amy’s birthday was on Tuesday, and we had a lovely indian meal. she’d made me a lavishly delicious Indian feast for my birthday and I hoped that she’d be open to me reciprocating. She was!

I’ve been making Indian food for years, i realize. So long ago i bought Madhur Jafrey’s cookbook, Indian Cooking, and I’ve made quite a few delicious dishes from it.

I know I had this cookbook in the early 90s, so that’s a very long time. I don’t know if you can tell, but i set part of the pages on fire in the upper right corner near the back.

I’m highly confident that i set it ablaze while making a multi-course feast in my tiny little kitchen in my LA apartment. I decided to buy a sturdier version later, and that hardbound one has even more photos but i always turn to this one. I can see which recipes i’ve used because they’re usually grease-stained as well as charred…

I used to spend a few days cooking for one dinner, but for whatever reason, no good reason at all really, i didn’t start making amy’s meal til monday afternoon. Mom, amy and I had spent the morning shopping, including going to a fantastic Indian mart that I’d never been to. This place was crammed with everything and anything you’d ever need to make anything Indian. I found this spice combo called “Panch Phoron” that i needed for a spicy chickpea recipe that i’d never made.

It only called for one teaspoon and i bet nobody would have been able to taste a different if i hadn’t bought it. but now i have it, in case i ever run into a recipe that calls for it…

When I finally got home on Monday afternoon I started cooking at about 2:30. I figured that if i worked for a few hours i could get a lot accomplished.

That morning, the first thing i’d done when i got up was to check and double-check all the ingredients i needed for each dish so I’d buy everything i needed.

But when i pulled my bag of onions out of the pantry, they had gone bad. are you kidding me? i called amy to see if she had any, but she didn’t have enough and was willing to get some for me because she was out anyway. i decided the fastest thing would be to rush to wal mart because it’s less than 10 minutes away.

i’d already been there at 8:30 in the morning, when i realized it’s the best time to be in the store because the few other shoppers were properly masked.

but in my afternoon trip i was so fast that it didn’t matter if they were masked or not, i was in and out in such a flash.

I was home and started in earnest at about 3:30 and did make great progress prepping and cooking some of the dishes.

I had all day Tuesday, and it was all good. Here are the fried shimp and samosas. the shrimp were best when first fried – mom and i had to sample them to make sure they were edible – so next time I won’t cook them ahead of time. Mom helped with the samosas; i’d made them for my birthday and she had filled them, and by now she quickly became very adept at making them professional-grade.

I set everything upon the screened porch and my favorite grape lights added a festive touch.

We sat out on the deck and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. It wasn’t hot, and a breeze kept the mosquitoes at bay.

I bought some assorted cupcakes from Hy Vee and found many many cake topper decorations in my pantry.

Amy is wearing the “june’s journey” t shirt that we bought her; after three years i finally convinced her to try the game and she loves it a lot now.

and the shirt i’m wearing is one that amy had that was dad’s.

and one more september photo…kevin planted a japanese maple in our front yard and our many roses of sharon and impinging on it, so i decided to dig some of them up. as i dug i realied that they were mostly pretty good-sized and the roots were intact so i put them in a bucket of water.

the day after amy’s birthday, wednesday, i had planned to relax after doing all that birthday cooking but instead decided to start planting the bushes in mom’s yard.

i’d thought there were about a dozen plants, but there were actually 23. Yeah, that’s a lot of holes to dig.

Mom helped by watering the ground so i could dig because the ground is hard right now.

when i finally staggered home after a few hours of work i had to take this picture of myself because i haven’t been quite such a dirty mess in a while.

My phone is covering the side of my face where there’s streak of mud, plus i got mud in my ear because a mosquito, not finding any other exposed skin, stung me there.

that was two days ago, and today the weather is again incredibly lovely and i’m about to put those filthy pants back on and head over to mom’s this time to put mulch around all the plants. shouldn’t take so long…

and that’s all on this lovely pre-labor day friday.

ok then,