Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Negative Nancy Meets Debbie Downer...

I've been neglectful and for that I'm truly sorry - that is, if anyone actually reads this blog. No really, I haven't had any followers join since March and barely any comments. WTF? Even my own Mother hasn't read in months and I've seen Jared skim it at best.

I can't say I blame them. I suppose my participation has dwindled as well. Don't get me wrong, I'm still cooking but the GDL recipes are few and far between. When I started this project I had a lot of time to myself to prep, cook, eat, ponder and write frequent and witty entries. I'm trying to commit to one Everyday Italian recipe a week but then also finding the time to write hasn't been easy.

Part of that is due to the fact that I'm enjoying my life with Jared in Richmond - that's a happy reason at least. But the other part is due to utter exhaustion. I’m recalling an entry from January in which I describe a miserable day at work during ad close. That’s when I worked for a publishing company that produced monthly and quarterly magazines.

Cut to Julie working for a major metropolitan daily newspaper. Yeah, it’s ad close everyday. And on top of that, I work with preprints (those circulars and coupon books that spill out of your paper on Sundays) and we’re approaching Thanksgiving – the largest preprint day of the year – when every advertiser comes out of the woodwork with a 60 page Black Friday/Holiday insert in every newspaper in every zip code.

So lately, I’m a little on edge. A little frustrated with a tedious workload. A little tired of the people I work with. A little drained. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Everyone has bad workweeks and these are mine.

So forgive me if I’m not regaling my dozens (if that) of readers with tales of perfect homemade pastas or sauces gone wrong and I can’t say I’m very optimistic about getting through the entire Everyday Italian cookbook before the end of the year (the original intention of the blog) but for now I’ll leave you with this…

Last Sunday I made GDL’s Classic Italian Lasagna. It was delicious. End of story. Julie’s sleepy. Goodnight.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fabulous Fall Weekend...

I get excited about fall like a pre-teen backstage at a Justin Bieber concert. Like a wino at a vineyard. Like a cop at a doughnut factory. Like a shop-a-holic at a sample sale. Like a... have I made my point? I love everything about fall. And I especially love relaxing weekends spent cooking and baking up the flavors of the season.

With five cans of pumpkin puree in my pantry I got to work on my Great Pumpkin Feast. GDL's Pumpkin Ravioli called for toasted hazelnuts and a butter sage sauce. Simple and delicious. Poured over pumpkin or squash ravioli it was a spicy decadent dinner. That was it for Everyday Italian though.

Next, I pulled out my crockpot for my Curried Pumpkin Soup. It's thick and creamy and quick to assemble. There's something so comforting about lying around the house with a cool fall breeze coming through the window and the smell of a soup or stew permeating the house. If the Pats were playing it could have been any number of fall weekends at my parents’ house. But in Virginia, Jared and I read and walked to lunch and dozed on the couch and it was fabulous.

Finally, dessert was in order. Another fall tradition of mine started with my roommates in college. Every October and for the last five years, we would get together at the Jones Family Farm in Shelton, Connecticut for pumpkin picking, cider and big, flat, chewy pumpkin cranberry cookies. The recipe can be found on their website While they still tasted delicious and were fairly easy to make, mine weren't quite so flat. More scone-like which was fine by me. One bite and I was back on the farm watching kids get their faces painted and dad's carrying as many pumpkins as possible through the cashiers line and laughing with my roommates like 13-year old boys at the unusually shaped gourds.

Not being able to get up to Connecticut or home to Boston this fall kills me but my Great Pumpkin Feast gave me a taste of New England here in Virginia.