About Me

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Five years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

First Dinner Guest at the Duplex

Here is my oh so shabby chic coffee table, with the glass top I had made for it a few years back, but without the taupe and rose damask runner that normally goes between the table and the glass. The big bowl is something that I picked up at Big Lots for three or four dollars. I have another just like it. Perfect for ginormous bowls of pasta, or floating candles at a dinner party, or corralling multiple bottles of vitamins and herbs. The other one is slight cracked [not unlike its owner] so doesn’t get trotted out for food duty. They go perfectly with some bowls that I bought at Pier One about ten years ago: same hand-painted border but with an additional heart border. Only four of those bowls survive, and I wash them carefully.

I brought out the good silverware. And yes, those are plastic cups that you see; I still have no idea which box contains my good stemware. The white ramekins hold grape tomatoes, sliced in half, because I only had seven of them. The little heart-shaped bowls hold our brownies for dessert; I bought those bowls when Brother Sushi said to me several years ago, “Garden Ridge is having a special on something I think you might like, and I have never gone shopping there. Want to go exploring with me?”

I didn’t care for most of the Red Hat dishes that were on sale, which were what had prompted him to call, though I did buy a package of four napkin rings. But I brought home twelve earthenware bowls shaped like poppies, and twelve of these small hearts, to go with the Waverly plates I had just bought on close-out at Target for $10. [Yes, Waverly plates at less than a dollar apiece. I know!] Suffice it to say that even with Garden Ridge prices, what I spent on the big bowls and the small ones more than canceled out any savings on the plates which inspired their purchase.

And that was before I started buying the gold-leafed chargers at Pier One, one or two a month until I had service for twelve. Obscenely expensive in this woman’s book, but they sure do dress up a table.

Brother Sushi brought the pasta he had picked up at the Farmers Market in Dallas. Also his chunk of parmegiano-reggiano and grater, because I told him I’m not buying more of the good stuff until I use the last bit of the cheap stuff that’s in my fridge. The pasta came bundled in red and white checked gift paper. Yes, I should have photographed it first, before cooking it and tossing the paper into the recycling. But we were starving, and that took precedence.

When I got home from work last night, I put the big pot on to simmer and dug out my cast iron skillet. Heated some extra-virgin olive oil and a couple tablespoons of butter in it, tossed in my red pepper [which was just past its prime, so it wouldn’t cooperate with the mandoline; I had to cut it up old school] and some bottled minced garlic and mooshed that around for awhile, then added two of my previously cooked chicken breasts and the tiniest pinch of cinnamon. I toyed with the idea of a splash of lemon juice, but lemon is not his favorite and it is one of mine, and I was afraid I’d overdo it and spoil the sauce.

I didn’t even time the pasta, just gave it a stir and cut off a piece to taste it and then gave it another minute or so.

Food review: this is pasta like Neiman Marcus is a department store. Nutty, earthy, herbal, all sorts of subtle things going on. Just amazing. Here is a link to Pappardelle’s website. We had the tomato basil fettucine. I would like to try their sweet potato pappardelle; they suggest topping it with browned butter, a bit of brown sugar, and caramelized walnuts. I would substitute pecans, of course.

Mr. DeMille, our dinner is ready for its close-up!

And after a few bites he said that it might do with a splash of lemon after all. Mmm, so good!

In knitting news, I have about two inches worked on the first sleeve, and I’m rather pleased. I used my split-ring markers to mark the first row on each side of the shoulder seam and then every fourth row until I was halfway down the sides.

I figured that picking up three stitches per four rows would give me a grist that I liked, and I guessed right. I picked up a total of 80 stitches, 40 on each side of the shoulder seam, because the pattern is a multiple of six stitches plus two.

Here is a closer look. I worked three rows of seed stitch, to echo the six rows at the hem, because I wanted a firmer foundation for the sleeves than just plunging into the pattern would have given me. Plus, I didn’t want the picked-up edge to be visible through the first row of yarnovers. I plan on finishing the sleeves, however long they end up, with six rows of seed stitch before binding off.

Time to turn on my phone, because Best Friend is coming over later today. I also need to catch up my laundry. Not to mention wash up the dishes from last night.

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