OK, y'all know I've been on a major cooking and entertaining jag all summer and into the autumn. It is a revival of a long-time interest. As a boy I hung out in my mother's kitchen. During my college years I worked summers as a dishwasher and cook's helper. While in college I also occasionally served as a waiter when we had formal dinners. I used to bake a lot in my junior and senior years. Bill and I both love to cook and we enjoyed entertaining.
When I became single again I retreated from the world, big time. I needed to on many levels; it was more than depression. I needed to find myself again and moving to New Mexico was a way to go into the desert and be alone with myself (and my demons and angels). Each year I feel more myself. And I am cooking again, feeding people, trying to give people an experience similar to going to a nice restaurant.
Yes, I have indulged mightily in retail therapy, buying multiple sets of dishes, linens, new flatware, and some cooking equipment. This is also an investment in my future. I certainly hope to throw dinner parties when I retire somewhere down the road.
Saturday I assembled some shelving and put it in the hall closet, which has been grossly underused. Heavier cooking equipment, the silver chest, the cake and pie tins, spare glassware (extra red wines and champagne flutes) have all moved there. They are accessible but out of the way. This has freed space in the pantries (yes, I have two of them) and I am reorganizing those so things are where I can find them. Counters are more organized and usable. I have been cleaning a lot of stuff that had been hidden away.
I also baked some plain rustic bread and a lemon-ricotta cake, the latter for a potluck. I had the idea last week of making ginger-pear gelato, so I improvised and did that. Sunday I was looking at some red lentils that have languished in a corner of the kitchen for way too long. They joined some orzo, beef broth, a shallot, a carrot, some celery, and spices to become a stew for Sunday dinner. The photos and much of this commentary have already appeared on Facebook, but here they are for my blog friends.
Red lentil and orzo stew with a mountain of parmigiano reggiano and some home-made bread.
Lemon-ricotta cake and the ginger-pear gelato that I have named "Gelato Lindy" for my dear online friend now in China.
Once I get the pantry reorg done, I will set the table for next Saturday's meal. If I remember to take photos, you will see that after it happens.