After two weeks in a cramped hotel room, numerous mediocre restaurant-catered meals, and one 11-long hour train ride from NYC to Montreal, I was really, truly ready for a simple, home-cooked meal.

One speedy trip to the market later, we had a small fish fillet — I already forget what it was; was it perch? — which we lightly dredged in flour and seared quickly in a pan with smoking hot butter and lemon. I was craving huge bowls of fresh vegetables, so I contributed two super simple side dishes: roasted beets with chopped parsley, and sauteed swiss chard with fried garlic, bacon, shallots and lemon. Not to be outdone, my boyfriend made a remarkable beurre blanc from scratch. The resultant creamy, tangy, velvety liquid was one of the most powerfully delicious sauces I’ve ever had in my life. Vivid notes of sweetness, tart, vinegar, salt, cream, and fat, all in perfect balance.

Also: another NEA fellow, Sophia Ahmad, wrote a great little wrap-up detailing our two weeks at Columbia. I miss the chaos of NYC already. Read it here!

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