Posts Tagged ‘pasta’

Adultish:
Pumpkin & Chestnut Gnocchi
with Walnut Sage Sauce

The other day I was lying in bed, the cat curled up somewhere under the blankets beside me. It was around noon and I was working, laptop perched on my legs, coffee within reach, a whole, peeled kohlrabi I was eating like an apple lobbed into the side of my mouth. I was wearing my loose cotton overalls, ridiculous fuzzed socks that look like cat’s paws, my hair piled in a mess somewhere at the back of my head. I am a grownup, I thought. And I was filled with wonder at the thought.

A few mornings ago, between a high-intensity ab workout and a run through the park, I baked a cake. I took a nap with the cat. I ate the cake. I was the master of my destiny. By evening, I was slumped on the couch, talking about feelings and feeling about as mature as a pubescent teen clutching a stuffed animal and struggling with eye contact. Funny, how a day can go.

I think a lot about being a grownup and what counts as being one. Is it paying your own bills? Having a job? Owning a house? Or is it more the emotional work of remembering to call people on their birthdays without needing to be nagged, sending a bouquet of flowers to a sick friend, bringing someone a meal? Is it an age you reach, the moment you move into your own apartment, the minute you become a parent?

Is it an age you reach, the moment you move into your own apartment, the minute you become a parent?

Sometimes, when I confess these thoughts to friends, they look at me as if I’ve just said something very silly. “Of course you’re an adult,” they say. “Of course,” I say. “I know that.”

But most of the time, I feel neither adult nor not; I feel like I’m simply living my life, putting one day after the other, just doing the things. » Continue reading this post...

A Golden Roman Holiday

Pizza, Rome (Eat Me. Drink Me.)
Rome, Italy (Photo courtesy of Counter Service)

Our worst meal in Italy was also one of the best, if only because by the time we finished eating it, our bellies were so sore from laughing, we hardly noticed how sore they were from the rocklike bundle of pasta settling heavier than a sinking wreck. It was the last night Josh and I had together in Rome after a week in Tuscany, and we wanted to find something special for dinner. We’d started the evening off with an aperitivo, then wandered Rome’s warm, golden streets in the direction of this little place we’d read about tucked away off the beaten path. We meandered, wriggling through the tourists clustered in front of the Trevi Fountain, past the shop windows full of bottles of limoncello and multi-colored pasta, past pin-up priest calendars and aprons of David’s torso, through any small alley that caught our fancy, spurred onwards by sprays of pink bougainvillea over doorways and enticing archways of crumbling stone.

At 9:30 p.m., stomachs growling, we arrived at the restaurant to find it shuttered. Far from everything else, but not to be dismayed, we set back off on weary foot to another option we’d starred. It, too, was closed. By now, it was 10 p.m., and we were grumpy and frustrated and slightly delirious. We began to trudge back towards our hotel, resigned to stopping at the next open restaurant without a plastic menu board of pictures out front, when we passed a bright, cozy window framing a packed house, a large wood-fired oven, and blistered crusts of hot pizza. We took a table.

By now, it was 10 p.m., and we were grumpy and frustrated and slightly delirious.

The obvious rule that we did not follow – perhaps because of that hungry delirium – was to never order pasta at a pizza place. » Continue reading this post...

Thunder and Sweat

Dinner in Brooklyn (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

In Brooklyn, sweat. And rain. At first, just heat lightning flaring between clouds. Flashes wrinkling through the undulating branches of the tree against the window. Anette and I sit on the couch drinking red wine out of real wine glasses for once. The fan makes the sweat prickle on our skin. On the stove, eggplant simmers with cut tomatoes, garlic, onion, chorizo, basil, oregano. I am insane to have even lit the stove, to want more heat in the apartment without air conditioning. My shirt is damp and stuck to my skin, sweat mats my hair across my forehead, mascara dripping on my cheekbones. Still, I can’t help but hold my face over the steam and scoop up a bite of tomato and eggplant, soft with hints of wine, balsamic, and sugar.

This has been a long month. The stultifying heat of July reaches record highs, the heat smothers my brain. I don’t write. Instead I lie on the floor and watch Nip/Tuck, my laptop propped on my legs, drinking water to quench some insatiable thirst. My throat still dry. I make involved to do lists I can’t begin to address, call landlords, pay bills, paint my toenails. I lose myself in this heat.

I feel it here, I say, and sweep my hand across my collarbones. My stress, like a prolonged caress, an ache of inactivity, of stuff.

Let’s take a walk and buy another bottle of wine, Anette says. We hope the air is cooler outside. The sky flashes. It’s just heat lighting. It’s fine, it’s fine, my heart beats. I am so afraid of lighting. Outside the breeze is like a bigger fan, but the air is already wet. By the time we get to the edge of the building, thunder grumbles loudly, close. Just to the bodega on the corner, Anette says, but already I’m turning back, I can’t, I can’t, I reach for her hand to make her turn around with me, but I grope air. » Continue reading this post...

Broke Eating 101, a Blog Post for Cedric

Some things on hand (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Last night at work, I found myself talking about food. Again. This happens to me often, usually because I bring my own lunch and when someone asks me what it is, I can’t just say “pasta.” I have to say, “bowtie pasta with a sauce of crushed tomatoes, garlic, olives, capers, and onion topped with grated Sicilian black pepper cheese.” And then, invariably, we start talking about food, or I launch into some rhapsodous description of what I made for dinner last night. And, invariably, it’s the same few people who walk in on me, talking about food, again, and say, “Lyz! You’re always talking about food!” I mean, maybe. But I have other hobbies. Really, I do.

But last night, after going on a foodie spiel, I was asked by a co-worker my advice on cooking cheaply and healthily for yourself. He was taking notes. No one had ever taken notes. But, since there’s no better way to make yourself an expert than to just present yourself as one, I launched into an avalanche of advice. Really, I’m no expert (I lied, I’m sorry, forgive me), but I think I do manage to make delicious food for very little money.

And so, in the interest of sharing, here are some basic tenets on my approach to cooking and how I manage to live on mostly nothing.

The Kitchen’s Golden Rule Banish your fear. Fear is your worst enemy in the kitchen. You don’t need to measure things exactly, you don’t need to use parsley or caviar. Don’t be afraid to experiment and don’t be afraid to not follow a recipe exactly. If you don’t have an ingredient, substitute something else – it might sound strange, but it could be delicious. (See: the other day, I was making a mango milkshake, but was out of yogurt and used sour cream instead and ohmygoditwasamazing.)

Start With the Basics Some things are easier to make than others. » Continue reading this post...