Saturday, November 7, 2009

taking my time

(lots of headings about "time" lately, huh? hmmm, wonder why? Probably because I have plenty of it...)
Actually, the last three days have been pretty busy considering this is supposed to be time off. And all because I fell in love. His name is Walter, and he is a Chow Chow-Golden Retriever cross; yes, Walter is a dog, and I am head over heels. So much so, that since meeting him on Thursday, I have asked my landlords permission, gotten a negative, gave them one months notice, started apartment hunting, found two, and am waiting until noon tomorrow for the final verdict on mine (and potentially, hopefully, Walter's). I almost feel as if I am jinxing it by writing about it here, but I am just so darned excited. And tired.
You would think that catching up on sleep would be easy what with notoriously leisurely pace of retirement, but like I said, the last couple of days have been: wooosh. These are big changes I am making, so besides spending all day in the car here there and everywhere Kelowna, and countless sleepless hours on the internet scanning for dog-friendly non-hole-in-the-walls, I am a little, well, stressed. Heres why: no job, possibly no place to live, and possibly all for nothing if Walter gets adopted by some other home-owning folks. And then there is the am I being irrational nag, reminding me that again, I have no job at this point and am about to begin school, a nag that I want to kick in the ass because quite frankly, there isnt a better time, a time that I have more time, than now, to get a dog. For once I will have an actual, routine schedule, with time in the mornings and late afternoons onward for me and my pooch. There is nothing less stressful than spending my time doing that.
Tonight though, with all the sudden I feel like turning my world upside down business, I needed to spend time in my kitchen. Considering the original intentions of my little holiday here were to cook endlessly in my own home, I really havent at all. Did the leftovers thing, the pasta quickie, and last night, all intentions to make a vanilla roasted kabocha squash and parsnip soup ended with me on the couch with a plate full of vanilla roasted kabocha squash and parsnips, not even a fork for that one. This afternoon, however, with some final pre-decision visits and phone calls, I called it a day, not able to do anything more but wait (pensively) until tomorrow, at four o'clock, at which point I enjoyed my last two pumpkin muffins with a latte (perfect happy ending), went for a walk with the last of the fall daylight, then aproned myself for the kitchen. Tonight: carrot gnocchi.
Gnocchi is something I often play with. Having finally perfected it (you'll recall that triumph), I have ventured to try its other forms: ricotta gnudi, gnocchi verde, and now, carrot gnocchi (the familiar butternut squash variety was one of my disasterous first attempts: a big ol' gummy glob, rendered edible by copious amounts of sage brown-butter and parmesano). Starting at five thirty and not eating until nearly nine should tell you how slow going I was. I even weighed the carrots for my little half recipe--whole and sliced. I let the puree cool completely, busying myself with a glass of wine and some cookbooks to read, standing all the while by the stove. I meticulously shaped the readied gnocchi dough with two teaspoons into, oh dammit, what is that word, not quenelles...y'know, little pointed pillows (technical term, I swear), before gently boiling them. I prepared a strong vegetable stock with herbs and aromatics to finish them off. While they baked, I made a salad of persimmons, shaved fennel, and sunchokes. And three and a half hours later, I ate all of that, with some bread. Of, course, it all could have been done much more quickly, but I was immersing myself in only that, relaxing, enjoying the smells, standing on my feet as I am used to doing, not sitting in a car, and photographing most of the beautiful steps to dinner. Dinner itself was kind of disappointing, seriously lacking in carrot-ty flavour, but I enjoyed every minute, all two hundred and ten of them. And the pictures turned out quite nice. But I dont have time to post them now, since dinner took so long...

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