It has been raining pretty much non-stop since the wee hours of the morning. It’s also been really windy – not a good combination, around here. And I’m pretty sure it put a damper on a lot of Mother’s Day festivities.

Today is second only to New Year’s Eve for days I absolutely hated working – and it is such a pleasure to be retired and not have to deal with that insanity, anymore. Instead, we cooked a simple pasta dish and watched the rain water the three shrubs we planted yesterday to shield us from our new neighbor.

Sadly, the new folks had a company come out and completely strip every bit of plant material out of their yard and replace it with grass. There were beautiful fire bushes along the fence that were perfect for both sound-break and privacy. Gone. Brick flower beds. Gone. We can now sit out in our yard and look right through their kitchen and into their living room. We kept thinking that they’d put something up to replace it all, but… their guys were back out this week and planted grass right up to the fence.

We headed off to the garden center…

Hopefully, the new plants will enjoy all of the water they’re getting and grow big and tall – quickly.

The rest of the garden is enjoying it, as well. The vegetables are all looking good – and hopefully by next week we’ll be planting our San Marzano tomatoes and a bunch of other stuff we started from seeds. We’re still a couple months away from planting the last of the peppers – seeds my sister-in-law, Debbie, sent us from New Mexico. They’re going to be a great addition to all the other hot peppers out there. I am really looking forward to making hot sauces in the fall!

I picked up some jalapeño peppers at the store the other day that were so mild, I can’t even believe they were called jalapeño. I chopped them up and put them in tonight’s sauce – no heat, whatsoever.

The sauce really didn’t need heat – but I usually like a bit of a kick with my spaghetti – or bucatini as the case may be. A noodle by any other name…

We had an open jar of Victor’s sauce in the ‘fridge, so I used it to braise a couple of chicken thighs and made a really nice sauce. I chopped the bland jalapeños, a bell pepper, a bit of garlic, and an onion… browned them off, added the chicken thighs and browned them off, as well.

Next went some red wine and, finally, the pasta sauce. I put a lid on it and placed it in a 325°F oven for 2 hours. The end result was fall-off-the-bone chicken and a deep, rich sauce.

I’m still weighing our pasta – I probably always will – and made just enough for two. Nonna won’t eat noodles or pasta sauce with things in it, so she got farfalle and the undoctored sauce. Whatever works, right?!?

In the meantime, we’re getting a break in the rain for a few hours and then more rain all day tomorrow. We may see some sun by Wednesday…