Cold weather and I are not MFEO. Of course, neither are hot, humid weather and I. In Washington, DC, that basically means for two seasons of each year I am virtually worthless. When the temperature's below 40 degrees, I just want to sit inside all day, wrapped in a blanket, growing fat. Depressing. Of course, sweating enough to take three showers a day in the summer doesn't really appeal to me either. Therefore, every summer...and every winter...since I moved back to DC from California I have seriously questioned what I was thinking. In California, every day is more or less like this picture (give or take a little fog and possibly some rain in winter). Yet, when I was *in* California, I really convinced myself I missed seasons. Turns out I really only missed fall and spring...and, oh!, those happen to be basically the only seasons they have on the West Coast. sigh. I've never been the most practical decision maker.
Yet, here I am in DC, trying to make the best of the season. (As I rather gallantly try to do for the first few months every winter...until it snows 2 feet and I resign myself to pizzas and beers as support for just making it out alive.) This week, my winter apathy has put me in a real bind. I planned a New Year's Day Brunch as part of my "Avoid Winter Depression" project for this year. Although I've had basically nothing on my calendar this week, it's now Thursday (2 days before New Year's, if you're counting), and I've done nothing to prepare-choosing instead to succumb to lethargy and make like a couch slug all week. My house is dirty, I haven't grocery shopped, and my kitchen counter looks like something like this:
Of course, me being me, I'm still refusing to cut any of the brunch items I originally intended to make. Thus, I have about 48 hours to seriously get my act together, and I kind of need some sort of guardian angel sous chef to show up. Immediately.
To make things extra exciting, I have no idea who is coming. In the spirit of a "fresh start" and relaxed hospitality (something I'm trying to develop a bit more), I literally invited everyone I know; told them to invite people and did not require an RSVP. So, come Saturday, my 800 square foot apartment could be filled with 50 people or 2. Brilliant. However, as of today, it *has* cured my winter blues.
The one thing I did try to do was pick a few easy recipes that I know are crowd pleasers. I love an appetizer that's easy to throw together (you can even grab a party guest to help) and yet tastes a bit fancy.
MAPLE SAGE APRICOTS (rolled in...BACON!)
These are hit everywhere I've tried them- from the Boonies in PA to the big city in DC. Not to mention, they are delightfully simple to make.
Bag of dried apricots (I try to get the kind that have no sugar added)
Package of bacon (I like Niman Ranch or a local farmer's market variety for extra flavor)
Handful (or package) of sage
Maple Syrup (get the 100% pure good stuff)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut bacon into thirds (or halves, if the strips are small), you want to be able to wrap it fully around the apricot.
2. Wrap one sage leaf (if especially large, you can tear it in half) and one apricot inside a bacon piece. Lay on a cookie sheet (with wrapped edge down). Repeat until you have used at least one of the ingredients up.
3. Bake for about 10 minutes or until bacon gets browned. Brush with maple syrup immediately. Serve with toothpicks. Expect them to be gone within 1/2 hour.
More brunch recipes to come!