Family


I’ve tried to avoid the lame round-ups lately, but things have gotten quite busy, so…

Eating: We went to a seder the other night with our friend Seth’s (the one who gave us the Fergus Henderson book) family. The food–huge amounts of chopped chicken liver, pickled herring, salmon, matzo ball soup, brisket, chicken, potato kugel, etc.–was fantastic and I was so full that I actually had trouble walking. Then last night we went to another dinner party with a much more spa-like menu of swordfish steaks, couscous, and mango salsa, finished with apple pie. As a result of all this, the running program has been stepped up a bit.

Reading: It’s allll work right now, and none of it very interesting.

Family: It’s crunch time, as I get the work projects out of the way to get ready for my brother’s visit later this week and early next. There will be some Watching during this time, as we take in a few screenings of the Tribeca Film Festival.

Listening: For the past week I’ve been obsessed with In a Cave, the new album from Elf Power, whom we saw perform a few weeks ago. I’m also wearing out Me and You, Snowglobe’s recent-ish compilation of odds and ends. Those guys have a *lot* of time on their hands, I think. Both of these treats are on vinyl, which has the added benefit of getting me up every 30 minutes or so to flip the record over. Otherwise I’d be permanently glued to my seat.

Watching: We’re making our way through No Direction Home, which has been rewarding so far. As Will has remarked, Dylan is remarkably straightforward in the interviews, which is probably a sign of respect for Scorcese, whom Dylan surely regards as a fellow wacko-genius. I’m sad to have missed the return of Desperate Housewives last night due to dinner party, but nothing will keep me away from the new episode of Gossip Girl tonight. Nothing!

Pear-cranberry filling

Earlier this afternoon, we returned from Princeton, where we were visiting Will’s parents. They’re heading out of town tomorrow, so, as they often do, they emptied the contents of their fridge into our car as we were leaving. Among the items were four extremely ripe, bruised pears. When we got home, I figured we wouldn’t get around to eating them before they turned to complete mush, so I decided to make a whatever-we-have-on-had pear crumble (it’s windy and pouring rain outside, so I was unwilling even to walk the 2 blocks to pick anything up at the grocery). This is what I came up with, loosely based on a recipe I found on Epicurious:

Filling (mix all together in a medium bowl):
4 overripe pears, peeled and chopped
1/2 can of whole-berry cranberry sauce (fresh or frozen would also be nice, but canned was what was on hand from an earlier Georgantas cupboard-dump)
1/4 cup sugar
generous dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove

Topping:
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rolled oats (okay, I used Uncle Bob’s Multigrain Hot Cereal–what was on hand–but oats would likely be the better choice here)
dash of salt
1/2 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into little pieces

Combine dry ingredients and then cut in butter with a pastry blender until it looks like cornmeal; I also tossed in some chopped walnuts that I was tired of looking at. Dump pear mixture into a buttered 8 x 8 baking dish and sprinkle topping over it. Bake at 350 for about an hour. Delicious! I need to do cupboard-cleaning cooking more often…

After our big Monday night on the water, we had a quiet Tuesday evening, followed by a gorgeous night on the town with Will’s father. Aristides has long kept season tickets with the Metropolitan Opera, so we met up with him last Wednesday to see Le Nozze di Figaro. First we had a preshow dinner (and dessert at intermission) at the lovely¬† Grand Tier Restaurant overlooking Lincoln Center’s famous plaza. We made it to our seats by the third bell, and the seats? Second row from the orchestra, just to the left of the conductor; we were close enough for it to feel like a private performance. The sets, costumes, acting, singing were spectacular, all the more so because everyone seemed to be having such fun (Will remarked on how nice it was to see an opera in which nobody dies). It’s nice when virtuosity doesn’t have to be so deadly serious. And after we left we were treated to more Mozart on the subway platform by a surly flute player who would take breaks to ask for donations to “make it worth his while” (who asked him to be there in the first place?). It was a hell of a late night, but worth the under-eye circles the next day.

For Jen: Train to Providence, dinner at the very fine Al Forno with the parents. Home to New Hampshire; next day drive to Northfield to visit with childhood friend, her husband, two-year-old, and four-month-old. Dinner that evening, shopping the next morning, then back to Bedford. That night down to Boston for Bruce Springsteen concert at the Boston Garden (or whatever soulless corporate name it has these days). Tuesday of relative quiet at home. Wednesday out with brother to see him at “work.” Met the entirety of Manchester’s mounted police force (two officers and their horses). Thanksgiving dinner. Then back to Boston to catch the Acela home to NY.

For Will (visit our Flickr page for photos of his week): Drive to New Haven for the Harvard-Yale game. Drive to Princeton to celebrate mother’s birthday. Then back to New York to work for a couple of days. Brunch with one friend, dinner of Middle Eastern food with another. Potluck lunch in the Bronx with a bunch of teens and teachers. Drive to Vermont for Thanksgiving dinner with aunt, uncle, cousins, and parents. Stopover in Northampton (I think) to peruse used book store. On way back to New York stop for night in Hartford to visit friends and babies.

So I’m back (Will’s staying out at sea for another week) a little bit browner and very well rested. I saw enough popped collars and madras shorts to last me ten lifetimes, but generally I just enjoyed the fresh air and lovely scenery for which Nantucket is justly famous. Oh, and I ate clams. Many, many clams. And enjoyed a picnic lunch of lobster salad sandwiches on a beach accessible only by boat. And went fishing (or at least I watched Will’s 7-year-old nephew fish). And enjoyed a lingering gourmet lunch with the island’s resident wine expert. And went to the annual demolition derby, likely the only one in the country overlooking magnificent dunes and beach. Click on photo of said derby to hop over to our Flickr photoset of the week’s activities.

derby.jpg

We’re heading to a friend’s rooftop cookout tonight and then winging out to Nantucket tomorrow for a much-needed week of staring out at the ocean from the front porch. Photos to come next weekend.

I guess they’re trying to pull my poor mother back in. When my dad retired from his veterinary practice almost exactly one year ago, my mother breathed a sigh of relief, as it meant that she was retiring from her satellite career as a wildlife rehabilitator. Not that she didn’t love doing it, but it pretty much absorbed every waking moment from early spring until the first frost for at least twenty years. She’s been happily free of her critters for an entire year, and then the Manchester Police showed up on the doorstep bearing this little beast:

owl.jpg

Have you ever seen such a little animal (baby long-eared owl, for those of you who are wondering) look so utterly disgusted with its situation?

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