Soul Food With Nigel, Angela and Jones

I don’t know how I can ever acknowledge what a joy it has been to have Nigel and Angela in my life.  I feel so very blessed.  My son and I drove up to Tuscany on Thursday night to enjoy the fruits that came of Nigel’s new pizza stone and his own creativity.  As I reflect on my previous posting about ‘good grief’, I have to add to the litany of helpful steps I have taken to journey grief, that the sharing of food and sitting down to the feast table with family and friends, has been invaluable.

Nigel’s close friend, Bassam, was in the circle, as was Angela’s mother, Michele.  And let us not forget the most beautiful, Mr. Jones, the cat with the amazing eyes!  Conversation and laughter are two very important components to healing.  It’s really easy for me to disconnect and more often than not, it takes other people to organize ‘outings’.  Just for now, I’m guessing.

I’m including, here, a photo journal of Nigel’s pizza and Angela’s cherry pie…the culinary experience was exceedingly scrumptious.  The sharing of time, was so much more.

I’ve put in a request for the dough recipe…apparently, this one has been perfected.

Olive Oil, Romano Cheese and Ground Pepper

Next…Mozzarella Cheese, Home Made Tomato Sauce, Blue Cheese and Pear

At this point, the lattice was being constructed for the cherry pie…nummy!

A moment for a selfie…

Prosciutto, Homemade Tomato sauce, Mozzarella and Olives.

Such a great send off…a filling made from B.C. cherries and a lovely rich pastry!  Thank you, Angela!

Dinner With the Ya Yas

Cour de Lion Cheese, Blue Cheese, Apricot and Jalapeno, Green Grapes

Cour de Lion Cheese, Blue Cheese, Apricot and Jalapeno, Green Grapes


Wonton stuffed with Mashed Potato

Wonton stuffed with Mashed Potato

It is a blessing to have dear friends to share good food and wine with.  As we gather for our Christmas feast each year, I am reminded of all of the wonderful times we have shared.  Darren, Wendy’s husband, prepared the most beautiful meal and it was served with a flare, by their daughter, Rebecca.  I have not enjoyed anything like it before.  Spectacular flavours and enjoyable conversation for an entire evening.  Welcome to your new home, Darren, Wendy and Rebecca!

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Italissima Caperberries and Other Delights

Brian is ‘tickled’ (I think) that his dinner party is getting ‘blogged’ this morning!  Perhaps it’s a special status thing to be ‘blogged’.  This concept makes me smile.  Perhaps he just thinks it’s ridiculous that someone he knows can be such a regular and fanatical writer/recorder of events.  Regardless, he told me to use his name…no initials.  I try to maintain a sense of anonymity when I’m writing out to the universe.
Somewhere on the highway, I realized that I had left my digital at home.  That was to some degree, a frustration, as there were so many elements to the evening that I would have photographed, certainly new images in my life!  I don’t think my words this morning will capture the warm, rich, friendly sense of the event.
First of all, Brian lives in a small town surrounded by country…the beautiful vast sort of land that makes every Albertan quiver…well, at the least, it makes me that happy!  I love the sky…I love how the land spills out and then how small roads take you down into river/creek valleys…and how once again you are scooped up to a new view.
Brian and I became friends in 1975.  He was the one who had the patience to hike the coulees with me. (I was somewhat obsessed with walking EVERYWHERE at the time.)  He was the one who showed me the mountains for the first time (as they really need to be seen/experienced)…civilized hiking it would seem to him now compared to the sorts of places/distances he hikes these days. 
Bill and Brian have been hiking sections of this trail for some time now…an amazing experience and apparently, this vision only after having shared most of the Rocky Mountain wilderness together!
Brian shared Waterton with me.  He opened up the wilderness to me.  And this is a gift that can only grow inside a little painter-lady’s heart.  So, I feel much gratitude this morning as I write for the quirky little bit of time we shared along this road called life.
I was welcomed with open arms.  I hadn’t seen Brian since 1978.  And there I was smack dab in the middle of his livingroom, receiving a warm hug, an enthusiastic welcome and the sense that our friendship had transcended 28 years.  One of Brian’s friends was standing at the counter, setting beautiful fresh flowers into a dinner table arrangement.  And shortly thereafter, I met Brian’s three well-spoken and interesting children…and R’s fiance.
I was poured a glass of the most wonderful wine, A-MANO!  The chef was somewhat frazzled as he announced that his gourmet delights were two hours behind schedule.  His Jeep had ‘cratered’ while he was running his errands that afternoon….an unexpected twist to the day!  A lovely antipasto tray was filled up with wonderful cheeses, meats and treats….asiago….provolone…prosciutto….lovely roasted peppers….artichokes….Caperberries…olives of every sort!  It was heavenly!  I was participant in the little ‘rolling’ action…and given a camera, I would have taken a photograph of Brian at this point, mixing homemade ravioli dough.
No, I had never heard of Chris Isaak before!  I can’t believe that this particular link compares him to Roy Orbison…but yes, for fact, he is a crooner!  It was a very cute thing to hear Brian singing along to the tunes.  I experienced a tad of nostalgia as I heard Yellow Bird a few times through the course of the night.  That was a song that my father used to love.
Brian was heavily ‘into’ this music, although it seemed briefly that Nora Jones interjected a tune or two.  He’s a good enough friend, that on another visit, I will bring some of my tunes and see what he thinks!
We chit chatted, all the while working away at things.  At some point I viewed photographs of ruins and geckos and three guys having a ton of fun on a recent vacation to Mexico.
Cooking was interspersed with tours of Brian’s beautiful home, spilling over with personal touches and renovations…a gorgeous combination of earth tones, amber light and warm inviting features.  At different points, guests arrived and all began to participate in the meal prep in one way or another.  I moved into the position of ‘pasta roller’ and began to fill the ravioli.  It was a delightful experience!  I failed to write down the entire menu for the evening….but, will attempt to summarize it here.
Homemade ravioli stuffed with potato, parmigiano cheese and Italian sausage….covered with a beautiful savory vegetable ragou. Risotto, Tuscan chicken breasts prepared with oven-roasted lemon, olives and capers, beautifully prepared spinach….this all served with lovely red wine.
Dessert….lemon souffle, along with homemade icecream and a lemoncello liqueur.
Dinner conversation was as rich as the menu…filled with chat about movies, books, the state of the worlds resources, race, stereotypes, India, global weather patterns, wedding planning, Paris, London, painting, law, career paths, life.  I met very good people with interesting experiences to share.  I felt welcomed into a new and ‘magical’ circle of friends.  As I drove home late last night, I was truly FILLED TO THE BRIM, having shared in abundance of every sort.  I am going to rent two movies as a result of some bits of conversation….Water and Born Into Brothels.