Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christie Needs An Idea!

No, no, not a book idea. See, that’s my problem. I’m deep in deadline and it’s That Time of Year. I usually love That Time of Year, I always have, but it’s complicated often by me never remembering that it comes around the 25th of December. You’d think I could set up deadlines that would be well away from the holidays…but I screw up.

Not to mention that Son 1 has his birthday on December 22nd. He’s just started making noises about the unfairness of that (which I take as a compliment because I really kept the two events nicely separated) and that’s only because he can’t think of enough things to fill out both a birthday and a Christmas list. Greed, thy name is Boy Ridgway.

So, though I’d like to pick all of your collective brains for gifts (I’m woefully short, but am hoping for some 11th hour brainstorm) instead I’m going for this: What shall I make for dinner?

We don’t have a lot of family in the immediate area. We do the big family thing at Thanksgiving (we host) and I go all out. Christmas is much quieter. We’re even thinking of going out to dinner this year on the 25th! But in keeping with a tradition that comes from my mom’s sister who married a Sicilian, we always have pasta on Christmas Eve. I need a new pasta recipe! Please! Anyone have something simple and delicious?

So I’ll admit this post is totally self-serving. But in order to do my part, I have a couple of things to share with you, too. Here’s a link to Nora Roberts' interview with Time magazine. Actually, people from all over sent in questions and she answered them. Nobody asked the question I would: “How do you look so damn good considering the amount of time you must have to spend butt-to-chair?” So if you don’t have a recipe idea for me, you could share what question you would like to ask Nora if you had the chance.

Second, I have to say that I’m really, really looking forward to Christmas despite all the anxiety I have to get through before The Day. I should have the rough draft of the new book done by then, and I will be indulging in my personal Christmas tradition. While Surfer Guy and Sons 1 and 2 are building Legos and putting together all the boring electronic stuff or Wii-ing their brains out, I will spend the day reading guiltlessly. I always get a special book for the occasion. This year, my choice just arrived in a box from Amazon (that also contained toys for Son 1, Son 2, and Nephew 2). This year it’s from Belle Books, our own Deb Dixon’s publishing house, and it's the latest by author Deborah Smith. It’s A Gentle Rain. I can’t wait!

So, share a pasta recipe, a Nora question, or a special tradition that’s only for you. I know I’m scattered today, but ‘tis the season!


Playground Monitor said...

Uh... my pasta recipe is Stouffer's Frozen Lasagne. LOL! My husband isn't a big pasta eater so I rarely make pasta dishes. Sad, huh, since I love pasta (as you can tell by my expanding hips).

Good luck with the recipe search.


melissa said...

Get a nice fillet of salmon, fresh spinach, a lime, phillo dough or grapeleaves, and some olive oil.

1. salt & pepper the salmon, drizzle with oil
2. slice the lime thin and place on top of the salmon
3. put a bunch of spinach on top of the lime
4. wrap the whole thing in either phillo or grape leaves

bake at 350 for a while, depends on the thickness of the fish.

it's quite good. I usually make this for Christmas Eve dinner.

Christie Ridgway said...

Melissa: That sounds wonderful! And everyone here likes fish. I even have some fresh limes someone gave my husband. I'm sort of afraid of phillo dough, but the one time I used it I was trying something much harder than what this sounds like. Thanks!

Marilyn: My husband and I have had many a Stouffer's lasagne. I love 'em.

Playground Monitor said...

OMG Melissa! That sounds wonderful. We love salmon.

My son taught me this recipe he got on their honeymoon to Jamaica.

Season grouper filets with jerk seasoning. Slice carrots and okra and place on top of the grouper. Wrap the fish and veggies in foil and place on the grill. Grill for about 8-10 minutes. Yumm-o!


Christie Ridgway said...

Marilyn: Is okra like zucchini? Why can't I picture an okra?

Keri Ford said...

Christie, you can't go wrong with this recipie. My DH LOVES it and it's sooo simple:

1 jar Ragu traditional
1 package of thin spag. noodles
1 lb. hamburger meat

boil noodles. brown meat. Add sauce to meat. Drain water from noodles. place clump of noodles on plate, top with sauce/meat mix and serve! (topping with parmasian (sp?) is optional) and you can always through some pilsbury (again, sp?) in the oven. That's how pasta gets done at my house.

Volia! and enjoy!

Good Luck Making Your Deadline !!

MsHellion said...

I totally cheat.

I make a white sauce (4 T butter; 4 T flour melted and cooked for 1 minute; then about 2 cups of whole milk--or half and half); then I add a (8 oz, 2 cups) package of Italian shredded cheese (mozzarella, parm, regianno, et al).

I throw this over either a box of cooked linquine, adding: green onions & crab meat (or chicken & spinach)


cooked tortillini with fresh peas and the salty bacon/ham stuff. (I just used cooked bacon...but the fancy bacon stuff would probably be good here.)

MsHellion said...

Okra are about 3-5 inches long, green and tapered. They have "seeds" in them that are edible; and they have the reputation of being slimy.

Don't let the slime get you. They're DELICIOUS! Love it in gumbo or fried with potatoes.

Samantha Hunter said...

I have a wonderful Orichiette recipe that's too long for me to rewrite here, but it's actually very easy to make and amazing -- if you hit the Cigars blog and go back a month, maybe, I have a blog entry called Cooking up a Storm about 5 pages back from the front page and the recipe is therer -- it's seriously good, and fast.

As to Nora, I think I remember hanging out at her question board on ADWOFF and hearing her say something about an hour or so on the elliptical every day. I think she smokes, though, too, unless she quit?

Christie Ridgway said...

You guys are great with the recipes! Mucho thanks!

Sam: Ah, knew it was exercise. I exercise. I also stopped off at Starbucks today and got a venti latte (nonfat) and a blueberry muffin on my way home from the gym. I was celebrating, uh, something (going to the gym?).

Bad Christie.

I will try okra to make up for it.

Keri Ford said...

Yes, okra is absolutely wonderful. I like pickled okra myself. Especially when they're cold and crispy! mmmmmm

Debra Dixon said...

Christie-- I love that A GENTLE RAIN gets to be your holiday book!

Wayne's the cook around here, so I won't attempt to add to some of the good ideas here.

But Wayne makes a fabulous chicken, garlic, artichoke heart pasta. A little onion, olive all, red peppers. All sauted. Yum!

Playground Monitor said...

mshellion described okra to a T. When you boil it, it turns slimy. But baked or even roasted whole straight on the grill it gets kinda crunchy and I can eat it like popcorn.

I add hamburger to Ragu too, but I also add sauteed onion and green peppers and mushrooms. Makes a nice thick sauce for spaghetti. And have you tried the whole wheat spaghetti? I wasn't sure I'd like it but it's awesome!


Cindy Gerard said...

No recipes from me (sorry) but I'm going to write all down all that everyone shared :o)

And my question to Nora would be: When are you going to quit so the rest of us have a chance???
KIDDING. I LOVE Nora as much as the next person. Can't imagine what life would be like without her. She's truly an amazing talent. I'm just in awe.

Christie Ridgway said...

I'm totally get a jones for okra. Do you think I can buy it in SoCal? Is it out of season? Could I roast it with olive oil and some potatoes and carrots or is the wrong kind of taste?

I love all green veggies, weird as that might be. My mother only fixed green sald, she hated veggies, and I was in ecstasy when my m-i-l introduced me to real green vegetables like asparagus. I even like brussel sprouts!

Christie Ridgway said...

Deb: I'm really, really, really trying to hold out and not open the book until Christmas. I think I should wrap it and put it under the tree. Right now A Gentle Rain is on my desk and I swear that horse looks up and whinnies to get my attention every hour or so!

Liza said...

I can't give you a pasta recipe as we have homemade pizza for Christmas Eve dinner. The tradition started when I was very young, and we have learned that the leftovers are a perfect midnight snack after the 11:00 pm Christmas Eve service.

Thanks to the link to the Nora interview, I'll download it when I get home tonight.

Christie Ridgway said...

Oooh, Liza. I could do homemade pizza...except my kids adore the pizza made at the pizzeria nearby, darn it. The little darlings wouldn't hesitate to say they'd rather have had Sanfillipo's, even though it was Christmas Eve and Mom made it with her own two hands.

Playground Monitor said...

"Could I roast it with olive oil and some potatoes and carrots or is the wrong kind of taste?"

It'd be awesome with those. I roasted some with broccoli, cauliflower and carrots a week or so ago.

As for getting it in So Cal, I'm not sure. It's out of season here in Alabama but I found it in the grocery store. I'm sure they're growing it somewhere. You can buy it frozen but it's sliced. The whole pods are so much better for roasting or grilling.