We got our first snow of the year in the Seattle area a few weeks ago. For all of you who live in places where it actually snows regularly, this might not seem to be something to take note on, but around here, it means that people lose their minds. Now, this storm was a little different than the average snow that causes people to freeze in fear before even pulling out of their driveways. In some places we received two feet of snow, and had temperatures that ranged from the low 20’s to the mid 30’s. This weather would have at least put a kink in a city’s operations that was prepared and equipped for snowy winter weather, but for a place like Seattle, if you didn’t live on a flat, heavily traveled road, you were out of luck (and at times, even that wouldn’t do it). Lucky for us, we live about a 2 minute drive from a grocery store (all flat too!)- so we were able to get out and stock up before things got really bad.
I have to admit it, sometimes my husband can be more thoughtful in the kitchen than me. Now, let’s not get crazy- if he cooks dinner it’s usually something like a turkey burger or a steak with some steamed veggies, but when I’m having cookers block, John is pretty reliable for helping get my brain going. I tend to always try and think of some grandiose dish that has an ingredient list so long it’ll make your head spin and that will take half the day to make (granted, this is only when I’m not almost in tears from being so busy with full-time school and work) and sometimes I need to be taken down a notch or two and reminded that I can still make something that tastes fantastic and cozy without having to put that much effort into it. With that being said, a large portion of this recipe was developed by my lovely husband.
Sometimes the mood or situation calls for something heavy, something rich and creamy. Other times, it calls for a nice salad. It’s as simple as that. Light, crisp, cool, fresh. Add something like avocado or Parmigiano-Reggiano (or both!) to give just the slightest bit of buttery richness and you have yourself a complete and satisfying meal that won’t weigh you down.
Well, I don’t know how it’s looking in other places, but here in Seattle it is definitely fall. The change was very sudden. Nope, no gradual cool-down here, just one day it was summer and the next it was fall. The weather went from days in the 70’s (which, I am strongly against calling summer weather, but it’s what we got this year), to the 50’s, the leaves are turning, and the rain is here. This time of year is when I do my best to get cozy. This typically means more time spent indoors, kicking the fireplace on from time to time (which the pets love), and making meals that involve the oven or the stove top and longer cook times.
I love an ooey-gooey cream-laden pasta with a nice fat piece of sirloin or fillet as much as the next person (or probably even more). Even if I come home and all that I want is to eat my weight in spaghetti carbonara, sometimes a light dinner is what the doctor ordered. I could be accused of eating emotionally (hey man, what could make a lady feel better than to indulge in her new favorite thing, the wonderfully fried Szechuan Crispy Chicken from Spicy Talk Bistro?) but what I have found is that if I do this at the end of a day where I have eaten good-for-you things like salads, lean meats, nuts, etc. it’s not so bad, but when it’s after a busy day that may have involved some not-so-healthy eating, it may just make me want to go cry in the corner. So on night like this, when I’m exhausted and just want some comfort food, I do my best to talk myself into preparing something simple but tasty, slightly rich but not heavy, and really cozy. That’s what these sandwiches are for me.
No matter how much I enjoy cooking, some nights all I want to do is come home, poor a glass of wine and put my feet up. And lord knows if I leave it up to my husband there’s a good chance we will be eating pizza for dinner, so I need something easy that I can whip up in less than 30 minutes otherwise I won’t be able to find the motivation to even pull a knife out.