11.45 am – 12.21 pm: Milk with Spanish honey — my dad is determined to find The Perfect Honey, so he has several kinds in the pantry. Also, pieces of baguette with Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Tomme Crayeuse and Brebis Ossau.
2.35 pm: Coke Zero (!) and quarter of an orange pepper that I’m supposed to be dicing for tabbouleh. The dog begs for a piece of the pepper’s spongy innards; it’s a favorite snack, along with cucumber peels.
3.18 – 4.14 pm: Light lunch of tabbouleh and oven-roasted Brussels sprouts.
10.15 pm – 1.03 am: Dinner at Babbo with Joann and Keith. We debate over whether we want the traditional or pasta tasting menus before deciding on pasta. Our meal consists of the following: black tagliatelle with parsnips and pancetta; “casunzei” with poppy seeds; garganelli with “funghi trifolati;” pyramid-shaped ravioli with pomodoro; papperdelle bolognese; cacciotta fritters with honey and thyme; and chocolate with shaved dried chilis. I swap my full plate for Keith’s empty one, much to Joann’s dismay. I can’t eat spicy food, even if it’s chocolate. For our last course, we each get a different dessert — Joann a pistachio and chocolate semifreddo, Keith a lavender honey spice cake with sweet potato gelato and me a Tyrolean carrot and poppyseed cake with an olive oil drizzle and orange gelato. I may be a little biased, I think mine is the best.
Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar, Pine Nuts + Parmesan
Makes three portions
2 ½ cups Brussels sprouts, cut in half lengthwise
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 425°. Toss the sprouts in a bowl with the vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper until well coated. Line a roasting pan with tin foil, then arrange the sprouts in a single layer across the bottom of the pan. Roast for twenty to thirty minutes, or until the sprouts brown.
While the sprouts are in the oven, toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, three to five minutes, stirring often.
Remove from the sprouts from the oven and transfer to a serving dish. Mix with pine nuts and Parmesan, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
42. I’m normally a nitpicky movie-watcher, but when the haze of sickness and Tylenol Cold clouds my judgment, I’m a film studio’s focus group’s dream. I’ll buy into whatever lame-o plot devices the filmmakers throw at me without question, which is probably why I laughed coughed so much during Land of the Lost, didn’t mind the irritating twin robots in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and made it all the way through G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra without scoffing.
43. If I’ve got a sore throat, I’ll intentionally choose things to eat and drink that will either soothe or scratch it on the way down. Examples include pizza/anything with melted cheese, toast with butter and strawberry jam, Coke Zero, shrimp-and-tofu stew from FuLoon and warm milk with honey.
44. Generally speaking, I’m happy to be a homebody — this goes out the window when I’m laid up on the sofa. I go absolutely nuts and crave getting out of the apartment, even if I’m too tired to do much more than flail helplessly under layers of blankets.
45. The whole time I was sick, the only thing I wanted was a puppy to warm my nauseous belly. I settled for a water bottle that leaked if I squeezed it.
*This is according to Keith and confirmed by Stephanie. I’ve never seen the TV specials.
A week ago I was sitting on a swing that overlooked a quiet salt-scented cove; I had a book in my lap and a beer in my hand. Today I’m sitting on my sofa, listening to the traffic rumbling by; my computer is warming my thighs and I’m drinking a Coke Zero.
What a difference a hundred and seventy miles makes.
Keith and I spent our week in Cushing reading, napping and making paseo to various ridiculously picturesque seaside towns like Belfast, Camden, Rockland, Rockport and Wiscasset — which happens to be home to two of the most perfect shops ever, Smitten and Rock Paper Scissors. A visit to either is worth the drive north alone. Unfortunately, neither store has a website, which could be considered good news for my wallet… though I’ve already mentioned to Keith that I might call Smitten and have them send me a few things, like a pair of their wonderful contoured-to-the-palm mugs.
While we had two fantastic meals out (at Francine in Camden and Primo in Rockland, more on those in later posts), I spend most of the vacation either curled up with a quilt or wrapped in my oversize wool sweater by the water, reading. I tore through seven and a half books last week, which may be something of a record for me. I’ll let you know what I read and my thoughts on those books in a bit. I just wanted to drop you a quick line to say, Hello, I missed you, let’s catch up.
*Photo from Cove’s Edge, where we stayed. We were too relaxed to take our own pictures.