It’s a rare thing these days not to have an agenda, 45 errands to run or things that have to get done.  Welcome to my perfect Sunday – TODAY – a day when we were not traveling, had little to do that could not wait, and could indulge in a perfect Sunday.

We woke at 11:30AM.  Yes, nearly NOON.  It was awesome.  The cats thought we had died – and perhaps we had nearly died and gone to heaven since waking up with no agenda in the land of "what are you doing", "too many things to do", and "I am just SO busy" is a treat.  So wake at nearly noon we did.

Then we got coffee at our favorite place, The Mud Shop.  It’s a small place around the corner where the favorite color is orange, they play the Grateful Dead and the coffee rocks.  And it’s not Starsucks.  Down with the man!  And up with great coffee served by people who care.

Our unbusy agenda continued with a walk to the "we would love to live here" West Village.  Brownstones to envy, tree-lined streets and boutiques galore make for a happy walk.  And of course we landed at The Three Lives & Company bookstore.  You gotta love a bookstore that smells like books, where the proprietors have read the books and can tell you what’s really worth reading.  Down with Barnes & Noble!  Perhaps today was anti-establishment Sunday…well, so be it.  It was great.  I bought Get A Life by Nadine Gordimer and am excited to jump in.0374161704_01__aa240_sclzzzzzzz_

And of course we needed dinner.  We got up so late, it was now time to think about organizing, shopping, prepping and cooking!  I find all of this incredibly meditative and would love to spend more time cooking. 

For Christmas, we got a wonderful cookbook that I had been craving – The Silver Spoon which is said to be like the Joy of Cooking but from Italy.   It did not disappoint.

We started with a favorite antipasti snack – a simple bowl of fennel with parmesan, topped with a squeeze of lemon, and a generous showering of salt and pepper.  127_2701_1 I always like to have a nosh while cooking.  This is surprisingly simple and rather delicious.

This did not come from said cookbook, but the rest did.  We had the following:

Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi

Chicken Roullades with Sage and Proscuitto

Broccoli with Anchovies

Here are the pics:

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127_2705 There are things I would amend.  The gnocchi need to be small, and it’s fine to let them cook a few more seconds after they rise to the top of the boiling water.  The roullades needed one layer of proscuitto on the outside, though two was fine.  The chicken should have been pounded a bit thinner.  A note for the future, turkey or veal would be delicious.  Anchovies are a wonderful ingredient – the secret of many interesting tastes adding a salty nutiness that is not remotely fishy.  The brocolli would have loved a quick squeeze of lemon.

But no matter – these are notes for the future only, as the dinner was delicious.  Cooking for me is about finding inspiration (in a cookbook, most often) and then making it my own. 

That is the theme of the day in some ways – not living a cookie-cutter, take things as given kind of life, but rather seeking out the small wonders, tbe off the beaten path coffee, the bookshop that smells of books, and cooking starting with someone else’s way of doing it, and amending for our own tastes and preferences.

What a way to spend a day.  Hopefully, many more to come.

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