Another day, another eggplant torta, another Epic Fantasy

The closet-sized Meriden Public Library down the road from us took two weeks to come up with George R. R. Martin’s “A Clash of Kings.” I picked up the big golden hardback on Thursday evening, introducing Kate to our librarian and losing nearly an hour to a discussion (well, monologue, nearly) on town history. Did you know that Meriden only got a dialing system in August of 1973? Before that, there was a town operator, and everyone still used dry-cell or hand-crank (!) phones. (This piece of trivia will, in 15 years, convince any children we have that we were truly born into the stone ages.) Kate and I both seemed to acquit ourselves pretty well, and Betty Ann (“Mrs. Cole to the kids”) encouraged us to stay in Meriden longer.

Spent a lot of the weekend reading the 728 pages of “Clash of Kings” (excellent, engrossing, and unpredictable), as well as hosting a french-toast brunch for various local friends, cleaning the house, finishing up our first swing at a duet-budget, and listing a buncha stuff on eBay. While it’s a little disheartening to realize that Kate’s old china settings – which are still untouched in their shrinkwrap – may sell for barely a quarter of what she paid for them, we keep reminding ourselves that it’s better to get them off our shelves and out of our lives, even if we only pick up $20. Same issue with my old minidisc recorder and my even-older camera. It’ll mean clearer shelves and a couple of bucks we don’t have otherwise, as bitter as facing the depreciation cost will taste.

With Kate’s invaluable help, tracked down my springform pan and cooked an “Eggplant and Chard Torta,” out of Deborah Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone .” I’m loving this cookbook. Roasted a bunch of sliced eggplant, constructed a sort of pseudo-crust inside the springform, and then alternated layers of slow-cooked onions and saffron, gruyere, chard and spinach and basil, goat cheese, garlic, and parmesan. Poured some slightly-thinned beaten eggs over the whole thing and baked it till it firmed up, discovering in the process that my springform pan doesn’t make quite a perfect seal. Oops.

Varied the recipe by adding some veggie crumbles (roast eggplant and ground beef being main elements in moussaka, I figured a little hint couldn’t hurt) and sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced (with all the basil floating around, it seemed a shame not to). With some tomato sauce topping the wedges of torta and some broccolini beside them, we were set. (Tasted awesome; considering the amount of cheese and roasted veggies, it pretty much had to.) The fridge is now sufficently well-stocked with leftovers as to let me take some down to Boston with me and still remain confident that Kate’ll have lots of options for eating while I’m gone. (I’ll hasten to point out that Kate’s perfectly capable of feeding herself without me; I just like to feel like I’m contributing, foodwise, even when I’m far away. Call it a family quirk.)

Watched our third and last in-house Netflix movie, “Hotel Rwanda,” which both of us found pretty deeply affecting. Tomorrow I head south for the week.