On the way to the lakefront to meet some friends yesterday, we drove through my old neighborhood. The one with my Single Lady apartment. A block from my old building, where I used to stand waiting for the crossing signal (or not), look up and see home, just a few dozen steps away. We breezed past the intersection — slowly, it felt, but it probably was a sensible 30 mph — and I announced to Danny from nowhere, it felt, that this neighborhood was where I spent some of my very finest years. I think I qualified it by saying “finest single years,” and the modification was very much genuine.
We recently celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary, and as with all big, important, right milestones, it felt to us and everyone who cared to comment that, on the one hand, it felt like just yesterday, and on the other, it felt like years ago.
I think I have chronicled here, what really was years ago now, the initial growing pains of Cooking for a Dude (on a Regular Basis). Not that I wrote much prior to then about the nights I’d tote home a demi baguette, a corner of Brillat-Savarin, and a pear and call it dinner — I stopped short, and still do, of writing about how to assemble a snack. But especially now, when I’m generally (though not always) cooking for the both of us, it’s rare that I consider passing off Broke & Faking It Snack-Dinner as a legitimate evening meal.
So we’ll consider tonight a special (lazy) occasion. It was a long day at work, literally and figuratively, and though it was productive and forward-moving, it was still full of too many things to accomplish in, well, 11 hours. We went grocery shopping yesterday, and I came home to all the makings of a glorious batch of saag halloumi, but wanted none of it. (Lie: I wanted all of it, but I wanted to make none of it.)
This morning I woke up with the ever-so-slight tack on my skin, sly and insidious, that announces to me it’s Summer Already. And walking home from the train tonight, the neighborhood bright and still a little humid, downright dripping in tree blossoms and gardens and radiant green, I realized what this feeling was. This feeling like you should be happy with the blooms and the gorgeous weather and the wearing of sandals and the feeling of breeze against the small hairs on your shoulder, but the feeling that instead (or in additon?), you feel… I don’t know, cheated. You feel, actually, nostalgic for the couple of rose-gold weeks when the weather suggested you open the windows, not demanded you turn on the AC. I hadn’t felt this feeling for many years, and I snorted (yes, out loud, walking down the street) once I realized what it was. It’s the same feeling you get when you are seeing someone really great and there is nothing wrong, really, but you can’t help but wonder in a tiny voice if things didn’t move a little too fast. Like, now you’re invested. You can’t casually turn the ship around and wish idly that it was still Spring. This is what you wanted, isn’t it?? Summer is ON, and so is the pressure to have your Summer of
If this extended metaphor hasn’t made it clear already: this weather is a little overwhelming to me. Exciting, but I a little bit don’t know how to deal.
Mini fugue state in full effect, I walked in to the apartment, set down my bag, changed clothes, and marched straight to the kitchen. I was defaulting to Snack-Dinner mode. I mixed a stick of butter with a cup of yogurt (which, in this application, really screams to me to be spelled yoghurt or joghurt or yaourt or something, in honor of the places where they’ve been doing stuff like this for centuries). I bashed my last remaining shallot and chopped the last of some dill and parsley that would otherwise have languished away in the fridge. There were about two slices’ worth left in a heel of brown bread I made last week (not black bread as we were out of molasses; I used honey instead and added some flaky salt and sesame seeds to the already caraway-sprinkled top). I toasted them while I sliced some radishes and mixed this dill & shallot yogurt butter concoction.
Am I breaking my own rule? Yes. NO! This recipe is legit. (Legit easy, maybe, and legit a condiment. But for real, legit.)
(And maybe this is all just a delayed gratification of some deep desire from weeks ago to just eat bread with nice butter and radishes.)
I made a prototype of this last week when I made the brown bread, as you will see that that recipe also suggests slathering your bread with magical dill butter. I did not have farmer cheese or goat cheese, but I did have nonfat Greek yogurt. I did not have chives, and I did not care. The result was still very delicious, but I decided that next time I would stretch the “butter” and also capitalize on the whole freedom-from-fat thing by upping the proportion of yogurt.
Tonight’s result: something I’ll be slathering, probably with abandon, on pretty much anything.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (whatever fat content you have on-hand; I find the nonfat to be plenty creamy, and you are mixing it with butter here, for God’s sake)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 shallot, minced
- salt & pepper to taste
Do this: seriously, put it all in a bowl and mix it. Store in the fridge in an airtight container. It will last for a couple of weeks but I promise you won’t make it that long.