Sunday Dinner on The Ranch, Je t’aime

I used to absolutely hate Sundays.  The bitter dread of the impending work week would creep up and punch me squarely in the face around 4:00 PM.  The late afternoon used to mark the time when my imagination would go into overdrive about how to delay the inevitable, mundane, often the painful return to my work-week reality. Sometimes the thought of having to return to the confines of my windowless office, with the occasional jaunt “upstairs” into the cesspool, clearing house for criminal activity was too much to bear.    In order to avoid an extended period of time in a women’s prison, I determined that instead  of allowing my thoughts to drift toward automatic weapons, I would channel my angst into something I love.  To redirect that energy is my way of blocking the punch of the dreaded work week, and smiling back at it as I kick it in the neck.  From this, Sunday Dinner was born.

Cooking is my escape.  It is my catharsis.  I have no technical training in the culinary arts.  Rather, whatever skill I have in the kitchen comes from sheer determination, an addiction to cooking shows (from Julia to Giada), a life long love affair with food, and a passion for entertaining the people I love.  Sunday Dinner is my ritual, it is my relief.

Sundays are now my favorite day of the week.  I spend all day in the kitchen dicing, chopping, browning, roasting, and baking–with my Pandora channel set on Dave Brubeck or John Coltrane, and glass of wine in hand.  I usually decide the Sunday Dinner menu by Thursday, and do all of my necessary shopping by the time I am Northbound to The Ranch on Friday evening, thus avoiding the supermarket wasteland that lies north of Whole Foods.  My Beloved steers clear of the kitchen, except to offer to be the official “taster” of my work.  Unlike my day job, Sunday Dinner affords me the unique opportunity of having tangible evidence of my efforts, be it in the form of braised grass fed short ribs, Valrhona chocolate pot de creme, or otherwise.  I love, love, love Sunday Dinner.  It is the one time during the week that the Ranch Family can get together and catch up.

Like any true Parisienne at heart, for me, the sound of my friends’ and family’s laughter and witty repartee, coupled with great food and wine, keep the specter of the work week at bay.  Isn’t this exactly what life is all about? Indeed, the work week is imminent, but my Sunday Dinner talisman against it’s evil, ensures that I don’t let it’s stink pollute my precious weekend a minute sooner than necessary.  Work will always be there.  These small, but powerful moments won’t.

Give Sunday Dinner a shot.  Spend your last hours of freedom from the work week sharing a meal with the people you love. It doesn’t have to be “fancy” or perfect.  You just have to mean it.

Tonight’s Delights?  Flank steak marinated in Meyer lemon, olive oil, and garlic, along with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts and carrots, and fresh pumpkin pie, of course.  The wine? 2010 Unti Segromigno from Dry Creek Valley.  Delicious.


Marinated Flank Steak--DIVINE!

Marinated Flank Steak in Meyer lemon, garlic, and flat leaf parsley–DIVINE!

The Makings of Pumpkin Pie from scratch!

My faithful kitchen sidekick…Diego

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