Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

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September Blues and One Bit of Glee

I was feeling so sad yesterday and I didn't really figure out why until the evening and seeing all the memorials and pictures people were posting about remembering on all the social media things.

Gradually coming to the realization that emotions don't always have to reasons, and it's just something that happens.  Feelings just come and go, and they aren't any particular kind of truth and they don't define me.  I feel sad, it's not that I am sad, which is a newish distinction for me to make and was made all the more obvious by the language used to deride each other in first person shooters.

It's interesting realizing that I learn more from the contrast.

John's now off on the road, having to leave early in order to actually meet up with us in California. With the extra day he'll have plenty of time to stop and hike and enjoy himself along the way, while we're touring a studio he'll probably be hiking in Reno. *laughs*  Jet, John and I are on a Whatsapp Chat and with all three of us separated it'll be interesting to see what pops up from all three perspectives.  It's an interesting way to stay current with each other.

It feels like fall already here, the nights are colder, though the days are still hot, in the mid-80's to 90's (26-32 C).  The dry summer has the trees dropping their leaves a little earlier than usual, and the pool is filled with floating debris.  Wind storms have blown through, rattling window sills, breaking branches, filling the air with leaves and bark, and slamming doors when we have the house open.  Jet said that his family couldn't open the house when the typhoon hit the other side of the island because the winds on theirs were so fierce.

The CSA has been giving us onions, potatoes, chilies, and huge bunches of basil that reduce to small blocks of pesto, deep deep green and fragrant.  I finally made a tomato sauce that I loved on angel hair, and it was so hard to get exactly right.  I know... most people just open a bottle and pour, and it's hard to make a good sauce from fresh garden tomatoes, it's usually too watery.  But I had a dish that was perfect in Las Vegas from Wolfgang Puck's restaurant there and have tried to recreate it since.  Also, this year, for the first time, I actually have one paste tomato plant, and I used the handful of ripe fruit it had (it goes later than my cherry tomatoes or the Early Girl plants) to make, finally, a plate of angel hair with tomato and basil that I truly loved.  John really liked it too.

10 Roma tomatoes of various sizes
2 cloves garlic
a roll of 12 leaves of basil, cut in chiffonade
pinch of salt
2 tsp Italian tube tomato paste
3 Tbs olive oil  (we only had extra virgin)
All the leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme
4 Nests of Angel Hair pasta (around eight ounces)

I peeled the Roma tomatoes (by sticking them in boiling water for 30 seconds, dumping them in cold and basically rubbing the skins off of them) and actually went to the trouble of pulling out the seeds and the jelly that surrounded them.  I rough chopped the tomatoes. I also peeled and finely minced the garlic. 

I first started the water for the pasta, a big pot with plenty of water for the nests to go in.  When it came to a boil, I started the sauce.

The olive oil went into a 10 inch skillet, and when it was shimmering, I added the garlic and let it sizzle just until it was fragrant (maybe 30 seconds), then I added HALF the basil for about the same amount of time.  And then in went the tomato paste until I couldn't stand it splattering any more (again about 30 second), and then all the chopped tomatoes went in along with a scattering of salt and the thyme.  I let it simmer until the tomatoes were starting to break down (about 10 minutes), and that's when I put the angel hair into the boiling water.

I tested the angel hair a minute into the cooking cycle, and then let it go another minute.  A reminder that I cook at altitude (5000 feet plus), so you sea level folks might take it out after the first minute, but it was where there was still an uncooked resistance in the center of the tiny noodle.  I immediately scooped all the angel hair into the sauce, and let it simmer in the pan for another minute, by which the noodle was cooked all the way through.  It doesn't really take much with angel hair.

It went onto plates, and the second half of the basil went on top as the finisher.  The fragrance of the fresh basil was perfect.

That made me happy.

It also makes me wonder if I could do something like it in the midst of winter with a block of pesto and canned Marzanos. It would be different, a winter thing, but it might still be good.

The Glee comes from the fact that over the weekend, I'd been super anxious about being able to get into a game with Carl for BigBadCon. For the last two years I haven't been able to get into one of his games, simply because they're so popular. The irony being that I've flown out to see him and I can't get into one of his games.  I finally got into one of his games this year, and it's one that I've really wanted to play with him running it, it's The Mountain Witch.  Better yet, Eric Lytle, whom I've loved playing with in the past, is also in the game with me.  I'm so pleased that every time I think about that, I am just happy again. *laughs*
Tags: bigbadcon, cooking, fall, gaming, recipe, travel

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