Tonight my darling husband designed and created dinner. He's been doing this so much more lately, and it's wonderful. It takes the stress off of the whole "what do you mean we have to eat dinner? We just cooked and ate dinner last night!" that inspired this whole blog. Maybe he's found his fun again in meal planning. Maybe he's just a sweet guy and this is the current way it's manifesting itself. Maybe he is trying to give me a break more. Maybe it's all my imagination, and he's doing what he's always done. Or maybe... maybe... maybe... he's just trying to get props written into this blog. :o)
He made a fantastic pasta dish with basil pesto, cream, sundried tomato, chicken and button mushrooms, all over this wonderfully chewy pasta, the name of which I have forgotten. Basically, it's like a thick spaghetti, but hollow in the middle. Very fun to eat, very filling. One minor problem was it didn't twirl well on the fork. Had he cooked it more, it would have, but then it wouldn't have been beautifully al dente. Why ruin food just so it twirls? The dish was fantastic! Crumbles of farmer cheese just set apart the flavors of the whole creaminess of the sauce with the freshness of the pesto, the earthy intensiveness of the sundried tomatoes and the tight, moistness of the mushrooms. My biggest complaint was that it was so filling, I couldn't possibly manage a second helping and so have to package it up for lunch. :o) Yummmmm.
I didn't used to like pesto, and it took me a while to realize why. I love basil (every year Adam and I plant an herb garden. The year before last, it was all kinds of basil. Last year it didn't get planted, because I was too hugely pregnant to feel much like digging in the dirt in the heat.) and Parmesan, oil and even pine nuts. So if I like all of the ingredients, what about it didn't taste right? No, it's the Golden Girls that did me in on pesto for many years.
Remember the oldest member of the Golden Girls, Sophia? Played by Estelle Getty, who was not nearly as old as she appeared on that show, Sophia was an immigrant from Sicily who told all these old world stories that always started the same way: "Picture it. Sicily. 1926." Her character was sassy and wise, irreverent and even bawdy. Often her stories were of someone who could've made it big if only, or who did make it big but somehow we just don't know their name. One of the stories that really stuck with me featured a neighbor in Sophia's village who made this wonderful ear salve that helped everyone, except some fool put it on his pasta instead and said it was great, but the guy should rename it. Linguine with ear salve didn't sell well, but linguine with pesto did. Ugh. Just thinking of that story gives me the heebie jeebies. I don't know why, since it's not like he had it on his ear first, but I don't know. Maybe it's the color? Vivid green and gritty... not appetizing when you mentally pair it with anything needing salve.
I have fond memories of the Golden Girls. I remember watching it with my mom as a kid. When I was single, it was on Lifetime at 11pm. I would often watch one episode (it was also on at 11:30) and then go to bed. It was like a ritual. In the weeks after my daughter was born, I discovered it was on at 9 in the morning. At the time, that was just after her first morning nap, and about the time she needed to be up and nursing. Early morning was tough for me, after my husband left for work and I was faced with my entire day taking care of this wonderful but baffling little life who depended on me for everything, and who hated to be put down. I was sleep deprived and scared and lonely and coping with hormone soup and the awesomeness of having birthed a new human and oh shit now they expect me to know how to care for her?! So the ladies of the Golden Girls helped. I would look forward to catching a few minutes with my "old friends," with predictable jokes I vaguely remembered and a can-do kind of girl power spirit, and it helped me establish a time flow to my day. After Golden Girls, we tried to get dressed and get out, or at least get downstairs for a change of pace. When I went back to work, I missed them. I started to TiVo it just to feel connected. After a while, I didn't need Blanche, Dorothy, Sophia and Rose the same way anymore. I turned off the timer. But I'm glad I had them there to help me through. Sometimes the least sensical things make the most sense.
Anyway, it took me some time to get over my pesto hang up, but I'm glad I did. Because dinner tonight rocked.