Thursday, March 24, 2011

Days Like These...

It's been one of those weeks where I just wish I could curl up in a ball and sleep for forever. I've been too hard on myself, again, and instead of being normal and just getting over it, I've lashed out at the people I love the most. Seriously, sometimes I am really unreasonable.
It's not that I need to be told I'm awesome a million times a day. It's not really like that. I'm not one of those people that needs to be praised and my ego doesn't need stroking. I already know what I'm capable of. And yet this week I doubted, and this week I said to myself, "What the heck do you think you're doing Jacqueline? Who the heck do you think you are?" which is the WORST set of questions to ask yourself when you are feeling stressed and sad. If those questions were actions, they would equate to a one-two-punch to the stomach, causing the very breath within you to leave your body, and once it returns cause you supreme anxiety that you may now be suffering from internal bleeding.
I made a lot of lists this week. I made a list of what I'm going to plant in the garden this summer, where in New York I most want to eat, what I have to do for school in the next month (holy shoot!), and a list of things I really like. Making a list of things you like when you are feeling down is incredibly therapeutic. My list included Kywin!, jam, speed scrabble, having my back patted, having my hair played with, writing self indulgent journal entries, soft cat paws, and Romesco Sauce. There was more to it than that (I like and get excited about A LOT of things), but I think you get the point. The fact that condiments, such as jam and Romesco sauce made the list should indicate that I am kind of nuts-o for the stuff. My grandma makes the best ever jam, and I happen to make the best ever Romesco sauce. I could eat copious quantities of both, although preferably not together.
Romesco sauce, for those of you who don't know, is a roasted vegetable and nut dip/spread from heaven. Seriously. I just discovered the stuff on Christmas Eve of last year and now I think about it all the time. When we have it in the fridge, I make it my mission to incorporate it into every meal. I love it's bright flavour, it's pretty colour, and the way it makes everything it pairs with look a little more cheery. Yeah, it's a friggen dip. But wowza...

If you are also having one of those self-loathing days:
Try not to beat yourself up anymore. No one has it all figured out, not entirely anyway. If things aren't going as well as you wanted them to, learn from the situation, shake yourself off, and move on. Do not yell at boyfriend. Do not freak out at the person beside you in class when they ask to borrow a pen. Just take a deep breath and let it go. Write a list of things that make you happy and include even the most ridiculous of items/people/places (Hey, I'm not judging... my list contained condiments.) Try not to forget about all the goodness and beauty that surrounds you every day. It's there, I promise, if you take the time to look. The cherry blossoms are in bloom, and I swear the sun shone a little warmer today.

And you,
You are awesome. Don't forget that.

Romesco Sauce
Adapted from a recipe from Steven Imbach

Okay, yes, this recipe is a bit of work. But the work is SO worth it, and I can't emphasize that enough, and you won't understand until you can try it for yourself. This sauce it so ridiculously good, you may be tempted to eat it on it's own with a spoon. Frick, just thinking of it...
This recipe doesn't exactly use exact measurements. It's pretty awesome in that sense, because you can kind of just throw in what you have on hand. And I swear, it always turns out good (so long as you adhere, mostly, to the below instructions!).
If you are wondering if your vegetables HAVE to be roasted, the answer is yes. It's not Romesco sauce without the vegetables being roasted. Or at least, I don't think so. And you will be seriously compromising the flavor level of this sauce.

2 medium ancho chiles, roasted then soaked OR 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder (I used the the powder, and I found it really easily at my local grocery store)
1/2 - 1 cup blanched almonds, toasted (or hazelnuts)
4 large garlic cloves, roasted, peeled
1-2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded (fresh or canned) about 3/4 cup
2-3 large tomatoes, roasted, seeded, peeled. diced (canned, or tomato paste, 1 cup)
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne or hot paprika
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
1/2 - 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 slice crusty white bread, toasted and cubed (1/4 cup bread crumbs) (I used day-old baguette!)

Toast the chiles in a dry pan until they are aromatic and the color is mottled. Remove the seeds and stems. Place the chiles in hot water and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Drain and cut into small pieces - This is why I like to use the powder instead!

Heat 1 tsp of the olive oil in a skillet and fry bread until golden brown on both sides. Break the bread in half and let cool.

In a food processor: add the nuts and bread and process until finely ground. Add the remaining ingredients. Process until the ingredients are a thick puree. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Adjust consistency by adding additional olive oil and/or vinegar to taste.

And voila! I use Romesco sauce on just about ANYTHING when I have a bowl of it lying around. One of my personal favorite ways to eat Romesco sauce is putting it on top of my eggs (pictured above). Holy yum. But you can eat it with veggies, crackers, baguette and cheese, in sandwiches, or with roasted chicken!!


  1. That recipe was great! Although I made a couple of improvements...
    3tbp of cornstarch
    1/2 tsp banana puree
    2 tbsp blue food coloring (to make it alot more fun!)

  2. This is why you are my most favorite chef!!!