Wednesday, January 12, 2011

SNOWDAY!

That's right. We actually got a snow day after this little blizzard. As of right now, it's not nearly as bad as the last storm, but the snow is supposed to continue later this afternoon. Sooooo, we shall see. I could really care less because I have an impromptu 2 days off WITH Dave. This. Is. Huge. not to mention a very rare treat. On the agenda: food, more food, coffee, tea, more food, books, music, and eventually some trash t.v., all with my best man. Ahhhhhhhh, joy.

Much has happened since we last chatted, blog friends. My incredible mother visited for New Year's. We had a fabulous time. Naturally, there was a lot of eating. For those of you who don't know, food is at the center of time spent with my family. The kitchen is where we all seem to end up. Throughout my life, this has been a constant theme. The kitchen in the home I grew up in was particularly conducive to large groups gathering for the purposes of gossip, grazing, or getting your hands dirty. Oh, I miss that place. So many great memories. My sister and I would park ourselves in the sitting area in the kitchen while my mom prepared dinner, helping as much as we could at ages 9 and 6, but mainly just sitting there, studying her and the joy and love that seemed to exude as she whipped up dinner for the family or maybe a pound cake to take over to Lauren and Tammy. As teenagers, Lauren and I sat on that loveseat re-hashing the events of the Homecoming Dance or what boy was in love with Lauren at the moment, while my mom gathered the makings of the perfect 'late night snack' from the fridge or pantry. Hilly would come downstairs and we would all sit in that kitchen for HOURS laughing, talking about anything and everything. And my mom was at the center of it all. I was never the typical teenage girl who had issues with my mother. We had our share of disagreements, but never that angsty-resentment best portrayed in a Disney-produced 'tween dramadie'. But maybe that's because my mother is awesome. She's a rock. Nurturing, giving, and compassionate to a fault, but tough as nails. She taught me most everything I know in the kitchen. She's one of the best cooks I know. To give you a funny example: I was the only 4th grader at East Elementary (that I knew of) who ever brought a balsamic-glazed grilled veggie sandwich with goat cheese as my lunch. To this day, just the thought of her marinated shrimp makes my knees buckle.

Ah, but I digress. What I'm trying to say is that it was only fitting for my mother and I to spend a solid portion of our time cooking and eating. Next to shopping, this is what we do best. We had a wonderful time. We went to the final performance of Radio City Christmas Spectacular and saw Thad belt out 'Joy to the World' for the last time this season. He graciously took Suse and myself on a backstage tour, where we were fortunate enough to meet Ted, the Camel. Ted's a real looker. Then we headed downtown to Gramercy, for a few glasses of Champagne and the incredible NYE tasting menu. The next day, we took Suse to Gramercy's Holiday Party, which is always over-the-top and a ton of fun! She was able to see me in the show twice. So so so happy that both my mommy AND my daddy have seen me in my NYC debut! I have been beyond fortunate to have two incredibly supportive parents who believe in my dreams as much as I do! Nansus and I (sorry, I have about 43 different names for my mother. Please note, this is her given name backwards) shopped til we dropped on one of my days off. Made homemade Sherried Tomato Bisque and grilled cheeses with Taleggio, spicy sopressata, arugula, and a roasted red pepper and eggplant spread. Also made this delicious, rustic, and SIMPLE pan roast that was to die for. AND SO SO EASY. Red onion, brussels sprouts, butternut squash (tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper, and about 7 smashed cloves of garlic). Spread those on a baking sheet and cover with boneless chicken thighs, marinated in greek yogurt with garlic, ginger, s&p, and Madras curry powder. Bake it all and viola. Finish with a little fresh lemon juice. SO GOOD. We served ours with some fresh naan and raita.

Since my mother's departure, I've been busy plugging away at the theatre. We had an appearance on Good Morning America last Friday. I finally got to watch the actually show that was DVR'd. They only put 1/4 of the actual segment on the website, so it was nice to see the entire thing.

Dave's doing great. He's still LOVING the job, and he's so good at it. Wes and I had our typical 'let's spend 3 hours in Barnes and Noble' date yesterday and decided that it was only fitting to have a late afternoon cocktail while we discussed our latest literary acquisitions. Naturally, we headed to Gramercy. It was Wes' first time at the restaurant, so Dave wouldn't let him leave without trying some of the food. They sent us the Warm Duck and Pear Salad (to die for) and the Pulled Pork Shoulder with grilled Sweet Potato and Greens in a Bacon Broth. Be still my heart...

Thad and I are celebrating his birthday over dinner on Friday. Can't wait! I'm currently racking my brain as to where we should go. If we weren't already eating so late due to my show, I would drag him out to Carrol Gardens to eat at Buttermilk Channel. Dave and I tried this increasingly popular new restaurant last week. It was so fantastic. A taste of home with an adorable name and fabulous cocktails. I think my favorite dish was the grilled house-cured bacon with prune jam. RIDICULOUS. RI. DI. CU. LOUS.

And now the thing I am looking forward to most: the Chris Thile and Punch Brothers show on Saturday. If you aren't aware of Chris Thile, his ridiculous mandolin skillz, and his amazing songwriting ability then shame on you. Some of you may remember him from Nickel Creek, but he's doing his own thing now with his new band, and his music is amazing. After years of saying, 'We will know him. We will be friends with him one day,' it has finally happened! Dave struck up a friendship with him via Gramercy and Chris has put us on 'the list' for the show on Sat. Gonna watch from the stage! ohhhhhh, yeaaaaaaaaah. The show is at one of my favorite venues too, The Bowery Ballroom, so I'm pumped and ready for a fun night out.

As for what I'm reading: Just Kids by Patti Smith. Not only is the book a candid report of her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe but it paints the picture of what New York was like in the late 60's/early 70's for these young artists. I'm geeking out over this book...