I could live with rain, gray skies and wind all year round. I find dark, gloomy, damp weather stimulating… charged with silence and secrets and the temptation to indulge in sneaky, nefarious behavior, the likes of which you might regularly encounter on shows like Dark Shadows or The Edge of Night (the former I’m too young to have caught, the latter I watched religiously every day… Kim Hunter, cursed movie sets and killer clown puppets? You could have tried to stop me, but how well do think that would have gone for you?)
My noir temperament is definitely more suited to settings like San Francisco, Seattle or London. But I live in Hollywood. Here, it’s bright and mild almost all of the time. Litter-soaked alleyways are exposed by far too much sunlight to ever look sinister. No one wears trench coats or fox fur hats or ankle-length raven’s black capes, except for me.
Instead, everything is ho-hum conspicuous in Hollywood. Not even the sunsets are devious.
So, MG and I will make the best of the predictably obvious Los Angeles summer that is almost at a close. We’ll reluctantly spend evenings enjoying vistas just like this from the balcony or possibly the roof. I’ll work my producer skills to their furthest to compensate for the lack of atmosphere. Candles on the railing. Bernard Herrmann from the living room speakers. Sage and basil positioned to be picked up by the breeze. And an eighteen pound cat we’ll both pretend is the Orson Welles character from Touch of Evil.
Whipped Ricotta with Thyme and Oregano
- 2 cups Sardinian sheep’s milk ricotta (or regular cow’s milk ricotta)
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon fleur de sel
- 2 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, on the branch if possible
- 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Using a whisk or a KitchenAid with the paddle attachment, beat the ricotta and milk together until light and fluffy. Add the table salt and mix well. Place the mixture in a serving bowl; sprinkle generously with other seasonings. Top with olive oil and serve with grilled country bread.
Grilled Country Bread
Adapted from Urban Italian, by Andrew Carmellini
- 1 loaf Italian bread (ciabatta or semolina)
- extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
Preheat grill to highest setting, or put oven on broil and set the rack on the highest level. Cut the bread into thick slices. Drizzle each side with olive oil (about 1 tablespoon per slice), and season with salt and pepper.
Grill bread (or place under broiler) until crispy and charcoal-colored around the edges. Turn and repeat on other side. Remove bread and rub on both sides with fresh garlic clove. Serve warm.
And some movies to enjoy with it: