Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"She holds you captivated in her path."

Today's title is from the song "Suddenly I See" by KT Tunstall. I've always loved it.

My Italian Sunday Dinner the Sunday before last went so well! The four of us had such a great time, one of whom, my friend's boyfriend, I met for the first time. In addition, two of my friends from different circles of mine were meeting for the first time and they liked each other just fine. One of my guests talked about her recent trip to India. And the food turned out (...minus the chicken ...but even with multiple courses of food and fun with friends, it just didn't seem to matter...). Overall, this meal was fairly easy to pull off. I love to entertain! I wish I had the funds to make this some sort of routine!

As you can see, I went all out in setting the table:

In my personal photo above, I have a bowl on top of a dinner plate on top of a silver charger, with a bread plate to the side, in front of each seat. All are my everyday china, white with a raised rim of dots, service for four and the only set I own. Silverware sits on a red cloth napkin. A stemmed red wine glass complete each setting. I have white tea lights lit inside antique clear depression glass punch glasses in the middle of my small table. All this sits on a plain white tablecloth.

I also hung a string of clear round glass white lights over the table. Going for the theme, they feel Italian to me. I had to set the primo and secondo on the printer stand because my table is so tiny. I had the antipasti on a bright Deruta-like platter. The four of us squeezed in on my sofa and munched on antipasti over my coffee table. I love a good theme; it's just more festive.

My menu was:

a loaf of French bread sliced
extra virgin olive oil

Primo Piatto (First Course)
Penne Pasta Primavera (Penne pasta with vegetables in tomato sauce with sauteed zucchini and red pepper.)

Secondo Piatto (Second Course)
roasted chicken with rosemary
olive-oil roasted gold potatoes with a touch of rosemary
Contorni (Vegetables)
sauteed spinach with garlic

Dolce (Dessert)
Sicilian-style cheesecake (my guests made this using ricotta)
4 Ferrero Rocher chocolates
Vino (one of my guests brought a couple of bottles)
Da Vinci Chianti
a sweet red wine
After work on Monday night, one of those same dinner guests and I went out to see selected scenes of opera as produced by the Army. A few singers acted and sang a single scene of an act in various works of opera to the accompaniment of the piano. The voices were so impressive and the stories behind opera are oh so dramatic and entertaining. I could even pick out a few words of Italian in the opera composed in that particular language. I really enjoyed myself. This sampler of sorts leaves me wanting more, makes me want to see an opera at La Scala in Milano or at the Arena in Verona! In this low budget affair, the MC teased us that we had to use our imagination for the scenery and props, like that a music stand was a tree. Such a visual individual, I would love to see the scenery and costumes of a real production. And one in Italian of course! It was also fun to dress up for an occasion. And to meet new people, as I met my date's ("cool") cousins.
Today is my day off and it's been pretty good so far. I enjoyed my usual little cup of espresso with sugar, picked out three new books from the library, walked a mile for exercise in the sunshine, saw and caught up with a friend for just a bit, made myself a healthy lunch using whole grain pasta, picked up a slice of chocolate cake and enjoyed the majority of that for dessert, vacuumed my apartment real quick, read awhile, made doctor's appointments for routine bloodwork and a physical. I really need to check things off my to do list... I wonder if I will accomplish much more today... This post is one of them I suppose... I already had a pretty restful day on Sunday where I didn't do much! My boss asked what I did on Sunday in some small talk and I replied "bel far niente" which is Italian for "the beauty of doing nothing," which she loved. I must say, so did I. It helps to restore me since I keep myself fairly busy. Not everyone has such balance in their lives.
My new boss is working today. It keeps changing, but, I think, she's with me full-time from today on. I like her. Since she's been in a place where she didn't want to be promoted, I think I'll actually do the job I was hired to do a year ago and not the oh so much more I've been doing since day number two. That'll be less stress and I'll be happier. Maybe I'll blog more as a result! Plus she even suggested that I take Monday as my day off each week. Since the office is closed on Sunday, that means I'll have two days off in a row! This thrills me! I can really relax. Plus with a set day of the week off, I have already scheduled appointments, with less worry that I will probably reschedule. When she mentioned that she'd be willing to work a Saturday every once in awhile, I think I was momentarily speechless. I managed to tell her just for my April birthday weekend for now. Not that I would know what to do with myself on a Saturday having been in retail for so long when you work weekends.
With regards to my never-ending to do list, maybe I'll see how I feel after I finish dinner. I'm preparing that pasta specialty of mine again, senza meat, it's low budget! No red wine though... :( At no cost at all to me, I lucked out with my mom's invitation to dinner last night- roast beef with potatoes and carrots and sweetened tea to drink. Having a meal a week over there helps me out financially. As you can tell, I love to eat! I had a craving for the tangy tomato salad dressing from Outback Steakhouse a night last week. Who's with me?
My Pasta Specialty:
Penne Pasta in Tomato Sauce with Sauteed Zucchini and Red Pepper

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