There is nothing more magical to me than a Saturday evening spent at home with friends and family.
A good bottle of wine
A fire in the hearth
And the comfort of unwinding after a long week in the charmed presence of those you love and around whom you are most comfortable.
For me, those people are my family.
Which on most Saturdays these days means my husband.
We started Saturday pasta nights years ago when our son was just a little guy.
It`s another tradition that began because we had no money.
Saturdays would arrive and everyone we knew would be out on "date nights" in restaurants we couldn`t afford or hitting clubs we wished we could go to.
In answer to that, we decided to create our own version of date night and would make a day out of going to the library to look for new recipes, shop for inexpensvive ingredients, and then come home to create something delicious.
We even went so far as to hit local thrift stores for vintage Italian music, checkered table cloths, and other things to make it special.
Those are some of my favourite memories of our early marriage and I realize, yet again, the purpose, learning, and gifts to be found in all experiences no matter how difficult.
Life is what you make it regardless of circumstance - sometimes it merely boils down to the conjuring of a little everyday magic...
Pasta is inexpensive, and limitless in the amount of wonderful foods you can create to accompany its toothsome brilliance. Better still, it's quick and usually very easy to prepare using the simplest of fresh local ingredients.
The smell of warm ripe tomatoes, basil, and garlic, a glass of wine, candles lit, and a little Puccini playing in the background will give anyone the recipe for a magical evening at very little cost.
So often people mistake expensive with being better. But that just isn`t the case. There are good expensive wines and there are not so good expensive wines. There are also incredible drinkable wines at price points lower that $10.00. You just have to get curious, and be creative.
In wine as in life, never let outside influences dictate the things you like.
Discover who you are and honour that.
Whether it means being tucked inside on a Saturday night eating pasta with someone you love or hob nobbing at a local hot spot - do what makes you happy.
And if you decide to give Saturday evening pasta a little try, here`s a wonderful recipe to get you started...
Linguini with Shrimp and Scallops in Lemon Cream Sauce
* 2 tablespoons butter
*2 tablespoons good olive oil
* 2 cloves garlic
* 1 pound peeled, uncooked shrimp (medium or large)
*12-16 bay scallops
* Juice of 2 lemons
* 1 teaspoon lemon zest
* 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1 cup cream
* Freshly grated good quality Parmesan cheese
* 1 pkg linguini cooked until al dente (app seven minutes)
* Freshly milled black pepper to taste
In a large sauce pan, over medium/high heat, melt 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp olive oil.
Add scallops to the hot pan and sear off both sides. Set aside.
Add the rest of the olive oil and butter to the pan. Turn to medium heat. Lightly brown garlic, 1 - 2 minutes, then add shrimp.
Cook for 1 - 2 minutes, then add the scallops, lemon juice, lemon zest and oregano and continue to cook until shrimp turn pink (another 2 - 3 minutes).
Reduce heat to low and gently stir in cream. Heat for 2 - 3 minutes and serve over
liniguini with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Add freshly milled black pepper, as desired.
Serves 4 - 6
So here`s to good food, wonderful friends, and the creation of everyday magic!
"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."
Until next time...