Saturday was cool, wet and drab here in the Ozark foothills. There’s a starkness that comes over Mother Nature when the days get shorter. Skies turn gray, songbirds vanish, and flowerbeds, once dotted with blooms, hide under mounds of dried leaves.
As a dear friend of mine used to say, “When the sun doesn’t shine, we must provide the brightness for the day.” On that note, I mentally bounded out of bed on Saturday morning—physically, I just eased out. The chill from the night was still on the house, but Robin and JC had stacked logs on the hearth. The few struggling embers remaining from last night’s fire made it easy to start a new blaze.
But the bleak day made walking in the woods or sitting on the porch out of the question. So I gathered up a few books and magazines and my i-Pad and snuggled into a comfy rocker. What better way to spend such a morning than with one’s thoughts in front of a toasty fireplace. A perfect time to read and blog. Or even cook. I did all those this weekend at the farm. I decided that a good way to dispel the gloom outdoors was to brighten my hearth and kitchen with sounds, smells, and warm feelings. With guests coming for dinner, friendship and laughter would add all the more to reclaiming a dreary day.
I made a meatloaf because…well, because it just felt like meatloaf weather. When I told one of my guests what was on the menu, his face lit up. “Meatloaf is my favorite!” he said, “and I’m especially fond of sandwiches the next day.”
Rather than mashed potatoes, I made Penne Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash, Pancetta, and Sage. The simple creation is the work of celebrity chef Scott Conant and is featured in a video on Martha Stewart’s site. The pasta dish turned out to be both pretty and tasty, but how could it be otherwise with all those splendid ingredients.
Our dinner salad recipe was the creation of figure-skater-turned-food-show-guru Brian Boitano (What Would Brian Make?). If I were awarding it performance points, I’d give the salad a 7 out of 10. But on my PIN Scale (Pain-In-the-Neck measure), it ranked much higher for having too many steps that didn’t accomplish all that much. Kudos to my daughter, Robin, who is more innovative in the kitchen than I am. When the texture of the goat cheese dressing failed, she re-did the recipe on the fly and saved the salad.
Happily, the Royals made a save that evening, too, with their 8th inning come back, giving them a third game victory over the Mets. And we all got extra sleep that night from setting our clocks back an hour. Oh, yes, I forgot to mention. I sent my meatloaf-lovin’ friend home with the leftover meatloaf slices. Enjoy the sandwiches, Sam.
Sunday, happily lived up to its name and I enjoyed the chance to get some natural vitamin D while lounging on the deck. Later, when I was out and about the farm, I stopped to chat with neighbors, who were deer hunting and to view the livestock.