Thursday, September 4

Summer cooking

A couple of Saturday mornings ago I woke up smiling because I had just dreamed an original episode of The Office. Most of it was pretty hazy, but the final scene stood out in perfect clarity. In it, Jim and Pam got engaged. Apparently I am looking forward to the new season. After waking I thought it was a wonderful scene, but after trying to recap the dialogue to friends, I’ve come to the conclusion that the awesomeness was all due to the Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski and Rainn Wilson in my head and not the quality of writing. The actors delivered perfectly the warm, awkward humor I have come to love. The cameraman was also right on target, zooming in to capture everyone’s reactions to awkward moments. It was a bit unnerving to realize how much the pace of the show must have become second nature to me in order to have such an accurate and thorough dream. I’ve been watching Lost on dvd this summer, and I don’t want to start having Lost dreams.

The crinkly yellow leaves that are starting to fall on the front walk tell me that summer won’t last, so I’m trying to make the most of the long days and good produce. One night last week I stayed up past my bedtime in order to make kefta and zucchini kebabs, visit a friend, eat said kebabs and make blueberry crumb bars. A pink sunset was still in the sky at 8 o’clock that night. I love summer. I will be sad to see the zucchini and blueberries go.

These meatballs—I could eat them dipped in cool yogurt-mint sauce over and over. And I did, for lunch the next two days. Sometimes cooking for one is a good thing.

I took the blueberry crumb bars to a fish fry at my church, and they were CLEANED OUT. One man even scraped the dish when I came to take it home. I’ll definitely be making these again, because I don’t feel that I got my fair share.

Smitten Kitchen has served me well: I’ve also made huevos rancheros (easy and satisfying), couscous with roasted tomatoes (more time-consuming but delicious), pasta puttanesca (I thought of Violet, Klaus and Sunny while I washed up), dead simple slaw (a hit at growth group last night), and zucchini bread (more zucchini!). I also found I can grill eggplant on a George Foreman, and I have a pot full of healthy mint in the back yard, a first for me after many summers of failed attempts.

I try to remind myself of small victories like this because the yard itself is still putting up a fight. I’m working my way around the back perimeter, clearing out everything that doesn’t have a right to be there. It’s slow going, and the mosquitoes seem to be on the side of the invasive plants. No poison ivy outbreaks or West Nile yet, for which I’m thankful.

And because bullet points are so much easier than writing a real paragraph, here are some links to things I’ve enjoyed recently:
• Cheryl Kline gave a speech about writing, using the Harry Potter books as an example.
Pete Peterson and Andrew Peterson tell good stories well in The Rabbit Room.
Noisetrade has lots of great albums available for free download. I started with Waterdeep and Matthew Perryman Jones.