Sunday, September 18, 2005

Gloomy Sunday morning

... which describes the weather, not the mood in these parts. I've loved this gray, drizzly weekend; it's given us a hint of fall, which is not entirely unwelcome, as well as an excuse to hole up at home. Yesterday morning we put the finishing touches on the bathroom -- installed a window shade, put together the metal shower caddy, moved storage containers into the closet and (finally) removed the boxes of toiletries from our bedroom.

We decided to have a couple friends over for dinner and to watch a movie (which turned out to be the 93rd viewing of Manhattan, with the heartbreakingly young Mariel Hemingway, the neurotic but not yet certifiably wacky Diane Keaton and a fierce, and also insanely young, Meryl Streep). The goal was to take advantage of this week's obscenely large farm share (they belong to the CSA as well), but I had trouble coming up with a meal that was suitably warm for the gloomy day while also using the peak-summer veggies (a half-pound of basil and five pounds of tomatoes, among many, many others). Eventually landed on ricotta gnocchi with a roasted tomato sauce, which is a little time-consuming but warm and hearty. (I added some pureed basil and garlic to the sauce, along with a little balsamic vinegar, and it was fabulous.)

The only problem was that we need ricotta, and I really didn't feel like going to the store, or getting in the car at all, for that matter. We had some other neighborhood errands to run, so decided to see if we could scare up some ricotta along the way. And wouldn't you know it -- the variety store in our neighborhood had a 32 oz. container of very good ricotta, which the guy even pronounced the way my Italian-American family says it (ri-GOT). This at a place where we usually buy Ben & Jerry's and beer... sometimes in the same order.

Afterwards, we strolled over to the crappy video store to return some movies Darren had rented, then ended up at our fabulous neighborhood bakery, where we procured a boule of sourdoughish bread, a bottle of red wine and a tasty apple spice cookie, which we ate on the walk home. We were very pleased with ourselves for doing all these errands on foot -- we've been making a real effort to drive less and, when we do get in the car, to think about combining errands -- and for living in a neighborhood where it's possible in the first place.

Now, Darren is making french toast with the left-over bread, and we've got some fancy maple syrup I'm dying to try (I bought it from the women who made it, from trees on their land in central Maine). This afternoon we're headed downtown to catch a movie from the embarrassment of riches currently available -- we're choosing among Broken Flowers, Grizzly Man, The 40 Year-Old Virgin (even if its title is punctuated improperly), The Constant Gardener and The Aristocrats. I've got a bit of work to do, and then there's the Sunday Times. Not a bad weekend by any measure.