Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Winter Greens & Pancetta Pasta and a Long Time Coming

I have to back up to Saturday for the beginning of this story. The day started with a brisk walk in the neighborhood. It was a balmy, sunny April-like morning – no need for gloves or hats or scarves. In fact one neighbor was actually raking his lawn. You, who live in sunny climates might not think that’s so unusual, but around here February is usually bitterly cold and definitely winter. So we were quite ecstatic. Then we headed off for breakfast at our favorite family restaurant. It’s called Leonard’s Family Restaurant, but we call it Effie’s because we love our waitress. She’s a Greek version of my stepmother – can’t do enough for us and always remembers what we like. My “uzzul” is poached eggs with Canadian or back bacon and toast.

Then it was off to do errands which naturally included grocery shopping and while I was in line I noticed two new editions of my favorite magazines – Delicious and Donna Hay – Issue 22. Delicious has the most wonderful cover – kebabs of shrimp and steak and transported me immediately to the sunny islands of the Mediterranean. It seemed perfect for the warm sunny weather and a great opportunity to use the BBQ. So while my honey was waiting in line, I ran over and got some shrimp and sirloin – now I was ready for an amazing dinner. But then….

More errands, and by now there was a bitter wind and I was wishing I hadn’t left my gloves, hat and scarf at home. By the time we headed back to the car it was raining – that bone chilling, numbing kind of rain of late winter. I was chilled to the bone and rethinking dinner. Donna Hay had an herb and three cheese penne that sounded like the perfect winter comfort food. But then….

I was feeling crummy – like the start of a cold coming on – all headachy and sluggish and zero energy for cooking. Fortunately there was chicken soup in the freezer

It didn’t look quite this festive, but it did remind me of my mom and her mom and being a kid with someone else fussing over me. So supper was soup and toast and tea with honey.

Sunday, I made my mom’s famous fried chicken recipe to test and photo for the cookbook. I don’t make this very often, not because it’s fried (because it’s only fried for a couple of minutes on each side to get that golden crispy look and then it’s baked for an hour, sitting on a rack suspended over a lipped baking sheet to let the excess oil drain off). But because it’s always been a favorite and when people know I’m making it, they want in on the experience. So I invited my usual guinea pigs – er, I mean fabulous tasters and cooked up two chickens worth, served with mashed potatoes and corn niblets – because that was the tradition growing up. Only my cousin made it over in the end, my sister wasn’t feeling well, so I sent her home a care package of chicken soup and fried chicken.

So, finally, it was Monday, and I could get back to my second plan (Donna Hay’s pasta because winter is back with a vengeance. So I whipped up her Winter Greens and Pancetta Fettuccini (naturally I made a couple of alterations). It was delicious, but while I was in the middle of eating, I realized I made the WRONG pasta dish…I really meant to make the Herb & Three Cheese Penne….oh well, guess we’ll have that later in the week. Tonight my honey is still expecting the shrimp & steak dish.


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1 comment:

Ivonne said...

Glad to see you back posting! That fried chicken looks incredible!