In the words of the Wise Scribe Neil Young ..."One of these days, I'm gonna sit down and write a long letter To all the good friends I've known And I'm gonna try And thank them all for the good times together. Though so apart we've grown... I never tried to burn any bridges Though I know I let some good things go. My friends are scattered Like leaves from an old maple. Some are weak, some are strong."
My friends are all smart, witty, and fun. Some of you I've known since I was a child. Others I've known for less than a year. Part of me is missing when you are absent, and I praise the heavens when we reunite.
My very first friends were Macaroni and Alligator. The irony of having a friend named for a favorite food is not lost on me. They lived in the fields behind our house on Main Street, and we spent hours together pouring over books and playing house. When my family referred to my friends as imaginary I didn't know what that meant. They were as real to me as my sisters and parents (and they still are). I thought imaginary just meant special, like when my mom said I had a great imagination.
By the time I was 3 years old a little girl just my size moved into a house on our block and we became inseparable. Shelly lives a glamorous Hollywood life in California now, but she returns to Minnesota this week for a visit and I am anxious to get together.
Last night I met with friends I've known since elementary school and junior high. We are friends who always want the best for one another. That's important. I've known too many people who thrive on jealousy and mean-spirited gossip. Honestly, there are times when I've fostered those unflattering characteristics in myself, which is probably why I dislike them so much in others. But my friends forgive my unattractive moments. They know me well enough to behold my goodness even when my cruddy side shines bright.
So friends, thank you. Thank you for all of our good times together, and I look forward to many more.
Today's recipe is inspired by Neil Young's maple reference and by a recently obtained friend. We've never met, but last summer fellow food blogger Mrs. L sent me an amazing and generous array of treats during a Blogger Care Package Exchange. This week she posted a recipe for Balsamic-Glazed Short Ribs that has me thinking about simplicity and flavor. The BBQ-like sauce is great over pork chops, and it would be great with poultry as well. We paired our pork chops with salad dressed with maple, Dijon, balsamic, lemon juice, a generous glug of olive oil, and Penzey's Creamy Peppercorn seasoning.
Maple-Balsamic Bacon BBQ
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 strips bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
Whisk together over medium heat to simmer.
Makes enough sauce for 3 to 4 small pork chops or chicken pieces.