Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Summer in Stolen Minutes

For best effect of reading this piece, please click the song and let it begin playing while you read...

This past Sunday marked the end of free time. Everyone would return to school the next day. Two still needed hair cuts, I hadn't found the locker shelf and we kept forgetting to purchase a protractor, but otherwise, everyone knew we were ready. School would dictate the next nine months. Colleges would be picked, records made, grades that marked where one would go the next year, and show whether we had a blip last semester, or a problem we had to face. 

But we wanted one more plunge into the pool of possibilities, so my husband fired up the grill. The kids donned swim suits and we spent the day drinking coke from a bottle, eating ice cream on cones, and playing whiffle ball while dodging the teens armed with water pistols. No one worried about calories or sun screen or mosquitos. We willed ourselves through the day, with the stereo blasting the Eagles and Jimmy Buffett, eating fresh tomato salad.  I cut big slices of watermelon for everyone. 

When everyone showered and the last of the teeth were brushed, I found my husband testing out his father's day present for the first time. The hammock on a stand had become something of a joke, a thing we'd meant to get to, but never did. He'd been away that weekend visiting his own dad, the rings didn't fit and when we finally got the replacements, it just hadn't become a priority to set up. 

Now, laying under the fan on the screened deck, strands of favorite songs playing, the very air screamed, why have you waited? What kind of madness have you held onto that you could not want to just experience rest? And we lay there long beyond the normal dutiful "I'm testing it out" time, pulling into our hearts, the immeasurable gold of Summer, unplanned, unstructured, unintentional stillness.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Showcase Saturday

Because I now do book reviews (on occasion, reading one now), I'm creating Showcase Saturday. Today being the first day of this feature, I'm starting with a bang.  My cousin, Will Clark Green has a new video out for his CD Ringling Road title track and it's cool. Creepy, but cool.
If you don't know his earlier work, check out Rose Queen or Misunderstood.   Or better yet, see if you can catch him and his band in concert.  You can check out his schedule here.  It's a fun show.

 Go Will!

Next week, a book review. (It will help keep me on top of my stack of books to read).   

Friday, August 28, 2015

What's For Dinner?

Why?  Because it is frequently asked just after breakfast and I have a thing about not thinking about what I will be cooking next when I haven't finished cleaning from what I cooked just now.

But the undefeatable and hilarious Simcha Fisher has a Friday feature, "What's for Dinner?" and I thought, I ought to boast while the boasting's good.

Yesterday, I made my mother mad.  On purpose.   I called her to let her know, I had FIFTY-TWO home grown Roma tomatoes.   Not being able to eat FIFTY-TWO Roma tomatoes, even on a dare, even in Caprese Salad (Which I've lived on all summer), After I told her I didn't even use all the tomatoes I could have, she told me I was an evil daughter and I laughed my most evil daughter laugh.  We hung up on good terms.  I had tomatoes to boil.

Not a shot of mine, because I didn't have the presence of mind to take a shot before I began the carnage of cooking. 

I opted to make a home made sauce.

To make what I made for dinner last night, you will need:

A garden in the back, which your husband tends lovingly and you ignore, and which the critters that visit our property, don't destroy.  I've trained my children to run out and yell at the deer.  One time, they rushed the beasts with water guns, another time with one playing a trumpet.  It is very entertaining, and those animals now fear the utter random nature of mankind that dwells in this household.

FIFTY-TWO Roma Tomatoes.

A tall clean pot full of boiling water.
A slotted spoon.
A big bowl filled with ice and water.
A sauce pot
a wooden spoon
a working can opener. (Or one you can will to work by multiple attempts and finally prying it into compliance to get the one can of paste open).

Other ingredients:
Garlic press
olive oil.
red wine
tomato paste
bay leaf
one onion
two boxes of linguini
Kraft green tube of cheese --they get upset when you switch it up.

Patience for when you also need this:
one box of shells
one stick of butter
(For those who believe touching anything with tomatoes in it that isn't ketchup or on pizza, will cause them to mutate into something horrible like an adult).

Boil the water.
While the water's boiling, pulverize 2-5 garlic cloves, chop up the onion, the parsley, ignore the complains from the teenager about how parsley taste, threaten to put it in his sandwiches all school year if he continues to try and organize a child revolt against the green garnish.  Let the kiddos wash and tear apart the basil, mash the garlic, and the ever helpful thirteen year old saute the onion, herbs and garlic in olive oil until tender, at very very low heat.

Rinse and then core the top of the FIFTY-TWO Romas.  (I'll stop bragging soon I promise).
Immerse Romas in boiling water for two minutes.  The book says one, but I couldn't get the ice bath ready in one minute and it took a while to fish all those suckers out and into the ice water bowl.

After the tomatoes cool enough to touch, you squeeze the innards out into the pot with the garlic and the onion herb mixture.  It is an oddly satisfying experience, which separated the cooks from the critics in my household.  The chefs had fun.

Mash the tomatoes in the pot.  This takes time and aggression.  Teenagers are very good for this sort of thing.

Add a cup of wine (to the sauce, to the sauce, it's not yet five o'clock).
Put a new pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
Add the can of tomato paste.  I would have added two, but the aforementioned can opener is not feeling cooperative today. Is it five o'clock yet?

Let everything cook.
Have several come in, sniff the air, say it smells good, and then declare they don't eat red sauce.
Though they eat it on pizza, with fried cheese, and with meatballs.  

It's getting closer to five I think.....(I didn't, I saved it for dinner).
But, I have a rule about not fighting food battles if I don't have to.
So a second pot goes on the stove for plain buttered pasta with the promise of eating cucumbers and carrots first.

Five kids ate buttered pasta. I felt defeated.  When my husband returned with the cross country runner, the teen who works DQ and some french bread, four of the former nay-sayers came back for seconds and eight of the ten Antonetti's supped on homemade FIFTY-TWO Roma tomato sauce and linguine pasta.

We're using the leftover sauce today to make beef stew.   I think I may have to call my mom.


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