Friday, August 17, 2007

Another Non-Crazy Neighbor Post

I keep feeling as if I should have called my blog My Crazy Neighbor instead of Dolce & Nutella, although if my neighbor was sweet-tempered and crazy Dolce & Nutella would have still worked. Sort of. Given the overall craziness (literally) and busyness of the last several weeks, I would rather not discuss her for… oh, at least a day or two. My blog police have declared her boring, and insisted that I move on to things involving them, which they feel are much more interesting. Because little girls who pretend that they're part piranha and part alien are... interesting.

Today, if nothing else, was lovely in its normalcy. No calls to the police, or serenades involving the use of the words "whore" or "rhubarb" (no, I don't know why she got so fixated on the rhubarb). No allergic reactions to anything. The weather, in the way of many a Seattle summer day, teased with the possibility that it would become unpleasant at any moment, but stayed lovely. The kids had soccer. My son and I played for a while once he was done. I’m a terrible, terrible goalie (you know, the sort that ducks when the ball is going to hit them in the face, instead of stopping it with their face, as a true-blue goalie would), which makes it incredibly fun for him to shoot on me. What seven-year-old boy doesn’t adore a terrible goalie (that they’re shooting on)? We went to the market with my mom to get our peach fix from Sosio’s, and enjoyed the spectacle of some of the 100th anniversary festivities. Gelato was had from Bottega Italiana. Lollipops were handed out from the counter at DeLaurenti (which, although they are very nice and incredibly generous with samples, does not usually occur). Catching-up and peach acquisition was done at Sosio’s. And the whole time, I had newfound sympathy for salmon swimming upstream. It was great so many people turned out, but… oy. Did they have to be in my way?

We schlepped our booty home, and because I was cooking, I made what I’ve been longing for for ages: tabbouleh. I don’t know if I really made an authentic version or not. I would guess I did, since I followed the recipe in Arabesque (and Claudia Roden is very, very thorough and still really interesting, which makes her book an interesting read even if you're not cooking). Regardless of authenticity, I was, as usual with her tabbouleh recipe, pleased as could be.Less traditionally (maybe? I don't know), I served lamb chops grilled with garlic and mint*(and finished those with a lemon-y mojo de ajo) on top of it, partly to throw a bone to everyone else at the table, who didn’t look very thrilled when I said that what I’d really been longing for was a bulgur salad. Mmm. Bulgur. It could use a different name, because even I, who have been craving it, admit that the word “bulgur” doesn’t sound too appealing. Too close to “booger.”

I was pleased in an overly smug way because, for the tabbouleh and the lamb, I harvested some mint from my garden. I love using stuff from my garden, partly because it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling that I’ve grown it, and partly because I’m so happy that I remembered I had it at all. Epazote? In my garden. Ever used it? No. I forget I have it every single time I need it. The mint was pretty and blooming, and hasn’t yet taken over my back garden (that’s a big yet). I also picked some plums and shined them up a bit. I love the way the Italian plums look so dusty and lavender when on the branch, but can be polished to a fine, deep shine. Unfortunately, my boy was the one who discovered that although the first two I handed Curly and my dad were delicious, the rest were still not ripe. And the too sour! face was made. And… it was really funny.

*I should say that the children, although they joined us before being excused (and then removed themselves outside, to have a wrestling match that degenerated into dirty pool, ending with Curly head-butting my boy. In the face. After he kicked her!?!), and rejoined us for some enforced good behavior after their little “wrestling match” was summarily ended, did not eat lamb. Or tabbouleh. They're pretty good eaters, and I spent my share of time in Only Goldfish Purgatory, but I didn't really feel like pushing them on it tonight.

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