It's been a rough few weeks Chez Hungry Dog. For one thing, the husband and I have both been dealing with some work stress. I know, we're supposed to be grateful that we have jobs--and we are. But that doesn't mean they don't bug us, and it certainly doesn't mean we can't complain about them.
The other thing is that we discovered our sweet dog is sick again. I can't even write about this, because it's slowly breaking my heart into tiny pieces, but suffice it to say, we've been spending as much time as possible at home with her, soaking up her lovely little essence and trying to be, although it is in neither of our natures, as much "in the moment" as possible.
Unfortunately the husband had to go on a work trip last week. In the nine years we've been together, we've rarely been apart, and that's the way we like it. Some people may call this co-dependent. I call it happy.
The other hungry dog and I got to get in some serious bonding time, which was great, but we were very pleased to see the husband return. Since then, comfort food has been in order.
There are plenty of foods that I'd identify as comfort foods, and it's no surprise that most of them are things that remind me of being a little kid. When I've got a cold, I love steamed chicken with ginger and scallions. My dad would make that when we were under the weather, steaming the chicken with black mushrooms, then serving it with scallions, ginger, and salt doused with a splash of hot oil to take the raw edge off.
I also love my mom's spaghetti. Not the most original comfort food, but an honest one. My recipe is based on hers, but over the years I've made it my own. Somewhere along the line I realized I didn't care much for ground beef (except in hamburgers) and started using ground turkey, usually a combination of light and dark meat. I also like to throw in some sweet Italian sausage. Other than that, the sauce has the usual suspects--onion, celery, carrot, tomatoes, and marjoram, which I prefer to oregano. I use a big glug of wine, and I finish it with fresh herbs, basil and parsley if I can. This time I also threw in some red and yellow heirloom tomatoes that were starting to look a little peaked.
On the night of the husband's return, I found comfort in assembling the sauce and letting it simmer away while we drank wine and he filled me in on his trip. The sauce turned out perfectly, the exact balance of sweet and acidic that I like. We ate steaming bowls of it as the dog sat next to me, her stony gaze switching steadily from the pasta bowl to my face. Give me some. As you know, her voracious appetite is the ultimate comfort to me. As much as I could, I just soaked it up, enjoying the moment. Sometimes that's the best thing you can do.