Goodbye Borders

Borders Books and I go way back.  When I was a college student in Ohio, Borders arrived in a new shopping plaza close to my hometown.  Bookstore and coffee shop combined?  Just like those fancy New Yorkers have always had?  I felt like I'd won the lottery.  Borders turned into my hangout.

Years later, when I moved to Ann Arbor (Borders Books' headquarters), I frequented the flagship store for my book club.  Other than those meetings, Borders had lost its luster by then.  Close up and personal, Borders wasn't run well.  The signs of impending doom were easy to see here in its hometown.

Also, my book buying habits have changed.  My bookshelves are bursting with fiction so I'm a fervent library visitor.  I buy books for others at holidays and birthdays.  Personally, I purchase specialty books now...cookbooks, film books, books on writing.  Yes, I use Amazon.  As a frugal shopper, I can't ignore those Amazon prices.

Last  month, on the way home from a New York roadtrip, I stopped in Cleveland and took one last spin through my old Borders haunt.  I had my sentimental moment and said my goodbyes.  I returned home with a stack of cookbooks as a souvenir.



Warm Weather Pot au Feu

Pot au Feu literally means "pot on the fire".  Essentially it is beef stew, a traditionally stick-to-your-ribs on-a-cold-winter's-day dish.

I made a warm weather version of Pot au Feu for dinner last night using a recipe from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.

This warm weather version uses beautiful spring vegetables, chopped herbs, and is finished with an egg.  Oh, so French!

IMG_2432 I had some vegetables in the fridge already so I just picked up some shiitake mushrooms and new potatoes to add to the mix.  The recipe gives the option to use a strip of lemon zest and lemongrass.  I decided to just use the zest.

IMG_2433 IMG_2435 More vegetables ready for the "pot".

IMG_2436 First the garlic, onions, and leeks are lightly sauteed.

IMG_2439 Then the carrots and potatoes are added with a strip of the lemon zest.  The vegetables simmer in some chicken stock until just tender.

IMG_2440 Then the mushrooms, trimmed and peeled asparagus stalks and spinach are added.

While the vegetables are simmering, the recipe calls for the eggs to be prepared.  Greenspan gives the choice of poaching or soft-boiling the eggs and then serving one atop the finished dish.  The yolk then gives an added richness to the light broth.

I'd never experimented with soft-boiled eggs so I chose to try that option.  Peeling them was the challenge.

IMG_2441 Two out of four isn't bad, right?

IMG_2446 The finished product.  Just perfect!  I couldn't have been happier.

This is a wonderful dish to welcome Spring, a light supper with ingredients straight from the farmer's market.