1000th Ordinary Post! And semolina ricotta gnocchi

My favorite field. I would build The Ordinary here.

This is The Ordinary’s 1000th post! That’s 1000 recipes, ramblings, stories, songs, and utter utter nonsense. Looking back over all the posts, it’s funny how The Ordinary has become a place in my imagination, a place of my imagination. The Ordinary has hallways and corridors, underground labyrinths, cobwebbed attics, secret gardens, hopes, follies, a wood between worlds with pools leading to other worlds. Balconies, towers, porches, ramparts–such a view! We have institutes! The Ordinary’s institute for analysis of vocal inflection, The Ordinary’s technological institute for the technological advancement of the study of technology, The Ordinary’s anti-boredom institute, The Ordinary’s institute for cheerfulness studies, an institute devoted entirely to the study of winter light, and an institute entirely devoted to the study of time passing.

It’s a vast expansive place, so full of memories, bewilderingly full of memories. Ghosts and dreams swim through slanted lights and shadows, pockets of coolness and warmth, floating in the ocean near shore at the end of summer.

Of course it’s not any of that. It’s just blog, it’s just an ordinary ordinary blog, which probably shouldn’t have recipes, or should only have recipes and not the ravings of a madwoman. It’s just a bag of words, a shabby bag, worn with so much usage, torn through with the spiky awkwardness of all of the shambles of words thrown into it. Too many words, probably, but here we are, 1000 posts later. I’ve got a birthday next week. I’m between jobs with no hint of a career, we’re all just surfacing from a pandemic. I’ve got a lost-at-sea feeling. But I’m glad to have The Ordinary, for now. I’m grateful for anyone who has taken a minute to read any of the nonsense or try any of the recipes. I hope that someone has discovered a song or a movie or an artist or a good book because of The Ordinary. Thank you, Ordinary Friends!

Here is a playlist I have put together of songs I love to cook to. Songs to get you dancing and singing as you’re standing over pots and pans in your kitchen, or scrubbing pots and pans in your kitchen. I will be adding to this as the songs pull on my coattails, so stay tuned!

I think I may have invented this recipe! I’ve seen (and made) ricotta gnocchi. I’ve seen (and made) semolina gnocchi, but I’ve never seen them combined like this. These are light, tender, and flavorful. They’re simple but a bit of a production. But it’s all fun. You can put them with any kind of sauce you want. I like a light tomato sauce. I think later in the summer I’d do a roasted tomato and pepper sauce. Last night we had them with a hazelnut rosemary white wine sauce, also good, but not as pretty.

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Beet dogs

Beet dogs

I love sleeping. I’m not very good at it – I never have been! I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and my brain will start buzzing, and I can’t quiet it down. It’s like the little people in my brain that have the middle-of-the night shift are working over time. I used to panic that if I didn’t get enough sleep I’d go crazy. I mean, there’s only so much of being with myself that I can take! I need a break, man! Of course, panicking about not being able to sleep is a rookie mistake; all the seasoned insomniacs know that it only makes things worse. Having children has put some sleepless fears to rest. I get along fine without much sleep. Yes I’ll be tired and blurry, but it won’t last forever. But a good night’s sleep, or even a good few-hours of sleep, is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I don’t consider this a lazy attitude, because with sleep comes dreams, and dreaming is one of the most active and creative activities that a mind can engage in. I love dreaming! Perhaps because I’m a filmmaker that hasn’t made a film in over a decade, I consider every dream like a short film – I’ve even have a dream that I make a film, and it’s always a perfect and beautiful film, which I lose when I wake up. David’s alarm goes off at 6, and I’ll sleep for another hour or so, and this is when you have all the best dreams – or at least you remember them best. Dreams about old clothes, dreams about flying, dreams about falling, dreams about houses that have unexpected rooms and passages, dreams about climbing trees, dreams about my dog, dreams about people I’ve never met, dreams of swimming, dreams of drowning, dreams about water, dreams about glass, dreams about darkness, dreams about school, and about schools with unexpected rooms and corridors. And lately, of course, dreams about food. This recipe came to me in a dream. And part of me, upon waking, thought, you’re not really going to try that, are you? And another part of me thought, why the hell not? These are a sort of version of vegetarian hot dogs. They’re made with beets, pinto beans, garlic, smoked paprika, a pinch of nutmeg, and a pinch of allspice. They have some flour and eggs in them. They’re very simple and easy to make. They look funny and a bit embarrassing while you’re making them, so if you have boys in your house I suggest you banish them from the kitchen, unless you’d like to hear rude jokes and titters. The jokes stopped when they tasted these, though! Everybody was dubious, but everybody loved them. We all ate more than we planned on. Isaac sat with his chair tilted back, one beet dog in each hand, talking and gesturing, and ate every single bite. (Being allowed to eat them with their hands was part of the appeal!) Malcolm declared them better than store-bought not-dogs. I tried them two ways. First, I just fried them in butter (which is the way I make not dogs.) Second, in a flash of inspiration, I had the idea to boil them first, like gnocchi (which they resemble in some ways!) and then fry them in butter. I thought these came out better. Less dry, with a nice sort of chewy texture. They really are unlike anything I’ve ever eaten, but in a good way. Try them! Why the hell not! They’re very easy to make. I think that the boiled ones would be grillable, too. I’ll try it and let you know!

Here’s Big Mama Thornton with Hound Dog
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