you were beautiful then

chris douridas has done it again. as i am hunched over in my ikea chair on this fine friday night, slamming together some lesson plans for monday, i’ve got last weekend’s broadcast of his show streaming through my little earbuds. and the song this time? junebug by robert francis.

from the opening notes and the low thump-thump (is that a kick drum? i love it.), and the way he pronounced “blue-carpeted” – i got the hook. i was a little wary when he started in on his high, strangely sweet ooh-oohing at first… but by now i’m quite stuck on them.

i think the song is on an album that’s a new release, so there’s nothing on youtube i can plug in here at the moment. and i gather from his myspace that i’m a couple weeks late in snagging a free download of the song on itunes. but if you’d like to be neurotic like me, you can find the october 24 show, open up kcrw’s music player, and click to the 24:17 mark to hear the song. i know this, of course, because i have been sitting here seeking back to that point over and over through the night.

[update: the song’s up on his myspace now.  bam bam.]

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one more

i celebrated my birthday last weekend: 25. hefty, solid. square-rootable.

someone made me a cake:

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which still makes me smile.

(those little pearls remind me of the silver dragées that i loved to pick off iced christmas cookies and eat as a kid.) (and that apparently really are illegal in california.)

right now is probably the most my age i’ve ever felt (at least out of all the years i’ve had the presence of mind to reflect on things like that). because, snooty as it sounds, i’ve always felt older than my years. i remember a conversation back in college: “i feel about 34 on the inside,” i said. “really?” he said. “because i feel like i’m still 14.” well, that explained a lot.

it’s the way i grew up, i’m pretty sure of it. it fostered early versions of all sorts of things i’ve come to be grateful for: an independent spirit and a certain maturity and self-awareness, sure – but also the burden of oneself, heavy as lead.

but finally, somewhat recently, that’s started to feel about right. my friends, my generation, we’re coming upon this together now, i think. life is our own, for better or worse. it’s time to take it up. sign on for grad school if you must, but otherwise we need to get going, because the afterburn is gone.

this song pretty much gets it down, i think. (and hey, now there’s a movie tie-in: even better.)


these days life travels in violent spikes. friends, career, love, sanity: pick two. drop the rest. then give things a juggle in a few months. i don’t know anybody my age that has all spots pulsing and thriving, or if they do, i hate them and pretend they don’t exist. (see what i was saying earlier about that maturity?)

it’s quite possible that all this that i’m emo-ing about is simply what they call… life. and this will persist forever and ever, amen. but hey there, little thought: shoo, shoo. this is enough for now.

.

i think that’s why last weekend was such flat-out fun. i was able to put a bookend on everything (ie, tell all the stuff in my head to shut up for a sec) and just go play.

in addition to the cake, someone else brought a small army of pumpkins to carve, and we spent the night tracing out designs and sawing out pieces til our hands were covered in pumpkin shreds and pulp.

we lined up our finished works on the concrete wall outside my little house, shut down the lights for a little while, and marveled like it was the most fantastic thing.

because it kind of was.

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linguine & company

i think there should be a cuisine called “classy comfort.” is there already? [update: google that, and you’ll be led to a frightening website for adult diapers.] i don’t mean the kind of thing where you take a comfort food staple like mac ’n’ cheese and upgrade it with truffle oil and whatnot. i mean the opposite, where a seemingly elegant dish somehow tastes like home. kind of like this one that i had posted about earlier.

well, in any case, i’ve found another contender: linguine with gorgonzola, potatoes, green beans, and sage. what makes it seem fancy? it has a long name, for one. and also the fact that it’s meatless (except that i made it with some diced pancetta thrown in, oops) and that it calls for “gorgonzola dolce.” i couldn’t find any at trader joe’s, by the way, which to me basically means it must be nonexistent. so i responded accordingly: tossed some regular blue cheese into my basket and adjusted the amount of butter when i got home to cook, as recommended by the recipe. still tasted damn fantastic.

you know what else is neat about this recipe? it has linguine and potatoes. maybe you think the pairing would be strange, but when i read that in the recipe title i got starry-eyed. two starches, together at last. double-carb time. and it’s a lovely thing, really. the pasta is al dente and forktwirl-worthy, and the soft chunks of potato absorb and exude beautiful flavors from the sage and butter and blue cheese.

it was so satisfying to cook, too: you lift the noodles and potatoes steaming out of the pot, and then let them settle down with the cheese, butter, and sage. stir, stir, stir, and a sauce comes together as everything melts. it reminds me a lot of this recipe for spaghetti with spinach, goat cheese, and sweet little tomatoes. they’re both good weeknight quickie meals: a summery version and this cold-weather one, which was just about perfect this week, as our season’s first storm set in.


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Linguine with Gorgonzola, Potatoes, Green Beans, and Sage
adapted from Sunset, October 2007
Serves 6

2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (I couldn’t find any at the store that weren’t green, so I just used three white potatoes, each about palm-sized)
1 tablespoon salt
1 pound linguine
6 fresh sage leaves
6 ounces blue cheese
4 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bag (10 oz.) frozen cut green beans

Peel potatoes and cut into 3/4-in. pieces. Put in a large pot, add 2 qt. water, cover, and bring to a boil. Add salt and linguine. Stir, cover, and return to a vigorous boil. Uncover and cook until linguine is tender to the bite, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop sage leaves. In a large serving bowl, mash cheese, butter, sage, and pepper together. Set aside.

Add green beans to pot, and bring back to a boil. Cook briefly, just until green beans are crisp-tender. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water and set aside. Drain pasta and vegetables, shaking off as much water as possible. Pour pasta and vegetables on top of cheese-butter mixture. Toss to combine until cheese melts and coats pasta. If resulting sauce is too thick, add reserved pasta water, 1 tbsp. at a time. Serve hot, garnished with additional sage or pepper if you like.

first rain

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talks me down

sings me to sleep

produce to the people

this is the kind of thing i love to hear about. good intentions, a great idea, and a bunch of friends to help you get it going.


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new goodies

my golly, this saturday has been delicious. i hopped out of the house early(ish) to catch a morning ballet class, finally loosening up all those old-lady knots i’ve collected from a month of no exercise and lots of sitting. i stopped by trader joe’s on my way home to pick up all sorts of happy things, some of which came together later to make a happy dinner. i indulged in some supreme couchmallow behavior, catching up on the tv shows i’d missed. and – what always makes one day grander than the rest – i heard some great new music.

if i were one to throw a party (and not the kind where guests sit quietly down to dinner and converse with each other; the other kind), i’d totally stick this on the night’s playlist:


(kind of a weird video, right? but it’s got nothing on this one.)

and i heard a little gem on kcrw this afternoon. it’s a song called “broken headlights” by joey ryan. the way he sings reminds me of bright eyes/conor oberst, except the pain in his voice is a little easier on the ears. i’m always a sucker for a pained singer-songwriter with an acoustic guitar in his hands… and chris douridas can always be counted on to slip a song into his set that tugs me on the sleeve and makes me listen up. and then google the lyrics to track down the song. and then come up empty. and then wait for the broadcast to go up on the station’s website so i can open up their music player and seek to the exact moment where the song gets played and then finally replay it to my heart’s content. [update: found the song at 01:01:30 in the october 3 show. will it sound awesome to you after i’ve talked about it this much? maybe not.] [update update: the song’s now up on his myspace. chris douridas, you make things move. love it.]

it’s how i found this song at first:



and look, now there’s this whole “official video”! (also a little quirky, but hey i guess that’s the thing these days. i don’t mind.) (if the song isn’t doing it for you melody-wise, try the second half. that’s the best bit, i think. i can go floating around in that part.)

so i will just be patient then. is your weekend being delicious?