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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Kale “lasagna” with tomatoes & roasted red peppers

Kale “lasagna”

I’ve always had a habit of becoming irrationally fond of inanimate objects. An oddly shaped twig, a little sketch I made, a blank book, a pen, an acorn. The list goes on and on. I would imbue them with importance, with personality, with magical powers, almost. At the moment it’s a little quince. I’ve said in the past that I love everything about quinces, and that remains true. I love their flavor, their scent, their name, their name in french (coing), the fact that you need to give them a lot of attention to make them palatable, the fact that they start out quite drab, but become lovely and rosy when you cook them. We have a little quince bush in our backyard. It’s a cutting from a tree by David’s aunts old house. We didn’t think it would live, but it’s doing quite well. It even produced a few little fruits this year, its second year with us. The fruit didn’t ripen, though. It fell to the ground – tiny, pale and very hard. It smelled nice, so I held onto it. I put it beside me on the desk, and there it sat for a few days. I worked all weekend, and Monday morning I thought about the quince. I couldn’t see it anywhere, but I could smell it, unmistakable and sweet. David had moved it to the top of a nearby bookshelf to save it from the boys, who had been playing at my desk all weekend. The poor thing is smaller, shriveled, soft, starting to turn brown in spots. But it still smells intoxicatingly good! The uglier it gets, the sweeter it smells. And I’ve become fond of the wrinkled little thing. I feel like a swooning lady with her smelling salts, I hold it to my nose and it elevates my spirits. It’s like autumn in a tiny rotting bundle.

So…kale! We got some kale from our CSA, and some red peppers, and some eggplant and of course, some more tomatoes! I decided to boil up the kale, and treat it like lasagna noodles. I washed it and removed the stems, but kept the leaves long. I boiled them for about twenty minutes, so they were quite soft, but still bright, and not falling apart. And I stretched it out like lasagna noodles, layering it with ricotta, roasted peppers, fresh tomatoes. I had some leftover eggplant anyone can love, so I added a layer of that. It was delicious, but if you don’t have it, or have time to make it, this dish will still be very delicious! I broiled a red pepper, let it steam in a covered bowl, and then removed the skin and seeds. you want to be sure to let it sit for a while, and discard any moisture that collects. As with any lasagna that contains vegetables, you want to be sure the veggies are quite dry before you add them, or the lasagna will form a broth. This broth happens to be quite tasty, though, so if you have some bread to sop it up, you’re golden!

Here’s Bill Withers with Ain’t No Sunshine, because it’s a beautiful song, because it’s a rainy day, because I miss my dog.
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