Have you ever talked about mid-January and had it sound good? Think about it, the end of December is great because even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you’re probably on holiday and if you’re not on holiday you’re making bags of dough while the rest of us stuff our faces with over-sized birds and cranberry sauce. The summer months easily sound pleasing: early-mid-late June/July/August – how can you go wrong?  At least in this country. Mid-March has March break, and even Easter sometimes squeezes itself in there right at the end. Fall is basically perfect (even November isn’t so bad), taking care of September and October. And while early Spring is not exactly my favourite time of year (think brown, soggy grass,  bare trees and cool breezes), the whisper of the warmth to come is so invigorating I can almost forgive how ugly it is.

January though, especially mid-January, has few redeeming qualities. To combat the crap that symbolises this month (except for the 2nd, the 2nd is fabulous), I specifically made plans to have dinner with friends last night to break up the monotony and snowless-ness that is our current winter. I see lots of my friends all the time, every week even, so it’s not like I’m friendless and lonely. Shaking up routine for me is a great way to breathe new life into, well, life. And since these friends are great friends. Smart friends. Funny friends. Cool friends. Old friends (there’s nothing quite like a friend who knew you before you had full control over your wardrobe).  They’re friends I don’t see all the time, and I knew a few (several) hours with them is just the ticket to save my sanity. Yet somehow these fine, old friends and I all managed to completely forget about dinner. At least until 8:00, at which point it became obvious January had so completely beaten us it had taken away our ability to improve it. Fuck you January. Thankfully my fine, old friends and I are on top of things and are swiftly planning another dinner, probably in February, when we can make up for January.

In other dinner news, “dinner” is my New Years Resolution. Sort of. I really, really like to cook, but have gotten stuck knocking off the same ol’ stuff, and frankly I’m bored. Marc is happy to eat pasta shells with parmesan (the crappy grated padano from the grocery store, not the parmigiano reggiano I keep by the brick in the fridge) almost every night, and does whenever I go out and don’t feed him. But since I’m an adult and apparently he isn’t, and I like food, and I’m not happy with my current cooking repetoire, it’s time to get a little creative-r.

Whether or not it’s dinner my plan is to make something new at least once a week, and since I’m usually a pretty slow mover, I started right on time this Wednesday with roasted red pepper sauce with fusilli. De-lish! Pictures? No pictures ’cause it’s all in our bellies. Tonight, after fantastic news from our new, awesome, out-of-our-league contractor, I really stepped it up and decided to make yet another new dish: Pork tenderloin with pears and shallots, with a pear nectar reduction.  Dessert – crème brulee. Like Wednesday’s pasta, tonight’s delights are firmly ensconced in our tummies, but since dessert is cooling in the fridge it has yet to make it to our mouths.  Behold:

cream + egg yolks + sugar + wine = perfection (as long as the wine goes with, and not in, the dessert)

It looks much yellow-er than I imagined (but should have expected on account of the EIGHT egg yolks that reside in those tiny dishes), but since I’ve only ever seen it post-torching, it makes perfect sense. Fear not, we will not be forced to eat those precious custards un-browned becuase one of my friends gave me one of these for my birthday:

extreme danger, 2010

I know, super-cool. Marc just keeps looking at me saying “be careful. No seriously, be careful.” I’m pretty sure I laughed at him, lit the torch, and threatened to singe his hair. He was so impressed.

The kids? We got them Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs this week and haven’t seen them in three days. We’re fine with it.

I spied T-Rex earlier today so I know at least Kate’s alive. We’re less sure about Simon.

T-Rex in vase, 2010