I’ve been quiet for a week, at least on my blog, to help my mother celebrate her birthday. An impressive number of candles were lit on her behalf to mark the occasion. The exact count, when all was said and done, I cannot reveal as she had me sign a non-disclosure form the day I could write my name. Mum has lied about her age for so many years I believe for a period of time in the 80’s I was actually older than she was. Twenty-nine cards arrived from friends and family. Each year she counts her haul and saves every one. I’m thinking of submitting her name to Hoarders, the Greeting Card Episode. One party after another was hosted on her behalf. If she milks this right she could still be celebrating when the next one rolls around.
As usual my mother continues to amaze me. The woman drives like a teenager, not necessarily a good thing, recently resulting in a speeding ticket. Although not a feat worthy of a pat on the back, if you factor in her time on the earth it’s somewhat impressive. As a family we keep an eye on her driving skills from visit to visit. Nothing significant indicating slowing of her reflexes or any glaring reason for considering alternate means of transportation has shown up as yet. There isn’t a day that passes I’m not thankful for her apparent tapping into the Fountain of Youth. I have many friends in less enviable situations with their aging parents and can imagine it can be extremely difficult for both sides involved.
On her birthday day we gathered at her favorite Mexican restaurant for a celebratory Cadillac margarita or two and some fabulous flour tortilla crab enchiladas, a specialty of the house. Presents in the center of the table tipped off the waitress to a birthday in our midst so once the dishes were cleared a group circled the table presenting my mother with a dessert with a candle in it. One waiter predominated, obviously of Italian descent once he began to sing. He belted out “”Happy Ada Berday, toa youa” in such a rich, and incredibly loud baritone my mother had to take her hearing aids out.
Outside my window snow is falling. I know. I pulled out the calendar to reassure myself we were, in fact, on the page marked April with the colorful picture of all the lovely spring flowers on top. Hmmmm. Today they predict more snow flurries, thunderstorms, and possibly a tornado or two just to keep it interesting. With the lower half of the state returning items to their shelves after the large quake and myriad of aftershocks, California is a rockin place to be at the moment. All we need are some flying monkeys for effect.
Scientists are saying we should get used to extreme bouts of weather or strange weather patterns. I’d say if this year and last are any indication of what’s to come, we’re in for some interesting years ahead. Today I am tucked inside with the windows between me and the beautiful snow falling but tomorrow is a volunteer day for me so I’ll be aiming the car up the steep driveway and crossing my fingers I’ll go up and not come back down. Life is nothing if not interesting.
Being shut in for the day will give me a chance to tackle my backed up pile of paperwork before it spreads it’s ever growing roots along the countertops until it consumes all life below. For me the perfect horror film scenario would be to be trapped in a huge warehouse filled to the brim with nothing but old mail, magazines and catalogs with a huge mail slot continually feeding in new envelopes. Now that would be terrifying. We shred, shred, shred and yet the pile continues to grow. I’ve signed up on line for automatic bill pay and yet still the number of envelopes I find in the mailbox every day don’t seem to be dwindling significantly. With the price of stamps increasing before the ink has dried on the latest edition, pretty soon it will be cheaper to drive mail to its destination rather than placing it in the mailbox.
Speaking of horror films, or mail, or whatever I was speaking about. Help me out here. Were you listening? Horror films, that was it. The first scary movie I saw was Frankenstein when I was nine. Unable to look away from the screen but needing to lest I wet my pants, I peeked through slightly open fingers as the monster terrorized the village. After that I was hooked. To this day, however, when watching a particularly terrifying scene I still view it through my fingers just in case. For myself, I’m not a fan of slasher movies or anything involving a chain saw. Nightmare on Elm Street gave me, well, nightmares, so I never watched any of the sequels nor did I continue on with the guy in the goalie mask after the first movie came out. All the Hitchcock films captured my full attention, and still seeing a line of birds perched on a telephone wire gives me pause for thought. Stephen King, one of my favorite writers of his genre, provided me with several sleepness nights being pursued by demonic clowns after watching It, and Pet Cemetary, to be literal, scared me to death. I’ve seen every Alien movie and will still sit chewing on the edge of my throw if one appears on the TV schedule over the weekend. The words “Here’s Johnny”, bring to mind Jack Nicholson’s maniacal grin at the bathroom door, and snow on the TV, not possible these days, would remind me of Carol Anne saying “They’re here”, in Poltergeist. The worst of the lot for me were the really gruesome variety such as Pumpkinhead, the 13th Floor, and Hellraisers which I thought I’d have to have erased from my memory banks via electric shock therapy.
I do love to scared, it’s true. Much like life, in a good horror flick you never know what’s going to turn up around the next corner. Smile.
This is great recipe if you have leftover crepes from Sunday brunch. I often make the crepes ahead of time and store in the refrigerator with wax paper in between to eliminate that step the day I make the dish.
Crespelle Ripiene (Stuffed Crepes) with Zucchini Pepperoni Sauce
1 1/2 cups 2% milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 large eggs
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
Place all ingredients but 3 Tbsp. of butter in food processor. Blend until smooth.
Heat large non-stick skillet over high heat. Use additional 3 Tbsp. melted butter to brush skillet between each crepe. Pour 1/2 cup of batter in center of skillet and swirl quickly and turn to spread a thin layer on bottom of pan.
Cook until golden brown, about 1 min. on each side until you have 6 crepes. Stack until ready to use.
13 oz. Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
3 Tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
Mix all ingredients together and set aside.
Zucchini Pepperoni Sauce
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, small cubed
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 cup water
2 Tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
10 slices pepperoni
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat olive oil in large deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 mins. Add garlic and cook for 1 min.
Add zucchini and cook for 5 mins.
Add tomatoes, basil, marjoram, salt, pepper, bay leaves, sugar and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 40 mins. or until sauce has reduced and thickened.
Meanwhile line baking sheet with tin foil. Spread out pepperoni and place in oven for 6 mins. Cut in quarters.
Add to sauce at end with 2 Tbsp. parsley and cook an additional 5 mins.
Place 1 1/2 Tbsp. on top of each crepe. Fold in half.
Then fold in quarters.
Line crepes in shallow baking dish. Top with sauce. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for 25 mins.