It was a very strange sort of Valentine’s Day at our house this year. We had planned to visit Las Vegas, NM and stay at the historic Plaza Hotel… but then I was taken down by a mega-cold. The kind of cold you can feel behind your eyeballs, where your nose becomes raw and chapped, and all you can do is lay in bed, filling a trashcan with tissues. It was not pretty. It was snot. Hehe. I stayed home from work on Friday and cancelled our special weekend plans. It was disappointing, because we haven’t had a weekend away since… two years ago, when we went up to Chama, NM to see the trains. I was really looking forward to lounging in our Premium Victorian room, drinking whiskey at Byron T’s Saloon and boarding the dogs for once in their lives!
Clockwise from left: Present-day “premium Victorian” room; Plaza Hotel (left) and Charles Ilfeld Store, north side of plaza, Las Vegas, New Mexico, 1908, photograph by Jesse Nusbaum, Courtesy Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA), Negative 061251; Plaza Hotel letterhead, Folder 10, Box 16696, Collection 1959-036, NM Commission of Public Records Records, NM State Archives.
We’ve rescheduled the getaway for mid-March, which is our engagement anniversary.
Without the energy to cook or go to a restaurant, dinner was in Andrew’s hands on Friday. Whole Foods has a $10 pizza special on Fridays and its one of A.’s favorite weekly events. Their pizza is amazing, especially by New Mexico standards – big, flat pieces with very little sauce and a good amount of spice. Reminds me of New England’s Papa Gino’s, with better toppings (like green chile!) As A. was leaving, I implored him to get me “rosemary bread” – I love any sort of fresh baked bread with rosemary and for some reason, my mega-cold had me craving carbs. I waited in bed, blowing my nose, watching Miss Marple and eagerly awaiting Andrew’s return with all the goodies. What a beautiful sight he was when he came home! And not only because he’s so handsome. He was carrying the pizza and the rosemary bread, and also: sweet potato chips, a box of Moroccan food from the hot bar, and a bundle of violet flowers! And a value-pack of Dayquil & Nyquil! We feasted and mused about how this Valentine’s Day Eve might just be one of the best – and then I slept the exquisite, drugged sleep only Nyquil can produce.
By the time Sunday arrived, I was feeling better, but more significantly – I was also feeling extremely stir crazy. Temperatures were close to 60 degrees by 10 AM and I wanted to swing open the windows, wash away the germs, and have a springtime day! Goodbye germy congestion, hellooooo breezy mountain air! Andrew joined me as we swept, mopped, scrubbed, vacuumed, hung out the linens, DUSTED THE COBWEBS (there were a lot of them…hanging from every craggy, uneven bump on the adobe walls), and washed and washed and washed until the house felt like itself again. It’s certainly an open doors, outside-in sort of house. The white, adobe walls that seem like ice packs in the winter, look soft, and cloudlike in the spring and summer.
Inspired by the outdoors, I thought it was about time to switch out my fall fabric garland with a spring one. After all that cleaning, I felt a little woozy, but I was determined to make the most out of my feeling-better-Sunday. So, woozily, I drove over to Jo-Ann Fabrics to buy supplies. For the fall garland, I primarily used leftover fabric, but I was feeling reckless and spendthrift, so I bought new fabric (with coupons) for this garland. I bought a bundle of neon chevron fabric and a few fabric quarters in pastel prints. It’s difficult to steer clear of Easter-y and infantile when choosing spring colors, but I think the neon chevron helps keep this garland modern. Andrew said he liked it! I don’t know if I’ll do another for summer, but I was thinking of doing a water-inspired one, to hang as a sort of omen for the (inevitably) parched season.
It’s funny how feeling even a little better after you’ve been sick makes you feel invincible. After a busy day, I still really wanted to make this new recipe I’d found: Smoky pasta with sausage. I don’t normally like sausage much, but this recipe uses spicy andouille sausage. Andouille is a smoked sausage, which to me seems more like hard salami than crumbly “fresh” pig guts. (Sorry. As an ex-vegetarian, I still get grossed out by meat…. though not enough to not eat it.) I also purchased the sausage at Sprouts, so it was, supposedly, a cleaner version than you’d find in a typical grocery store. (Perhaps also a result of ex-vegetarianism, I do try to buy all the meat I cook at a natural grocer.) I amended the original recipe quite a bit (you can view it here), so am just going to go ahead and post the whole thing below, including the specific brands I used:
SMOKY PASTA AND ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE
- 1 lb Sprouts Spicy Andouille Sausage, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 yellow, orange, or red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cups Sprouts Free Range Chicken broth
- 1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with mild green chiles
- ½ cup Rasband Farms Heavy Cream (NM Dairy)
- 8 oz Rozoni SmartTaste penne pasta, or other high fiber pasta
- ¾ cup Colby Jack shredded cheese, more to taste
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced (garnish, optional)
- jalapeño, minced (garnish, optional)
- 1 tsp Hungarian Paprika
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp each salt and pepper
- olive oil
1. Pour olive oil into large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage, onions and bell pepper, cook about 5-7 minutes until lightly browned. Add garlic, paprika and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2. Add broth, tomatoes with juice, cream, pasta, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover skillet, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pasta is tender, about 15-20 minutes.
3. Remove skillet from heat and stir in ½ cup of cheese. Serve in individual bowls and garnish to taste with remaining cheese, green onions, and jalapeno.
And hey, there was an article recently about the health benefits of using full fat dairy: “Two recent studies conclude the consumption of whole-fat dairy is linked to reduced body fat.” So don’t feel bad about the cream and cheese! 🙂