The fun parts of making harissa: shopping for the right dried chiles; toasting the caraway, cumin, and coriander seeds in a pan; glugging the olive oil into the blender; and, for extra joy, squeezing a Meyer lemon in.
2. Eating out, and reproducing the dishes at home the next day. I really love to do it, don't you? Try to figure out how to make whatever swell tagine with exotic grains and hard-to-find spices that we ate and adored? Last night we ate patatas bravas (hence the harissa), cider braised brussels sprouts, and green curry cauliflower with basmati rice at Meditrina, our first time at that lovely place. Today, I made a green curry cauliflower with jasmine rice, and dang if it wasn't good and simple.
You can figure it out yourself, I'm sure, but in case you just want to try it: saute some onion in olive oil (peanut oil would be better, but I already had the olive oil in the pan when this thought occured). Add some minced garlic to taste. Add a head or a little less sliced cauliflower, then add a can of coconut milk, another half can of broth, and green curry paste to taste. If you are better than me and know how to make your own green curry, knock yourself out. Add some sea salt and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, really tender. Cook some jasmine (or basmati) rice--you can serve the cauliflower with the rice in it, so that the rice becomes a feature of the curry; or you can serve the curry over the rice. Either way: divine.
3. Salad. Seriously, what could be better? Tonight, I made it with red leaf lettuce, a sliced, ripe red pear, and blue cheese vinaigrette, to wit: Glug of olive oil; tip of sherry vinegar; a little dijon mustard; a minced clove of garlic; crushed sea salt and pepper; and a chunk of gorgonzola, broken into smallish pieces.
Whip that madness around with a fork--it gets creamy but it's not a cream dressing, and that is the genius. With a leafy salad embellished by apples or pears, you will not find that this dressing goes amiss, not remotely.
4. Eating dinner with your family when there's light still outside. Am I the only one who groans when the "spring forward" of daylight savings time happens? But how did I forget the beautiful bonus--that at five, at six, there is still light. Still light!