The Drama Chef

Prose – Travel – Recipes

Tag: dinner

Basil Walnut Pesto

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She loved plants. Every time she was going to the market, she would come back with a small pot of green joy. In March it was tulips, in April small strawberry plants, in September chrysanthems. They weren’t all surviving for long, most lingered for a week or two and then faded away. Too much water, not enough water, too much sun in this corner of the house, not enough sun in the other room. I tried to explain her so many times that it was a waste of time, a waste of effort. She wouldn’t listen. Her small garden was taking up half of our living-room, we had to manouevre through the colourful pots and pick up dried flowers every hour of the day.

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Last week she came home with a fluffy pot of basil. She had tried to keep basil alive three times before and failed over and over again. I am going to cook him directly, she said in an apologetic voice. Pesto pasta for dinner?

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Walnuts and fresh basil leaves. Parmesan and olive oil. Pasta al dente. Extra parmesan on top. A leave or two for decoration. A walnut or two, for the show. The windows wide open, spring air heavy with singing birds. I’ll do the dishes I said, leaving her caressing the thorns of her small cactus. In the kitchen, a small plop of the basil was left in the pot. It still survives.

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Chanterelles Sausage Risotto

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I used to walk every day during the lunch break. After eating out of my tupper, in front of my computer screen, trying to avoid the boring discussions with colleagues in the cafeteria and the standard gossiping about each other’s lifes. I’d put on my coat, button it up carefully, brush my hair a bit, refresh my lipstick and walk out of the dark concrete building.

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I’d walk aimlessly by the river’s banks, staring at the fallen autumn leaves, at kids being forcefed by nanies and grammas, or surprisingly young mothers. Sometimes, I’d have a coffee sitting outside, enjoying the rare and much-welcomed rays of sun at an otherwise foggy November, almost purring like a cat. Almost.

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At the good days, I’d walk until the farmers’ market, at the town’s centre. Piles of vegetables and fruits, local cheese production, flowers. Sparrows flying allover, stealing cheese whenever they got the chance, at the rage of the sellers. Most of the times I’d just have a look, not buying anything I’d have to bring back to office. But every autumn, the fresh mushroom picked up from the region’s misty forests would win me over. Colours and textures. My favourite were the chanterelles, elegant golden wavy umbrellas. It was impossible to resist them. I’d hide them in the depths of my bag, along with pieces of notes, used tickets and old chewing gum.

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Fake Paella Mixta

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She knew it. A real paella is cooked on fire, in the special pan, with bomba rice, with fish and shrimp that was fished early the same morning, with ripe tomatoes cut straight from the garden. Served by the sea. She knew the real paella, she had eaten the real paella. Yes, by the sea, the salt still on her skin after swimming, the sun shining hard on a cloudless sky whose light made her eyes tear. The sea she was dreaming of in the long, gray, rainy days of northern summers, that were summers only in name. At their best, they were more of a Mediterranean spring: it was glorious, but it wasn’t summer!

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Double Potato Fritters for One

IMG_3384He used to send her flowers at work. Every Monday morning a bouquet would arrive, no card. Sometimes they were lilies, sometimes daisies or lilacs. Never roses. She remembered a small bouquet of red tulips, on her birthday. And a basket of sunflowers after their first holiday together. She would keep them in her office for the week, in the same crystal vase an old client has brought her. Until the next Monday, when the new ones would arrive. Week by week, bouquet by bouquet, months were passing, and the cleaning man was smiling every Friday night at the sight of the new flowers, slowly fading at the corner of her desk.

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Mushroom & Moscato Risotto

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Lila was hangovered. Her headache was banging in her head like a bullet, bouncing from one corner to the other. Her feet were hurting; the new heels have been less comfortable than promised by the sales girls. They were nice heels, expensive heels, but they were made for girls that would go from their apartment down to a car -or at least a taxi- waiting on their doorstep, then to an expensive restaurant, sitting comfortably on a red velvet stylish chair, high back and golden details on the wood. A dance or two, nothing difficult. Then back in the car, then at the building’s entrance, a good-bye kiss or two, or maybe you wanna come upstairs for a last drink?

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