Tonight I’m making Susan’s carrots: a delightful (and a smidge healthy) dish of steamed carrots caramelized in a tablespoon of real maple syrup. They’re candy-sweet and so tasty! I learned how to make these so many years ago when Susan and I were friends living near each other in Salt Lake City. Every time I make these carrots I think of her and her charming Martha-Stewart-like kitchen and the hours spent chatting over food (and kids and photos and writing and…dreams of graduate school). Another favorite thing I make that I also learned during those years of my life is “Mindy Sauce,” which is an Italian marinara that my friend Melinda taught me how to make and has a few variations (varying the final spice can make it a bit sweet or a bit more savory). As I whip it up I always remember her admonition to keep adding the basil until the contrast between the red tomato-y sauce and the green leaves “looks like Christmas” in the pot. :)
I have so many recipes that I make based on the memory of a friend sharing them with me. Some recent additions to my repertoire include Jonathan’s steak (with a bleu cheese sauce, amazing), Karen’s guacamole (with a secret creamy ingredient!), Stijn’s Salty Cod (although he makes it so much better than me), Aubrey’s Salt-crusted Chicken (my new favorite way to roast a bird), and Sandra’s Magical Salty-Sweet-Crunchy appetizers (yumyumyum).
It makes me wonder what food reminds my friends of me? My pizza, perhaps (that I love rolling out on the bar in my kitchen while entertaining a group and sipping wine and giggling? Or a loaf of my homemade bread? Or something else?
And, what is your signature dish?