So, 2022…wahoo? We're certainly all hoping so. I feel like life is going to start to open up, be lighter again. Many of us are still hybrid, splitting time between the office and home. I'm doing it, and I think there's a lot of good in it. With all of the hard lessons of 2021, we also learned what our time and lives are worth to each of us. All these personal pivots we've been pushed to make have forced us to change our priorities along with our lifestyles. We've adjusted our thinking about the importance and meaning of home and life to each of us.
And I feel that people, whether they're hosting a party in their dining room or Zooming with friends across the globe, continue to connect via food in a more complete and thoughtful way. Maybe it was to save money, or to entertain ourselves, but we all learned some new tricks in the kitchen. And after being around the house all day, so many of us got a better handle on meal planning. You'd pass the kitchen and remember, Oh, I gotta figure out dinner. (But you'd do it earlier, instead of in the 4 p.m. panic from the office, when you'd try to remember what's in the fridge.) We lived more in tune with the seasons and ate more seasonally too. We learned about supply chains and where our food comes from, and we simply thought about food in a more complete way. One thread I hope to carry in 2022 is that every day should matter, not just weekends or vacations or special occasions. Life is something we should try to enjoy with one another, in one way or another, every day. And food is one great way to do that.
The one thread I hope to carry in 2022 is that every day should matter, not just weekends or vacations or special occasions.
As 2021 came to a close, I didn't feel like we were "there" yet. And now I think we're…kind of… getting there. We're gathering safely again. We're able to worry a little less about the very young, the very old, the infirm. We're backish. And it's good to be backish! I love that I'm seeing butts in seats at restaurants and butts in seats on my daytime show. You know, it's funny: There are fewer people in the audience on my show right now due to social-distancing restrictions. So we put in couches, and it ironically makes the room look fuller. I guess less can be more. That said, at this point I'm ready for some more is more.
Maybe you are too. Here's to a rip-roaring, busting-out-of-our-shells joyride of a 2022.
Farmer Lee & Me
If you're curious who I'm hanging with (above), that's Farmer Lee Jones. I visited his family's farm in Huron, Ohio, for a segment on my show, and I didn't want to leave! Lee is a mensch and a brilliant guy. He supplied the greatest chefs in America for years, through his company, The Chef's Garden. He likes to say, "Healthy soil equates to healthy vegetables, which equates to healthy people." And now he'll ship those beautiful organic veggies to you! Order a box at chefs-garden.com.
This article originally appeared in our Winter/Spring 2022 issue. Get the magazine here.
Preheat oven to 400˚F.
For the dressing, combine lemon juice, anchovies, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, pepper, cheese, and egg yolk (if using) in a food processor. Pulse to combine, then with machine running, slowly stream in the EVOO. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
For the croutons, melt butter with EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and bread; stir until evenly coated. Turn off heat. Sprinkle pepper and cheese over croutons and stir to coat. Transfer croutons to a baking sheet in an even layer. Bake until deeply golden and fragrant, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes.
Assemble salad, combining the lettuce, arugula, blue cheese, dressing, and some croutons. (Store extra croutons in a tin or wrap in foil for up to 2 weeks.)