Have a Ghoulish Evening!

 

 

Here’s hoping your Halloween is as ghoulish as can be. Or not. You know – if that’s not your thing. Or whatever, y’all.

 

Happy Halloween!

Fall Back

 

 

This weekend marks the end of Daylight Savings Time. (Set your clocks back one hour late Saturday night/early Sunday morning.)

 

I, like a lot of folks, look forward to falling back and “gaining” an extra hour. It’s a ludicrous idea, of course, but I still see it that way. Always have. And if it hasn’t quite felt like Autumn around here, waking to utter darkness certainly will boost the feeling.

 

I happen to love Autumn. I happen to love sweaters and scarves. I also happen to love sleep. And this weekend I hope to savor every precious second of that gift of an extra hour. Hope you do, too.

D-Squared T-Squared – Week 43

 

 

 

This past weekend’s creative endeavor was pasta, in honor of World Pasta Day.

 

Mister and I decided to make a pumpkin-ricotta stuffing for ravioli and we got to rolling. And stuffing. And eventually – eating.

 

Here’s the straight dope: it was okay. The pasta could have been thinner. The ravioli could have been smaller. (The giant pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter we used was a bit too big.) Even the brown butter-sage-balsamico sauce could have been, well, something.

 

 

In the end, everything simply was what it was and that was that. It was a lot of effort for a so-so dinner. And the experience might have caused some to stick to store-bought. But we’re not giving up. We think we can make better pasta and we’ll keep at it. I mean, it’s food. And food can be marvelous, delicious art, right? Right.

Punkin Time

 

 

As I’m about to dust off this recipe and make a batch for Halloween, I thought I’d remind you to do the same. Dorie Greenspan’s Pumpkin Stuffed With Everything Good is something I look forward to all year. And now I don’t have to wait much longer. Dorie Greenspan – how do I love thee? Let me count the calories…

Orchid Baby!

 

 

I have a couple of orchids, given to me over the years. Each is a Phalaenopsis. I don’t know a lot about orchids and my main goal has always been just to keep the dang thangs alive.

 

Anyhoo, last week I stopped by one of the plants and noticed an odd sprout coming out of a stalk. After a quick interwebs search, I learned that my orchid – a Phalaenopsis – has sprouted a keiki. An Orchid Baby!

 

 

Apparently, I’m supposed to wait until the keiki (Hawaiian word for “baby”) has a few air roots before cutting it from the stalk and planting it in its own pot. I can do that. In the meantime I’m just so happy to have not killed the dang thang. And now it’s gonna be a mama! Nature’s a trip.

Halloween Is Coming…

 

 

I was out for a stroll the other morning and spotted this little arty guy in the street. You know what it means, don’t you? That’s right. Halloween is coming.

 

I hope you’re ready. Actually – I hope I’m ready.

World Pasta Day

 

 

Something or other is probably denoted on each day of the year as X Day or Y Day. To be perfectly honest, I don’t usually give a hoot about any of that. But today’s designation is something I can really sink my teeth into: World Pasta Day.

 

I think this began almost 2 decades ago, probably to encourage more global consumption of pasta. But I have to ask – do we really need to push pasta? Aren’t we all consuming more than our share? No? Just me?

 

I have lived most of my adult life thinking pasta was brought from Asia to Italy by Marco Polo, back in the 13th century. But I’ve recently read that pasta in Italy dates to Etruscan times, way before young Polo’s adventures. Believe it or not, this information has kind of thrown me for a loop. I mean, what else do I “know” that’s wrong?

 

My neurosis aside, I do love pasta and think that today I’ll get out the old pasta machine and make a fresh batch. Maybe I can enlist Mister’s help. Maybe we’ll even toast Marco Polo and the Etruscans. Yep. I’ll drink – and eat – to that.

Old

 

 

 

Recently I helped prepare dinner for women and children living in a transitional home in Los Angeles. These women come from every imaginable background, every imaginable circumstance. A particular group of volunteers – a group I’ve fallen in with – provide home-cooked food for this home once a month and it is greatly appreciated.

 

I had taken the food I’d prepared in a foil tray. In case there were leftovers, I wanted to be able to leave the food there without worrying about my dish. As the foil tray wasn’t the most sturdy, it was placed on one of my old cookie sheets – for support. I’ve had that cookie sheet over 25 years. It isn’t the prettiest kitchen goo-gaw, I admit. But it has supported far more than charitable goods through the years. It has held sweets and savories alike, and though it’s old and – I’ll just say it – ugly, it shows up when called upon.

 

Anyhoo – at the evening’s end, one of the volunteers turned to me and said, “You don’t want that cookie sheet back, do you?” I suppose she thought it was too pitiful to be of any future use. I think I must’ve looked at her like she’d sprouted an arm out of her neck. I said, “I absolutely do want that cookie sheet.” I picked it up and held it close, lest anyone think it was up for grabs. I was holding it close in the car, as we made our way back to our original meeting point. I kept it on the seat beside me as I drove home. Once there, I washed it and put it away – right next to the newer cookie sheets, where it waits until needed again.

 

I desperately wish I had some of Granny Vera’s old cooking gear. How I would love to think of her each time a particular skillet or chipped china cup might be pulled from a cabinet. But I have nothing from Granny’s kitchen. Aside from a few photos, I have nothing of Granny.

 

So my old gear will have to do. Lucky for me, it does quite well.

D-Squared T-Squared – Week 42

 

 

As Mister’s been neck-deep in a work project that’s keeping him at the office all the flippin’ time, I’ve been left to my own devices of late. Sure – that means all the “Call the Midwife” I can handle, but it also means creative endeavors are solo. So I’ve been working on some paintings.

 

What you see above is something in process. I feel a nice momentum going at this point and I sincerely hope to finish the bugger before year’s end. I am terribly slow, y’all. My painter buddies make fun of me and have teased me, saying I should look to 2015 to finish this one. But I’m feeling the groove. I think I can wrap it up. My fingers are crossed anyway.

 

And as for what it will be when it is finally finished, well, you’ll just have to wait and see…

Cruising With The Top Down

 

 

I was answering an email the other day and my response to the question of how I’m doing included these lines: “I’m doing well. I think. You know how life is. Sometimes you’re cruising with the top down, only to find out later your scalp is sunburned.”

 

After I wrote those words, I thought about them a while. I hate to admit it, but I think my response was apt. I mean, looking back I can see times when I’ve  had a perfectly lovely spell, only to have been pulled out of my happy place and tossed into joyless chaos – by something that shouldn’t have affected me so severely. What’s worse, I’ve allowed those sky-is-falling moments to negate any happiness I might have actually felt, before the crazies set in.

 

I’m not saying shit doesn’t hit the fan. It most assuredly does. (Makes me think of an old-timey ad: “Shit! Not just for the garden, it’s also for the fan!”) I guess the part I don’t like is when good stuff is smothered under the weight of bad stuff. When I don’t recognize happiness in the moment. That seems a shame, doesn’t it?

 

After I ruminated on my email response, I decided to enjoy the rest of the evening. I had a pile of ironing to do. And there was laundry, too. But there was also wine. And “Call The Midwife” on Netflix. It was a pretty good night. And I knew it.