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The Stories We Tell

August 29, 2008

7:30 p.m. (Yes, it was really that dark)

The Husband is an excellent story teller, gifted with the ability to effortlessly paint a beautiful scene in my mind.  While he talks, I’m right there with him in the story.  From the sands in Iraq, the ocean in New York to a busted out panel van/truck that honks every time the wheel is turned.  The Husband can make me laugh so hard my stomach hurts or make my pulse quicken with terror.  I consider it a great gift.

Last night, The In-Laws, The Husband and I sat at the dinner table and talked for hours over a double batch of Artichoke Alfredo with Penne , just as we have been doing since they arrived last week.  Each night at dinner we start to talk about one thing, the conversation takes a turn to another something… and before you know it, a bottle of wine is gone and the clock screams “pushing midnight.” 

Jimmy Durante, Frank Sinatra and The Rat Pack had sung their hearts out earlier in the week and the soundtrack of last night was the brewing storm outside.  Lightening cracked, thunder roared and the heavens opened.  It was a beautiful night that had the New Yorkers pacing the floors because they’d never seen the earth turn orange.  It was a night where I wished I had taken my camera outside before the skies turned dark.  I wanted to savor the sky even though I see orangy-yellow skies frequently with these Midwest storms.

Tension from the storm was strong as we sat down for dinner, but after everything was laid out on the table it was if there wasn’t anything else in the world except for the lamplit room filled with our small family.  We spent 30 minutes doing a casting-call of characters to play ourselves in the movie of our family.  I decided Renee Zellegger would best fit the roll of me, but I’m sure everyone else has different opinions about that.  Hours melted away as we sat and talked.  I realized as I listened to the stories being told that The Husband comes by it naturally. 

The MIL had tears of laughter in her eyes as she regaled us with stories of The FIL driving down the street with hillbilly teeth and smiling at passing motorists.  The reactions made The MIL and FIL cry with a fit of laughter.  The Husband and I have similar stories minus the teeth.  What’s the saying, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree?” or something like that.

As the stories rolled on, dusk turned to night and we had to trudge upstairs to bed, each of us dragging our feet because we didn’t want tomorrow to come.  The MIL and FIL left this morning and are probably half way home by now.  We’ll talk to them tonight and see how far they got. 

Tonight, The Sister-In-Law, The Husband and I will pull out the leftovers from this week and have a quiet night.  I know what I’m having…

Artichoke Alfredo
A Cat’s Pajamas Original

3 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 c artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped*
1/2 c sour cream
1 c heavy cream (you may need a little more… use milk)
1 c freshly grated Parmesan
2 T lemon juice
Handful freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Hot cooked pasta (I’m really in to whole grain, so I made whole grain Penne)

Melt the butter and olive oil together in a large saucepan over medium heat, add onions and garlic, cooking until tender.  Add artichokes to the saucepan, turn heat up to medium-high.  Cook artichokes until the tips start to brown.  Turn heat down to low, stir in sour cream, heavy cream and Parmesan.  Keep warm until your pasta is ready.  Stir in lemon juice just before serving. 

Top the pasta with the artichoke Alfredo and sprinkle with fresh parsley.  Serve with a garden salad with a light vinaigrette and a loaf of crusty bread.

* I buy my artichokes at Sam’s Club because they are so much more inexpensive than buying them in a store.  Unfortunately, Sam’s Club doesn’t offer a huge variety of artichoke hearts, they only carry marinated chokes… which work out perfectly in this recipe.  If using marinated chokes, make sure to rinse and drain them really well.  In the past, I’ve used primarily a bag of frozen (thawed) artichoke hearts and it creates a little more mild flavor.  Hope you enjoy!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 30, 2008 00:03

    You know, the more I find out about your husband and family, the more you sound like a younger version of us….and I get hungry when I read your blog….wonder why that is? I need to not do it when I am going to bed……

    Have a nice start to your holiday weekend.

  2. August 31, 2008 15:47

    I’m so glad to have this recipe. I can’t wait to make it but what I really really really want is just to be a fly on the wall during these big belly laugh stories. I can’t think of anything better than sitting at the table with good food, old family stories, and big belly laughts.

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