(Sunset over Hollywood, 1/22/10)
For six days, we had taken blissful refuge at home and reveled in the exotic weather.
Scones were baked.
Books were devoured.
Blazing fires went head-to-head with the fierce crescendo of midday thunderstorms.
Life became infinitely simple.
I knew at some point the sun would come out and we would all have to go outside and enjoy it, but until then, we remained happily indoors. Cooking was pure pleasure. During mealtimes, we lit candles and cranked open the kitchen windows to let the smell of fresh rain mix with the aromas being stirred to life on the Aga.
If there was a recurring theme to our meals, it was that they be largely composed of steaming liquids. One particular seafood stew called "Cioppino" made so many repeat appearances at our house this past week that I was almost afraid it would start asking for royalties. (This is Hollywood, after all). We served it at a dinner party last week, ate the leftovers the following day and I still can't get enough of it. Hearty, fresh and not heavy at all, it's my new favorite winter meal.*
Saturday night's rendition was ladled generously into big bowls, each serving plentiful with of chunks of fresh cod, mussels and scallops. For a grace note, we sprinkled it with fresh chopped parsley. Earth meets sea.
Sunday morning, Piero caught glimpse of the fresh snowy peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains and decided it was going to be a ski day. For breakfast, he added some linguini to the cioppino and transformed it into a stick-to-your-ribs mountaineering meal. Suitably fortified, he and Luca were out the door 25 minutes later.
(Cioppino and pasta, 1/24/10)
Now the house is quiet, the tea is brewing and I have time to write, sew and think. If it was just raining outside, it would be a perfect day.
P.S. My friend Maryam from "My Marrakech" is a finalist in the Bloggies for "Best African Blog." If you've ever been on her site, then you know how deserving she is of the award. Her stirring prose and soulful photos not only transport her readers to the furthest reaches of the globe, they are a poetic sanctuary from hectic times. Please click HERE to vote for her (and scroll to the right to see the categories). Thank you.
*Note: Unfortunately, I don't have a recipe for the cioppino because Piero is an improvisateur and never writes anything down. But I'll ask him again....