opened in Dedham appeared to fit that bill.
Some days just leave you drained and dragging by six o’clock. The kids will always eat mac ‘n cheese or nuggets, but you are left staring into the cabinets wondering if saltines and hummus can qualify as dinner. This is when you need a back pocket recipe. A recipe that requires little thought, little effort and little time, but yields something you know you like and will leave you satisfied. One of my back pocket recipes is okonomiyaki. The most difficult part of the recipe is the pronunciation.
I’ll come clean. I’m a soft cookie man. If you give me a choice between a soft and chewy or hard and crispy, I’ll choose the former every time. The only hard cookie I can think of that I eat willingly are biscotti (soft and chewy with tea or coffee aren’t natural bedfellows) and even then the shower of crumbs sort of annoys me when the pleasure of dunking and dipping is done.
With the price of chocolate going through the roof to a thirty year high (c’mon you’re telling me intervening in the Ivory Coast isn’t in our national interests) I’m increasingly turning to these versatile molasses cookies as my go-to staple for a cookie fix. In our house we aspire to two food rules. One, the Epicurean rule of everything in moderation and two, the Pollan principle of indulgence is okay as long as you make it yourself.