16 August, 2006

Calgon, double time!

At least you're seeing this skunk in daylight hours! But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me describe to you my day. Oy veh.

Actually it started last night, when Avery discovered (nearly spitting it across the table) that her glass of milk was ROTTEN. This, of course, was the same half gallon that I had used to make my afternoon-project batch of vichyssoise. How dare they! Fizzy, awful.

Then this morning. I'm sorry, someone tell me I didn't get up at the crack of dawn (well, it was 8) in a pouring rainstorm to drive an hour and half for a horseback riding lesson that had been CANCELLED. Truly. The only thing that saved me from an absolute temper fit was actually two things: one, the trainer had an out of date phone number for me, and two, we were, in any case, rendez-vousing with Annabelle to bring her to the long-awaited sleepover. So. I kissed Alyssa, watched Elliot slog through puddles at the barn, and hustled the girls straight BACK into the car for another hour and a half drive back home. It was enlivened by exposing the girls to "Strawberry Fields Forever" on the CD player, which made me feel very old, half the Beatles being dead and another simply embarrassing. However. During the drive Avery found out from her Iowa Nonna on the cellphone that a package awaited her at Red Gate Farm, from the singularly exciting return address of "American Girl," which made arrival very exciting: a new doll! Holly, to replace the Holly stolen callously from our parking lot in Tribeca. There you go: a unique "New York isn't perfect" memory.

To lunch at the diner, then a marathon session at the pool! Much diving, lap swimming, while the skies gradually cleared to the MOST beautiful early evening swim ever. Simply divine, coming up from a dive to see blue, blue sky and green, green trees. Avery's valiantly attempting diving.

Home for me to frantically clear up all the mess from an early morning departure and prepare spaghetti all carbonara, tons of garlic. Annabelle is my best dinnertime customer. Here's the recipe:

Kristen's Carbonara
(serves four)

1 pound bacon, throughly chilled and sliced into 1-inch pieces (easy to do: just keep the pound together as it's packaged and slice down the strips lengthwise as a bulk, does that make sense?)
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 small white onion, finely minced
1/2 pint light cream
1 egg yolk
3/4 pound cappellini
2 tsps fresh thyme, leaves only
1/2 grated pecorino romano or parmesan

Boil water for pasta. Then in a large skillet, saute bacon bits over low to medium heat, stirring nearly constantly and taking care that the bacon does not scorch. Drain frequently (not down the drain! try a measuring cup, then you can keep it to saute hash browns in if you're feeling ambitious).

When bacon is completely crispy but not burned, drain one last time and return skillet to heat. Add garlic and onion to the sauteed bacon and saute lightly, again taking care not to scorch. When garlic and onion are softened, add cream and bring to a low simmer. Add egg yolk and stir thoroughly. The sauce can sit and simmer while you cook and drain the pasta.

Cook pasta and drain. Throw the pasta into the sauce skillet and toss well with the sauce. Serve with thyme and cheese sprinkled on top.

The girls made homemade "cookie dough ice cream" with real cookie dough! Then the real heart-clencher of the day: I went to (nice Indiana-ism there) take the garbage (only we'd say "trash" back home) to the can in the barn, when out of the bag I'd stashed on the terrace bounced... a SKUNK! EEEWWW!! Cute, all right, but alive! In my garbage bag! It lurked without undue alarm on the terrace as I stared, and screamed, and the girls came running down from Avery's bedroom, convinced I was nearly dead from... something. Finally it ambled off. Terror!

Much sweeter is the melon-obsessed woodchuck, Gary II, so named after Jill and Joel's original Gary. That boy loves melon! Carried away a whole half, if that makes sense.

OK, I'm fading. Sleepover finally living up to its name as both girls slumber away. Sleep well!

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