Mosquitoes. 98 degrees in the shade. Wonderchien, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Paris anymore.
But guess what? I’m not complaining. I’m so glad to be home, in the land of Everyone Understands Me and Endless Grocery Aisles, that I welcome the pesky insects and the blazing heat. This is the honeymoon, you see, before I start missing the city I just left. I am learning this about the Ex-Pat experience. If I am not missing Houston or Paris, it must be because I just left one and arrived in the other.
So what have I been doing since my arrival a week ago? A lot of staying home, or close to home. I have been nesting in my Houston townhouse- cleaning, organizing, provisioning, and breaking in my new stove. (And on that note, whoever came up with the idea that ceramic would make a good cooktop surface clearly did not do a lot of cooking. But I digress.) The best part of being home is that I have had all three of my kids around my table for a few meals, and even had their help in preparing one or two. The space feels a little small at times, but my heart is full when my kitchen is full of my offspring. And then they quickly fly out the door, leaving me with all the dishes. Huh?
I think I have been pretty clear here that I sorely missed fresh jalapeno while I was in Paris. I have been making up for it this week.
I have been cozying up with several new cookbooks that I didn’t have or wasn’t able to use in Paris, and I intentionally chose recipes featuring jalapeno.
First I made Homesick Texan’s Pico de Gallo and then put it on everything except my morning oatmeal. Just the smell of it in my kitchen made me happy to be home. I also picked up some fresh corn on the cob (no corn in Paris!) and cut off the kernels and sautéed them in butter, salt, and minced jalapeno. Sooooo good sprinkled on my chef salad! Or on anything, right?
I made a polenta crusted quiche from Cowgirl Chef’s new cookbook (Cowgirl Chef- Texas Cooking with a French Accent), which included chorizo and canned green chilis. That tasted like home, too.
This morning I tried Homesick Texan’s Kolaches, but replaced the fruit filling with Lil Smokies, American cheese, and minced jalapeno, as my friend Martha suggested. They were pretty darned good for a beginner!
Of course, all this cooking has required several trips to my favorite grocery store, which still sends me into an altered state of euphoria when I cross the threshold into the vast space of way too cold but infinite possibilities. I’m not sure how long that will last, but I’m enjoying it while it does. I have also reintroduced myself to my gym, which sends me into a completely different kind of altered state. Two days ago my right tricep was so sore I could hardly lift my hand to my face, which made both eating and oral hygiene a challenge. Fortunately that has passed, and I was able to heft not one but two of the afore-pictured kolaches to my mouth this morning. I guess that means it’s time to go back to the gym. Sigh. It’s a vicious cycle.
I have enjoyed running into many friends and acquaintances on my trips in and out of the grocery store and the gym. Some give me a quizzical look that says “Wow- I haven’t seen you in a long time. Where have you been?” Others, who know me a little better, say “I thought you were in Paris now!”. And finally there are those precious souls who actually read my little blog and so are not surprised to see me and just welcome me home. I do love those people! Thanks, y’all. It’s so good to be home.