Monthly Archives: May 2010

dinner and a movie

Last night, I had a lovely, homey evening with my daughter, Ms. Iz. We ate linguine with butter. This does not sound spectacular, but it was because it gave us a meal fast and simple and satisfying enough to fill us, and left us with plenty of snuggle time.

To be honest, I hadn’t had pasta with butter until very recent times. Gran Fran thought it a sin to use anything other than olive oil on all things pasta. As a matter of fact, she cooks her scrambled eggs in olive oil, too, so to this day, I gag at the taste of eggs cooked in butter. While Gran Fran just about passes out when she hears of said atrocity.

The butter pasta was a direct result of Julie & Julia. You know, how the butter is the queen in all of her recipes. As the movie progressed, Ms. Iz asked for a bowl of pasta. Whilst making it, I asked her if she prefered butter to olive oil (which I rarely do). She said, well, since Julia is using butter let’s have butter. And, I’d also like to point out, this was her second viewing of the movie, and that she has proclaimed it her new favorite movie.

For anyone who has read my blog in the past, you know about the love affair I’ve had with Julia for pretty much my whole life. And, so, to be able to see the movie once again, have my daughter love it, and get to eat a bowl of butter pasta (mine with walnuts, red pepper flakes and garlic), it turned out to be a very nifty evening.

As for this evening. I’m back on romance (see previous post) as well as a childhood favorite. First in the queue was Love Actually. A sappy and beautiful movie about 7 different love stories in Britain that are somewhat intertwined. Lovley characterization of all kinds of love…first love, broken love, unrequitted love…and all perfect. The best part is when the little 10 year old girl is singing “All I Want For Christmas is You”. Apparently, I ‘m a sucker for a good romance.

Right now, it’s High Society. There is no way to describe the beauty of this film. It is funny, sweet, smart and best of all a musical! You get Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Celeste Holmes. Cocktails are in order (many mixed drinks and much champagne is consumed), but I can’t do that when I’m on my own, so I’ll just watch and imagine.

Somehow, before VCRs or DVDs, we watched this movie many atime when I was little. Maybe it wasn’t as often as I thought. More likely, it’s due to the soundtrack being played over and over again.

All 5 of us (and Gran Fran and Joe, as well) can still sing every song in this movie. I remember putting on shows with my sisters and brother (5 of us in 7 years, we had enough voices fora pretty good chorus) in the living room. We used a piece of drywall (who knows where it came from) as a dance floor. There are Super 8 movies of this somewhere, I think.

Thanks to Joe, there was plenty of Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman. Gran Fran leaned more towards Motown and Latin music. And both of them love a good musical. So we had quite a variety, always singing along, no matter if you knew the words, just get out there and sing it!

So, my friends, here is the recipe for my butter pasta, and please do make yourselves some and watch a couple of my faves along with a nice glass of wine!

Linguine with Butter and Walnuts
serves 4


1 lb best quality Linguine
1 large pot of salted boiling water
3 Tbsps Butter
3 Tbsps Olive Oil
1/4 cup chopped Walnuts

  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
    1 leaf fresh Sage, minced
    To Taste: Salt, Red Pepper and Pepper


  • Boil Linguine to your liking (I prefer mine a little on the soft side for this recipe).
  • While pasta is cooking, heat a small non-reactive saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add butter, olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
  • Once the butter has melted, lower the heat to low-medium and all the garlic and walnuts.
  • Saute until the garlic is browned slightly and the walnuts glisten.
  • Remove from the heat and pour over the cooked pasta.
  • Sprinkle the sage and a bit more pepper and red pepper flakes over the pasta.


Posted in butter, garlic, high society, home cooking, julia child, linguine, love actually, pasta, red pepper, walnuts | 1 Comment

the coldest winter….

i know it’s not even summer yet, but mark twain’s comment is very fitting on this mid-May evening. and i quote: “the coldest winter i ever spent was summer in san francisco”. preaching to the choir right now.
i’ve found that i am channeling gran-fran’s best winter look tonight. down vest, tee-shirt, 2 sweaters, furry socks and a large blanket. oh, and i’ve managed to not only make myself some dinner, but to also put a pot of split pea soup on the stove as well.
it never fails, the smell of cloves, bay leaf, thyme and smoked ham make me calm and happy. i recall gran fran making this all the time, but maybe it wasn’t quite as often as i tend to make it (once a month, at least). it has been a nice thing, making soup, since my little lady won’t eat it, it’s all for me. and when there is extra, i share it with my workmates, which makes me happy and them, too.
i’ve wathced “like water for chocolate” and am now into “amelie” both very beautiful films, both make me nostalgic for gran-fran. she gave me the book “like water for chocolate”, but there is no firm reason why “amelie” also resonates as a gran-fran movie.
maybe it’s the soundtrack. she and i both have a love for accordian music (“amarcord” anyone?). i even have two accordians that i have taught myself to play (not very well, but i love it). but, i think it has to do with the romantic nature of both of these movies. gran-fran, joe and all of us kids always watched movies that focused on romance. think fred & ginger, “singin’ in the rain”, woody allen’s “purple rose of cairo (before his fall from my good graces).
it may also be the way it is shot. again, back to fellini, the cinematography on “amelie” is just stunning. the anles, the lighting, the setting and most of all the vivid colors.
so, in my 40-something degree-city in mid-May, i say, thank you, gran-fran, for giving me the split pea and a way to appreciate such great films.
The recipe appeared here originally, in October, 2009.
Please do enjoy!
Posted in amelie, home cooking, like water for chocolate, nostalgia, split peas | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment