Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Summer of 2012

The summer of 2012 began with a loss. And ended with a proposal by the river.


And a ring. An assurance of the circle that is life.


It began with an unexpected journey. And had beautiful detours for guidance.

(Under a Midsummer Moon at the Minnesota Fringe Festival.)

"How many are in the cast?" asked the frightened techies as seventeen young performers (ages 11-18) filed in for their three-hour tech. Do they know they only have ten-minutes to set up the stage?"

"Yes, they know." (It sort of was rehearsed to death.) And then we went on to have a smooth tech. (Rare.) The techies smiled. Staff and cast breathed a sigh of relief. The Fringe goes to blackout at exactly 60 minutes. The play ran 58 minutes. I cannot say I sat through the performances with nerves of steel.

As closing neared, I threw a cast party for the cast, crew and families.


When a show works, there is electricity between the cast.




Respect. Affection.


And play. So after consuming 10 pounds of pasta, 2 sausage-pepper-potato bakes, 18 cannoli, blueberry cheesecake bars ...


Bruschetta... (yes, I did a lot of healthy) ...

Zucchini-tomato tart.


And platters of Proud Italian Cook's Eggplant Bites.

"I don't even like eggplant," declared one teen as he popped a 6th one in his mouth. I made these four times this summer. Find Marie's recipe here. It's not too late to be enchanted by eggplant.


They played link-tag in the backyard. They played till dark. They played till I was worried that they wouldn't see the little squirrel holes that populate our yard. Visions of tripping and spraining ankles before the final performance did run through my mind. And the director's. But I loved seeing them play - I couldn't... wouldn't halt it.

Of course, the director yelled "Group hug" and the eve came to an end.


I'm somewhere in there. I'm trying to avoid "chicken soup" for the aging soul here... but you know - it was an honor to work with them and my director and designers. There was spiritual balance this summer because of them.


Vegetables were picked.

Heirloom tomatoes were consumed. We barely did anything with them but pick them, slice them and pop them in our mouths. You almost got a sugar rush from their natural sweetness. I think I may have salted them... once.

Caprese was required.

And once-in-awhile, I was inspired to cook them and throw them on pasta. It's not an overly pretty picture - but you know "all that glitters does not always taste good."  Mister Meatball's 7-minute tomato sauce can be found here.  With better photos.


And in August I splurged on halibut. Halibut (3/4 pound) with parsley-butter sauce. Cooked in a skillet - 1/2 stick of Earth Balance butter (I told you I was aging), 1/2 lemon, a little white wine - for probably no reason but it was there and I'm a sucker for leftover wine - and a handful of chopped fresh Italian parsley. Didn't bother with salt and pepper. Didn't even add garlic! Simmered slowly till all flavors joined together - maybe to play link tag. Simmered until the halibut flaked on the top and the greens promised a lingering summer.


It's September. It's warm. But I look forward to woolen scarves, soups, plaids, flowering Kale and fall color. Boots (not snow boots!), cozy sweatshirts, autumn bonfires. Looking forward. It's the most heartening part of the circle.

39 comments:

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I've missed your posts, but you've had good reason to stay away from blogging. Welcome back. What a summer you've had - a full range of emotions from sadness to joy - let's hope the joy continues. All the food looks wonderful and the kids' enthusiasm in your yard is a delight to behold. There's even a white picket fence! Could it get any better?

Cake Duchess said...

Ciao Claudia-I love this post. I was so happy to see your eggplant pop up on Pinterest tonight. Your summer sounds like it was full of happy and sad days-but also, lots of delicious ones. un bacio!xx

Gina said...

Sounds like the circle is healing you a little, or at least I hope so. I just love it when a kid says they don't like something, and then eat it like there is no tomorrow. Congrats on the play and congrats one the engagement. Hoping the next act is all positive.
-Gina-

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Claudia, we've all missed you and so glad you are back. I've thought of you often.

There's nothing like the energy and laughter of children plus good food to bring cheer into your life and looks like you have a lot of both.
Sam

Mary said...

It is so good to have you back. You have been missed. What a summer you've had! Congratulations on the success of your play and the relationships you were able to form with your cast. The ring your daughter is wearing is very lovely. Something beautiful was taken from you, but something very special has been given to you as well. The yin and yang of life sees to it that chairs and places at the table are not empty long. I wish the bride and groom much happiness in the life they build together. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

SKIP TO MALOU said...

Hi Claudia,
I was so happy to see a comment from you in my blog. I missed you so much. I'm glad to see you back... writing eloquently as always.
Your summer has been an eclectic mix of events. Such is the beauty of LIFE. Welcome back!
xo,
Malou

Catherine said...

Dear Claudia, Welcome back!!! Congratulations on your daughters engagement. I wish the young lovers all the best. What a wonderful cast party. It was a feast of food and good fun.
I am looking forward to the cool weather too, but not snow boots either. Blessings my dear and I am so glad to see you blogging again. Hugs, Catherine xo

Lynda said...

Welcome back Claudia, I've missed you so much as others have. Your summer has been full, with loss, then a successful play and now a blessed engagement. Life is full of changes.
So glad your play was well recieved and the members had such a fun time at your party. What wonderful food you made for them-no wonder they enjoyed themselves so much....good food and good company!

Sue/the view from great island said...

Welcome back, Claudia!

Kathy said...

So nice to see you back, Claudia!! Congratulations on the engagement…an exciting time for you! Whenever sadness hits it’s usually followed by something good. My mom died in January and two weeks later my twin grandsons were born!
You certainly put on one heck of a feast…gorgeous!

Monet said...

Oh Claudia! It is so good to see you back. You summer has been full. Of both good and hard things. I loved seeing all the happy pictures, and I am looking forward to hearing and seeing about all the joy to come. Thank you for sharing, my friend.

Pegasuslegend said...

Missed you Claudia! So happy your back.. this is fabulous... love this happy post... good to have you back online with us :)

Jeannie Tay said...

Looks like you have been very busy and having such fun! Love all the summery dishes that you dish out! So delicious yet healthy!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Welcome back! Happy to read you again...

Congratulations on the engagement!

The food looks so good here!

Cheers,

Rosa

Angie's Recipes said...

Congratulations! And you have been terribly missed, Claudia.
Love those healthy and tasty treats.

Mari said...

Claudia, you were missed dearly. Great recipes, I am craving some heirloom tomatoes, they look scrumptious! Congratulations to the new couple, I wish them many blessings.

Hugs

Shulie said...

Nice end of the summer celebration with much tasty foods and laughter! :) Looks super fun!

Chiara Giglio said...

welcome back Claudia !I'm very happy for you, it's a wonderful time, a hug...

Kitchen Riffs said...

Gosh, I've missed you! Welcome back - it's so nice to be reading you again.

bellini said...

It sound like it has been a memorable summer, certainly one to aspire to.

Erica said...

Great post....Thank you for sharing this with us,Claudia! We miss you!

Ruth Martins said...

Quite a Summer! Can't believe you made all that amazing food. The cast look so very happy. Im sure they will never forget it, nor will you. Thanks for sharing, it means a lot!

Lori Lynn said...

So sweet. Congrats on the engagement. Wishing super-happiness for your lovely family.
And wow, what a spread, I am so sure the cast appreciates great food too, thanks to you.
Good call on Marie's eggplant bites.
LL

sophiesfoodiefiles said...

What a grand & lovely post to read! Congrats for the young one's getting married! Yeah! :)

What a very busy Summer you went through!

It is also great that you inspire these young actor's! ;)

All of your food dishes look so appetizing & wonderful too! I love eggplant too! xxx Yummm!

OysterCulture said...

How exciting about the impending nuptials. I see a lot of Italian food there.

What a fun event around the play. I can only imagine the bonding and excitement of the final production. Of course all that wonderful food sounds divine.

Roz said...

What a beautifully written post about your very well-lived life! So much to be thankful for! I have missed all of your posts and was hoping that you would return when you felt that you could. Not to forget to mention, that all of the dishes you prepared for those lucky guests look 'che bella'!

I leave for Italy in 14 days with my parents. I am on medical leave of absence for one semester, Claudia, from back surgery and so I'm going to rest and restore a bit with relatives and then to other major sites that I've never seen.

I hope to eat VERY WELL!
Amore,
Roz

Rebecca Subbiah said...

sweet post, and congrats to your lovely daughter and your the coolest director ever hugs

Gloria said...

nice pictures and nice food:))

Frank Fariello said...

This post brought back from wonderful memories of those seemingly endless summers of backyard antics during my childhood and adolescence. In those days, time seemed to stand still. Now it just runs faster and faster...

Lizzy Do said...

Such a bittersweet summer for you...but it's so good to see you back with a blog post. I'm trying to figure out a way to finagle an invite to your next cast party...what a delicious feast! Will definitely check out that eggplant...it looks heavenly! I'm looking forward to wearing my non-snow boots soon, too!

Velva said...

Life has a way of just happening.....It can bring incredible joy, and incredible sorrow. We hope that in the end the journey was meaningful and purposeful.

Love this post.

Velva

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Glad to see you back on your blog, Claudia, and this post was filled with so much good news after the sadness of losing your Mom. I think you and I were living parellel lives for awhile, going through life's ups and downs. Your cast party looked like a lot of fun and I'm sure everyone enjoyed all the good food you made!

Now it will be on to wonderful wedding plans for you and your daughter! I'm looking forward to seeing more of that journey!

Fresh Local and Best said...

Congratulations to your daughter! What an exciting time this must be. I am so glad that summer is over. It was brutal although the garden did benefit. The halibut looks incredible.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Have a wonderful weekend, dear!

Cheers,

Rosa

Jill Colonna said...

Claudia,
I love the way you've given a wonderful show of Summer, despite the loss. Bravo to the fiancées and to you for being such an amazing hostess to the cast; what a line up. No wonder they're all so happy and get on so well with a finale to look forward to like this. Couldn't help laughing how you changed someone's impression of aubergine for life!

Ashley said...

Welcome back, and congrats on the engagement :)

Reeni Pisano said...

I've missed you my dear friend! Congratulations to your daughter! I'm so happy for her.

My Little Space said...

Congratulations Claudia, You're going to be mom-in-law very soon. ha... So happy for you. Sure, there'll be so much going on soon. Take care & have a fabulous week ahead.
Blessings
Kristy

Roz P. said...

Just stopped by to see if you've posted lately. I hope that you are having a beautiful Christmas season Claudia!