Roasted potatoes and artichoke hearts

Roasted potatoes and artichokes

Roasted potatoes and artichokes

I was going to put as my facebook status “don’t you hate it when you’re feeling really down and discouraged, and you hope that something nice might happen to cheer you up, but instead your dog gets sick and it’s Sunday night and you don’t have a car, so you have to ask somebody to drive you to the emergency vet and the visit costs as much as you made in tips all weekend long at your lousy job?” But of course I didn’t! Nobody wants to read depressed and moan-y news like that, unless it has a picture of a cat attached. And I don’t have a cat! People mostly tend to write about stuff they feel good about, on these social media forums, or minor pet peeves, or share inspirational sayings, or post pictures of cats, or the everloving inspirational quotes with pictures of cats. Here at The Ordinary, I try to share some of the times when things don’t go well, when I ruin dinner or Malcolm yells at me that I’m mean, because I’d feel like a liar if I pretended everything was perfect all the time. But I guess I try to be a bit cheerful about it, to find some vague reason to be happy in the end, even if it’s a fairly foolish reason…Dinner turned out horrible and I threw a temper tantrum, but Malcolm gave me a big hug, so who cares? Well, I have been feeling discouraged lately, and Clio did get sick and I was up much of the night with her, and to be honest I was having a really hard time trying to see it in a positive light. But I started thinking about it, as I sat on a bench basking in the mild but well-meaning sunshine and watched the boys play with their friends, and I realized that the very act of writing about it makes me feel more hopeful. Not just because it helps to talk about it or it’s cathartic in some way, but because of the writing itself. It makes me happy to put words together. I feel good when the words sound good, and even when they don’t, which is probably most of the time. And it makes me happy to think about this thing that makes me happy that’s so simple – it doesn’t require complicated equipment or lots of planning. It’s completely free of charge. It might be a self-indulgent waste of time, but who cares! It doesn’t hurt anyone, and nobody can take it away from me. I like to think that everybody could have this…some seemingly trifling activity that doesn’t make you forget your worries so much as it opens a possibility of some endeavor that’s more important than your worries, if you let it be. Maybe you doodle, maybe you strum a guitar, maybe you cook a mean risotto. Any of these things can be shared, can be nourishing to yourself and others. And now, I may have been in a foul mood all day, and may not have gotten much sleep, but Malcolm is asking if I want to make ginger beer with him, so who cares?

These potatoes were a breeze! Easy peasy lemon squeezy, and they’d be good with a squeeze of lemon. I made them after work one day with some leftover canned artichoke hearts. But they turned out so good! Crispy and tender and flavorful. They’re very simple, as they’re presented here, but they seemed a little fancy to me anyway. You could easily add shallots or garlic or olives before you roast, or sprinkle on some cheese towards the end. But they’re nice like this – simple – with salt and lots of pepper.

Here’s Who Cares by Michelle Shocked, which has been in my head a lot lately.

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Magic broccoli

Magic broccoli sauce

NEW JERSEY MOM REVEALS ONE SIMPLE TRICK TO COOKING BROCCOLI YOUR KIDS WILL BEG YOU TO MAKE!

Heh heh. That headline will probably only be funny if you get the same ads popping up all over the place that I do. And they’re spookily specifically targeted, so odds are it doesn’t make sense at all! But let me tell you about this broccoli. The other night, I got home from work latish, I was tired, I wasn’t up to making anything elaborate. But I did feel a little guilty about the dearth of vegetables in my vegetarian sons’ diets, so I decided to make some broccoli. I threw some in a pot with a little water, cooked it till it was bright and just starting to soften, drained it, but not very carefully, and added four ingredients. That was it!

The boys loved it! The fought over the last piece! They poured the broth on their plates and mopped it up with bread! They asked me to make it again the next night. Which I did. And I’d like to have saved some to take a picture of, but there wasn’t a morsel left. If you served this over rice or noodles, you’d have a meal! You could always add tofu or chickpeas if you wanted a bit of protein. And you could add nut butter, or hot pepper, or garlic… I had to stop myself, because I think the beauty of this recipe is its simplicity.

It’s magic!

Here’s Junior Murvin with Magic Touch.
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