Friday, October 26

Brown paper packages tied up with string

Here are some things I've been enjoying lately.

Couscous and feta stuffed peppers. I made these Wednesday night. If I hadn't forgotten the salt they would have been smashing. This recipe is definitely worth making again, very colorful and healthy and comfort-foody. Tonight I'm planning to attempt pumpkin bread pudding. My mouth starts watering as I type those three words. Pumpkin. Bread. Pudding.

Martha Stewart and Carole King. How much awesomeness can you fit in one room? These two women shaped who I am today. My Sunday School teacher gave me my first Martha Stewart Living subscription when I was 14, and my life has never been the same (see couscous and feta stuffed peppers above for evidence). My best friend Paula and I used to listen to Tapestry together on vinyl when we were teenagers. I was intrigued by the fact that her hair was frizzy---and somehow that was okay.

The Office is back to half-hour episodes, which I think are stronger than the hour-long ones. I loved Daryl's song and Michael's commercial last night.

Atonement by Ian McEwan. A really absorbing novel that is so carefully paced. I could hardly stand the understated suspense of waiting for the story to unfold. The story begins in England in 1935 and moves on to Dunkirk in World War II. I won't tell you too much more because you'll enjoy it more the less you know about what is going to happen. The movie trailer looks promising too, and it's getting good reviews.

In the Wee Small Hours by Frank Sinatra. It was this review in The Wall Street Journal that prompted me to put this album on my wish list a while ago. When a lot of my friends got engaged and my roommate moved away, I thought, "Well, if I'm going to be sad and lonely this winter I'd better have some good music for it." And oh, boy IS IT! This album is the closest thing to perfection I've heard in a long time. I don't profess to be knowledgeable about Sinatra or music from this era (1955), but I can tell you what I hear: He embodies these songs written by others so thoroughly that you're sure he's lived it all and can tell you from experience. The melancholy is so beautifully balanced, never overwhelming. He delivers a silly line like " You had what I lack, myself / Now I even have to scratch my back myself" with so much pathos, that I give a quick smile followed by a sigh. He's so alone, and it's so beautiful! Listen to this at night in a quiet room on good speakers.


wendell said...

I love your blog.

And honestly, even if I didn't know you, I still think I'd love your blog.


Sarah Jo said...

I love your blog too and I don't know you half as well as wendell :-) [not that its a competition how unwell anyone knows you...sorry, i'm trying to stay focused here... There isn't anyone in this present geographical location(except an occasional rendevous with Bassetts) that I could ask - what good books have you read lately? any musical suggestions? and receive an answer, and a good one at that.

Micah said...

Echoing all others, I too have my day considerably brightened when you post. I am also feeling your pain on the roommate front, as mine is marrying and moving out this week (the fourth in an ever-growing string of marital bliss).

I had a pumpkin bread pudding on my first ever dessert menu; it was from dear Saint Martha, and it involved making your own pumpkin challah (with pumpkins that you grew, roasted, and pureed yourself, I'm sure), then putting the challah pumpkin bread into a semi-normal bread pudding with golden raisins. Right now I;m enamored with the combinations of pumpkin, brown butter (or beurre noisette, casuse it's more fun to say) and bacon. Sometimes in pasta, occasionally in cookies.

Paula La said...

I found a great pumpkin muffin recipe in the "JOY." It was buttery and yummy with only a small requirement of actual butter. Browned butter is the bomb--I first discovered it when making a recipe featured on Martha's show--Macaroni and cheese with a butternut squash base. I actually caught the Martha/Carole King episode--it was so wonderful!!! Not only is Carole King amazing, but her songs are truly playable. Too bad she's liberal, but liberals are good for many things, including revitalizing decreipt downtown areas. I've been longing for a good listen to Tapestry (on LP--it just sounds better on a record) and hopefully I'll be able to find a record player soon! If my house ever gets done, I want to host a girl's brunch, but before that you must come out and advise and see my slipcover. We apparently need to get together because this comment is way too long and I have lots more to say! Good post.