At long last, triumph!
The Lord has recently been teaching me humility when it comes to my cooking. I've really taken pride in my culinary ability, but after a long period of failures and semi-failures in the kitchen, I've had three in a row that were total successes. Finally! I'm so excited.
First: White bean soup with Swiss Chard. An invention based on the fact that I wanted soup and had homemade chicken stock, canned cannellini beans (white Italian kidney beans), and a giant bunch of organic Swiss chard on hand. It turned out so luscious and satisfying, not to mention gorgeous.
Second: Russian black rye. I was honestly a bit worried about this one when it came out of the oven -- the crust hadn't set the way I hoped it would, and it felt very heavy! But I sliced into it while still warm, and it was so flavorful and delicious, with a perfect, even, dense texture. The recipe is one from an NPR story about a woman's relationship with her Russian husband's family and the delicious food she learned to make. I did make a couple of minor substitutions (cocoa powder instead of unsweetened chocolate) and omissions (shallot, cumin seed), but followed the recipe with some care otherwise -- a bit unusual for me.
Third: Whole wheat crackers. I'm obsessed with crunchy things (particularly crunchy, sour things... which reminds me that I have kosher dills in my fridge... be right back... mmmm). So I was surfing around allrecipes.com for a good cracker recipe, and found these, a basic-but-tweakable cracker to which I added rosemary, garlic, black pepper, and hot Hungarian paprika, and used olive oil instead of vegetable oil. They turned out savory and snackable -- plus the fact that I chose every ingredient that went into them -- no scary hydrogenated oil, no weird, unpronounceable chemicals.
Whew! I was beginning to doubt myself there for a second!