I’m not talking about food, actually, I’m talking about news. The Bad News which is currently the Worst because I haven’t gotten over it yet, is that Sep can’t come with me to Rome before my flight leaves. I’ve been counting on his company all summer, and I really don’t want to go alone. It seems so much easier and more manageable to travel through ferries, unreliable trains, and trams to get to the hostel in Rome if he’s with me, for some reason. Usually I’m pretty good about traveling by myself, but the prospect of having to do the entire return trip by myself is daunting. The Professor said he wouldn’t allow it, point blank, no exceptions. I think this is only slightly ridiculous because neither Sep nor I have had more than four days off in the two months we’ve been here when we are, by contract, entitled to six (two three-day weekends). Since I’m leaving before things close down, I think the Professor is worried that if Sep accompanies me and makes sure I get there safely and that I don’t get lost that things won’t get finished around here. If he hasn’t figured out by now that when Sep is around things get done twice as fast as they would if anyone else was doing them I doubt he’ll learn it before it’s time to leave. If he realized how fast Sep works he wouldn’t be worried about closing up anymore and all my problems would be solved!
The Best news is that I got full funding (tuition and stipend) for my fall semester at ODU. My advisor emailed me about it last night. I opened the email after dinner while we were all sitting around talking about politics (hence why I wasn’t able to contribute much and was checking email instead). As soon as I read it I started beaming and crying and nearly hysterically laughing. I think everyone was pretty confused until I wordlessly (because I couldn’t speak) handed the tablet to Sep so he could read the email. Everyone congratulated me, which was nice, but I was already on top of the world.
So, today is the last meal I cook this week. The two pictured above are from Wednesday and Thursday nights (I didn’t remember to take a picture of what I cooked yesterday, but it was pretty standard: lemon/garlic/parsley chicken, spicy sausage tomato pasta, and zucchini with Parmesan and a weird dressing I created with basil, oregano, tarragon, red wine vinegar, and salt). On Wednesday I made Carbonara alla Mr. VDH (still doesn’t measure up), green beans with lemon, red onion, feta, and oregano, and pork brined in all kinds of strange things. I used apple juice and apple cider vinegar in the absence of hard cider. I added some Dijon because I didn’t have mustard seeds. I put in lots of salt, the right amount of water, and peppercorns in the black and green variety. I added lots of spices, like cinnamon, oregano, basil, bay, and fennel. It turned out to be delicious, even though I was rather skeptical at the time.
Friday I made a pasta with lemon, mushrooms, parsley, and thyme which was light and tasty. Sep deemed it to be “restaurant quality,” which made me happy. I didn’t like it all that much, to tell you the truth, but I’m glad everyone else did. I also made veal that I seasoned with garlic, rosemary, and sage and pan-roasted in brown butter and red wine. It also came out nicely, which was surprising given the fact that I broke my favorite Most Reliable meat thermometer and had to revert to the Old Confusing one that I think is 10 degrees off. I also made this super tasty “vegetable” dish (tomatoes are technically fruits) with a baked ricotta and goat cheese side. Everyone loved it. I didn’t love it, but I probably would have liked it better if the tomatoes hadn’t been cooked. I’ve always preferred raw cherry tomatoes over cooked ones, even if they do have lots of olive oil and salt and pepper.
Dean just left, which is sad, because he was fun this summer. He taught me lots of interesting things about philosophy (his major at Bard, where he just graduated) and about how to go through the process of getting a Visa if you need to go to school abroad (he’s going to St. Andrews in the fall). He’s headed back to the States early to see if he can’t get it figured out. Apparently you can’t apply for a Visa to Scotland from Italy, which is what he tried to do two weeks ago.
Today I’m making penne with sweet summer veggies and herbs, some more pork, and some carrots roasted in butter. I’ve been trying to make the carrots all summer, but they always get out on the back burner (I’m so funny) because they take over an hour to cook. Unless the vegetable goes in the oven, I’m not spending more than twenty minutes cooking it. That’s all about to change- I’m breaking down barriers!