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“let there be spaces in your togetherness…”

August 23rd, 2014

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

My husband and I are coming up on our… 17th anniversary? No, 16th. But we’ve been together for 17-plus years now and sometimes, believe it or not, we get on each other’s nerves. We spend a ton of time together, which is how we both like it. On the other hand, he loves the ocean. I love the ocean, too, but I also love hanging out with a book by the pool, or maybe, I dunno, going shopping. Or for breakfast. But he really, really loves the ocean, as in, being alone at the ocean, riding his bike along the shore, taking loads of photos, hiking for miles, traipsing up winding, crazy lighthouse stairs.

This ocean appreciation came as a surprise to me, because when I married him, he was definitely a mountain man.

This scene, from “The Perfect Storm,” sums it up:

Bobby Shatford: “I got a woman who I can’t stand to be two feet away from.”
Captain Billy Tyne: “Congratulations.”
Bobby Shatford: “Then again, I love to fish.”
Captain Billy Tyne: “Son, you’ve got a problem.”

We were having coffee, planning out our weekend, and Steve said something about, “What was that you said, about ‘spaces in your togetherness’?” First of all, I was being a smartass when I said that, and second of all, I didn’t say it — Khalil Gibran did, and I’ve heard the lines at approximately 80 percent of all the weddings I’ve been to.

Ever.

The lines have become, OK, I’ll say it… somewhat trite, along with over-used, but so are a lot of other lines. Shakespeare’s, for example. Which kills me a little inside because I’m Shakespeare girl for many years now. But it made me think… You know what would be perfect? Wedding vows that were a mash-up of Polonius’s lines to his son, Laertes, along with the lines from “The Prophet.” Oh, yeah, honey, now that’s the motherlode.

The words from “The Prophet,” I’ll put into italics. Polonius’s quotes I’ll put in bold. Ready?

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”

“Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame! The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail, and you are stay’d for. There; my blessing with thee! And these few precepts in thy memory see thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue, nor any unproportioned thought his act. Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar. Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel…”

“But do not dull thy palm with entertainment of each new-hatch’d, unfledged comrade. Beware of entrance to a quarrel, but being in, bear’t that the opposed may beware of thee. Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice; take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment. Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, but not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy…”

“Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

“For the apparel oft proclaims the man, and they in France of the best rank and station are of a most select and generous chief in that. Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. This above all: to thine ownself be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!”

God, I love the Internet. Adieu! And Stevie, here’s to the rest of our lives. I love you.

xoxoxoxo

wm

(Photos by Steve Rawley)

Tuesday Recipe Club: Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding, Sweet Basil Cheesecake

August 5th, 2014

Oh, yum. Thank you, Giada. Again.

Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding

Ingredients

Filling:
Butter, for greasing the baking dish
1/2 (8 ounces) multi-grain loaf, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large or 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Parmesan

Custard:
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Filling: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Add the bread cubes and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil. Pour the tomato mixture and Parmesan cheese over the bread cubes and combine well.

Custard: In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper together until smooth. Pour the custard over the bread mixture and gently toss to coat. Bake until slightly puffed and golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pudding from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

Sweet Basil Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Butter, for greasing the pan
1/2 cup (4 ounces) ricotta cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup (3 ounces) goat cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
Pinch fine sea salt
1/2 packed cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
Serving suggestion: assorted crackers
Special equipment: 4 1/2-inch diameter springform pan, about 2 1/2 inches tall

Directions:

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 4 1/2-inch diameter springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper. Wrap the outside of the pan with a piece of heavy-duty foil.

Place the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, and goat cheese in a food processor. Pulse

until mixed. Add the sugar, egg, egg yolk, and salt and blend until smooth. Add the basil and pulse until incorporated. Pour the cheese mixture into the prepared pan. Place the pan in an 8-inch by 8-inch square baking dish. Pour enough hot water in the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden at the edges and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken (the cheesecake will become firm when chilled), about 50 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 1 hour. Remove the springform pan from the baking dish and remove the foil. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 3 hours and up to 2 days. Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan. Allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature before serving, about 30 minutes.

Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the cheesecake with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with assorted crackers.