Thursday, August 09, 2007

When Bubba and I were first dating we lived/worked all over the Bay Area, which made meeting up a special kind of painful challenge.

To compensate for ridiculous weekday driving (our houses, jobs, train stations put us at least an hour away from the other person at all times) we'd spend entire weekends holed up in his apartment, limiting our travel to only the most necessary trips out for food and beer, so that we could stew adequately in driveless weekend together time. This strategy suited us well and freed us from having to commute 24 actual hours a day.

Sometimes, though, we'd get to Wednesday and realize that we *had* to see each other.With that new relationship *need* that drives people to do insane things like, say, drive an hour from an East Bay train station at 11pm after a full day of work to a South Bay town an hour away and then stay up all night because I'm going to "have to get up at 4am anyway" just to call in sick when I fall asleep at 3am and don't wake up until 9.

You know.

Anyway, after running enthusiastically afoul of the sick day policy, we had to devise some other type of mid-week rendezvous plan that wouldn't interrupt my employment status while still fulfilling the strong new relationship need to engage in distracting PDA's at every possible moment.

That new strategy included me taking the train to a different station where Bubba pretended that it wasn't as inconvenient as it really was to pick me up and drive to a cute town so we could walk the cute streets and look at the cute shops and have YUM dinner and dessert at a cute Italian restaurant while being so cute in the window that we were actually getting other people laid.

According to Bubba's bossatthetime who, while walking with his wife on said cute street, apparently saw us feeding each other tiramisu in the window of the restaurant in a manner so cute and romantic (and not at all nauseating and annoying as I imagine it actually was) that it inspired a libido-fest back at his executive pad later that evening.

Gross and wow.

Anyway, it was all very cute and nice and eventually this mid-week outing became something of a tradition and, for a good six month span, we could be found most Wednesdays having dinner at Our Place eating Our Dish (a handmade gnocchi of perfect consistency in a delicate and flavorful tomato cream sauce) and feeding each other Our Dessert while keeping Our Jobs. Plus, we were getting more sleep since I'd finally abandoned the Let's Just Stay Up All Night idea.


Then things changed like they tend to do and we got distracted. A year, a few jobs and a few crappy apartments went by and we decided we were going to go back to Our Place so we could indulge in Our Dish because everyone else makes it wrong and who cares because we know where it's good.


Our Place was closed.


We must be on the wrong street, in the wrong town, in a parallel universe, IN HELL.

No. It was really closed. No new location written on a napkin and taped to the front door. No sign that it was ever really there except for the small logo still painted on the window next to Our Table. But otherwise, it was totally gone and we were suddenly forced to scour the now-not-as-cute street searching for another place to be Our Place and serve us Our Dish just like old times and perhaps we'd be so cute again as to get passersby laid back at their shwanky white collar mansions.

Fast forward five years to now when we're married homeowners commuting limited distances to decent jobs and everything is pretty right with the world except for the fact that we still haven't found a new Our Place to serve us Our Dish and everyone of executive class is joining monasteries because they've lost the inspiration to touch each other.

Hello, crisis?

Well, last Friday I thought I'd found the answer.

My issue of Cook's Illustrated arrived in the mail and the featured recipe was Ricotta Gnocchi with Tomato Cream Sauce. It was ON.

Our new Place was going to be Our House and I was going to make Our Dish and we would swap out Our old Dessert for blackberry pie because that's better anyway and wouldn't it be so cute and perfect that people walking by our house would be forced to the ground with uncontrollable lust for one another. HOT.

(Before I go any further I'll just confirm that I did indeed just tell you that long ass story just so I could justify showing you pictures of something I cooked over the weekend. Good times.)

I first ignored the fact that this was an alternative gnocchi recipe made mostly of ricotta rather than potato and that Bubba generally hates ricotta. After that though, it was pretty smooth sailing considering these recipes tend to be on the complicated and scientific side and ask that I don't just blow off certain ingredients/tools/methods because I don't have them on hand/am too lazy.

First I made up the gnocchi (including basil and parsley from the garden - bonus) and ogled its likeness to actual gnocchi:

Then I made up the sauce (from tomatoes in the garden - bonus #2) and became irritated when it was clear I should have strained the seeds:

Then I set up an elaborate assembly/cooking station that pleased my need for order and assembly-line meal preparation:

And finally I served up Our Dish at Our House to see if I could do it any justice at all:

While we ate, we watched out the front window for porno and decided that it was a fairly good rendition of Our Dish but that I should keep trying to perfect it so that we'd have an excuse to stare back at our neighbors since they find it acceptable to stare at us from the sidewalk while we eat dinner in our house.

Rude. And for the record, we didn't see any neighbor touching.


  1. LOL, and you just made me VERy hungry! LOL

  2. Oh, I love Cooks Illustrated! I was thinking we needed to try those gnocchi. I've never had the real ones with potatoes, but I don't care because EVERYTHING in that magazine turns out pretty great. Well, it does if my partner cooks 'cause he actually follows every one of their precise directions. Me, not so much.

  3. Oh yah, and those look wonderful!

  4. Best prelude to a cooking post - ever. The guy in the next cubicle over is now wondering why I burst out laughing :)

  5. Man oh man! That looks so good. Will you email me the recipes? And I'd like your mac and cheese recipe that you cook in your Dutch oven too please. I was talking about how delish that is this morning at the bagel shop and they all want the details. :)
    And I can say I ate that gnocchi with you at that restaurant once. I know exactly where you are talking about!

  6. That looks AWESOME. I am so making that next week.

  7. Adrienne - ME TOO! I had the last of it last night and I can say, even as leftovers nuked in the micro - still pretty good.

    Wendy - Cook's Illustrated is THE ONLY recipe/cookbook/magazine with the power to make me follow every detail to the letter. Because scientists devise the recipes and one can not argue with science.

    Kim - I'm glad the long intro wasn't as annoying and self-indulgence as I perceived it to be.

    Kell - Yes :) The mac and cheese recipe. I have to find that. I ripped out the page and have it in my dorky folder in the kitchen covered in sticky somethingrother. Good, good times. I'm glad you were able to enjoy Our Place before it vanished. Que sad.

  8. what magazine and where do I find that recipe - it looks fabulous - even if I don't have the delightfully romantic story to accompany it.

  9. The King of Random would be very proud of you! Looks wonderful!

  10. Yummm. Looks great. Loved your story. And, puh-leez post your mac and cheese recipe -- I love stuff made in a dutch oven. Also, are you and Bubba salsa fans? Have you thought of making (er, canning) salsa with all those tomatoes? Years ago with many tomatoes, I used to love to make salsa. Sure wish I had those tomatoes now, 'cause with two grown boys we go through a lot of salsa!


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