Dinner at five
Post what you shoot, or, shoot what you post…do I shoot with posting in mind?
Ah! Everyone makes fun of me. Everyone notices. Most comment. No one minds a bit if you “iPhone.” But, a camera is a production statement. Important?!
I shoot. And a lot of times I forget… to shoot. We forgot (to shoot) the cole slaw. Oh! Stop the presses! … it’s complicated. Colleen tolerates me. Does anything else matter?
We have embarked on a dinner series. I am making dinner for 4 or more. We play games after dinner. Fun!!
The pantry is dwindling. We have fewer leftovers. I am practicing portion control. It’s not really one dinner but two. Colleen is vegetarian. So, no meatloaf for her. Spontaneity reigns. We were ready early. Make biscuits… done. Grilled veggies, yes, over the grill, dummy, not under it. She sent me out for daffodils for the center place setting. Why not? It’s mashed, silly. And asparagus – overdone and mushy – well, no one complained… all gone. Beans – good (tasty) for you. Coconut custard pie – don’t ask – it’s so good but bad for you – a whole stick of butter. Apples on your meatloaf, it’s Colleen’s recipe. Yum! The best? Potato cakes for breakfast with the leftover mashed. Yes, we made enough. It was an excellent meal!
Quick! A substitution. Colleen thinks it poor taste to “diss” Jane. Delete post. Make up a new one. Ok!
I’m not nuts. I am not a nut. I am….
I have been a surgeon. And yet I am squeamish breaking down a lobster. Imagine! Me? Really?! Yup. No fun! You start by pulling off its head!!
They happened to catch a large tuna the same day we were there. We saw it. I was a brain surgeon. Guts have no appeal for me. Yeah, and brains do? Nuts
Meanwhile, a substitution so as not to “diss” Jane. Colleen doesn’t love eating lobster but will force herself if I do the dissection. Great! If you got my deleted post, ignore the “dis.” I meant no harm. Honest.
It’s a lot of pieces that had to fall perfectly into place…. A five hundred mile plus driving day some of it in a driving rain!
I should not have answered the phone… Covid! It culminated in dinner in an old haunt on Staten Island with an old friend.
Long story? Short! The kid got Covid. He only had the sniffles. An abundance of caution later and he was ++. Isolated in a nearby hotel, he now needed a ride to the airport for his flight home – spring break. I am not close by. … a trip to the museum, the pick up, and the drop off. 500+ miles later we were home. We made lemons/lemonade by having dinner on the way home. Ginny and I have been friends for too many years to honestly say…. So I won’t. The food? No! … the company of friends. not the food. Priceless!
Dinner at five
No constraint. No restriction…?! Oh boy!
Are there any straight meat and potatoes people? Vegetarian. Diet. And so on and on….
Two entrees – beef stew and vegetable stew… two noodles too. Two desserts. There has to be a cake for a birthday party. And a fruit tart for the diet conscious. At least the birthday girl put on the tiara without too much squawk. It was a good meal. No one went away hungry. The big lesson for me is that I am learning to cook with portion control…. Not too many leftovers.
Fun with food
We finished the meal so fast that there were no pictures of the food or the guests. Sort of. Ah! Sweet potato, scalloped and stacked differently.
The prelude was a different story. It was not a good day – to cook. I stuck the ham in the oven to hold it somewhere off the counter till I was ready to bake it. Colleen had the kitchen till noon and made a pumpkin pie for dessert. She preheated the oven. (You can see where this sad tale is going – South!!!) An odd smell wafted thru the kitchen. Yup!! The plastic wrapping for the ham melted all over the oven. Thick smoke filled the room for the rest of the afternoon. I/we still had to bake. Melted!! The ham juice and plastic were everywhere on the bottom of the oven. Great! (Grrrrr…!!) Colleen blew the pie crust. I had to go for more ham and return once again to the grocery for another pie crust. The meal from hell!
Don’t laugh. She also mistook a frozen phyllo dough for puff pastry. No harm, no foul. I recovered to make another spectacular dessert. Healthy! It was full of fruit! – and whipped cream.
Non sequitur – we were out to eat and came across a shop window. Mo’s art – ha ha. See, everything was not lost. No cats were harmed in the production of this meal….
Out of the blue
Colleen is my “laundry fairy.” All my clothes disappear and return to my drawer clean about once a week…. She makes me go to her guild meetings. She has me demonstrate spinning at her fiber festivals. I get to wear the product of her weaving skills. She let me have another cat (eight). …loves to eat out.
Ginny called Colleen. Ginny, too, is reading my blog. She called – out of the blue – to thank Colleen for taking care of me. Did I mention Ginny is the “little sister” who gets kicked to the side and ignored by Don and myself? Don? Don’t ask. Big girl panties. He once got Ginny a pair – size 99 extra large – as a joke(cheap, at Walmart). We do love her dearly, but we would never ever tell her. (Shhhhh…)
So, out of the blue, Ginny called Colleen to thank her. Touching. Sweet. Touching. Have I, did I, mention that all love is appreciated. Thanks kid.
Valentine’s Day. Colleen picked the venue. It was all decorated up for the day. The lobby had a resident parrot who greeted us. We arrived early. Mistake. The restaurant was running far behind and our wait was more than an hour past our reservation time. Did they run out of food? We were nearly past closing time by the time we were seated. Dinner was superb right down to dessert. Colleen loved every minute of the evening including the quiet fireside sit in the lobby.
Would you believe…? Colleen got this to grow! She sprayed it faithfully and it grew to a giant!
A recipe? It’s an oyster mushroom. Flavorful! Our new antique egg beater was pressed into service. Home fries. Sauteed mushroom. And then one fine egg omelet with mushroom, pepper, and cheese. A feast! One mushroom… a whole lotta fun.
It was one of those days… out and about. We went to the Ag museum, and, to lunch. We had not been back to this restaurant in a while and were greeted warmly upon our return. It’s good to be returning to the old haunts. And, the price of gas has fluctuated – one minute $3.59 and the next $3.17. There is no rhyme or reason to the madness. Collusion? Price fixing? Everyone has the same price! There oughta be a law…
Mexican food. We’ve all had it. Fajitas. Yes, had that too. How much? $64 for two? A bit steep in price! But… Mike ordered it (for two) for himself. Steak, chicken, or shrimp. He ordered steak for two. (two people, two portions, both steak) Ok! There was an upcharge for steak to $96 dollars! And they never mentioned the upcharge. Drinks were $15 for margharitas. The wait to get seated was 45 minutes. As we sat they told us to expect to leave within 90 minutes. Oh boy! Go away… and never come back. We did not! Agave!
Chinese – Delicious Fusion. Soup dumplings? Scallion pancakes! Smiles. Fun. Good meal.
Jen is a good sport and always positive. Colleen and she smiled all the while waiting to experience a good Mexican dinner. Sorry.
I have said it before. Colleen likes to eat out. She cooks. Sure! But eating out is like a mystery. You never know what you are getting. Mostly good. Always fun. Have we had a bad meal? Well, the company counts for 99%. Smiles abound. Some food is better than others… like that time we went to the Mexican place…even now Colleen’s smile is infectious.
Cincinnati is big. There must be a dim sum restaurant? The internet gave me the “10 best.” The web page showed me “3.” Ha ha! But we found one. It serves from the menu during the week and from rolling push carts (traditional) on the weekend. You need a certain volume of customers to do the carts. Familiar with the style? It consists of small plates that are shared and eaten. You choose the plates from the passing carts and eat contentedly of your choices. At the end of the meal you pay a set price per plate. Easy. Fun. And there are a lot of options to try!
Mexican? Lots of options. Hot pepper! Otherwise I do not find much subtlety in the flavors. Try as I might, the cuisine is not for me. Sorry.
Yeah, yeah, I was born Chinese. Soy sauce must be in my veins.
Colleen recalled an old recipe that she had had a lot of fun with many years ago. It is called 30 day cake on the internet. It takes 50 if you have to make the starter. And so we embarked on a 50 day cake after our trip to Maine. We bought a crock. It was the container that triggered Colleen’s memory recipe. The mashed fruit was stirred once a day for…and finally we had a starter and two cakes worth of fruit. Fruit cake? Nope! Different! Good?! Hmmm, emphasis on good!!
And, of course, ya gotta have a friend. Friendship? After 50 days you have the fruit ingredients plus starter for future cakes. You share the starter and hence the term friendship. Lovely. It’s good to have friends.
You’re never gonna see my kitchen this neat again. The first frost. Dawn. The thanksgiving countdown. Covid is over. At least we are unrestrained and there has been a cooking explosion in my house in response to three years of deferred holiday celebrations. We got food coming from all directions. Cooking. Baking. Oh my! Colleen made mincemeat pie… and tarts. Ummm, no can I not have another, please, And, yes, of course, the cats help!
She baked bread. She laughed. I was so bowled over by the professional quality of her bread…. It tickled her so….
Meringue cookies. I had leftover egg whites. Internet! The NYT now makes you pay for recipes. No need! Wow! They came out phenomenal. I kid you not. Jane got a cold and stayed away. Lee arrived a day late. Eric??? Let the family games begin!! I should know better by now. We just got over the worst colds… No one, I promise, will go away hungry.
When I say “neat,” it simply means you see empty counter surface. Ha ha. (Shhh… three big storage bins of food are in the elevator. Yeah, we got an elevator… )
What’s in yours?
Ha ha. My Lightroom catalog reflects what is in my life. Of course! Family! Love. Life. Food. Sunrise. Sunset. Cats. Antique stores. Flowers. Sheep. Fiber. I state the obvious. There is so much. No going back. I wish…. I miss Lulu (Saudi). I love Feather and Spice. …and Colleen. Transformational. Colleen has made all of life worth living these days. I hope the day never ends.
It’s about time for the annual family shot – Colleen, me, and the seven cats. They march up onto the table and I shoot with the remote control and tripod. Simple. Easy.
This year the pandemic is over. Is it? To all intents and purposes it is hard to find many masks and precautions. We are not taking risks. But pretty much wherever we go there are few admonitions or masks. People are still hospitalized and dying. Our social exposure is slowly ramping up. For the first time in several years we will have a family gathering at Thanksgiving. Good luck to all.
I just gotta say…
…to the New York Times cooking department:
Do you have an exclusive recipe? A recipe that no one else has? That no one else can cook without your website and its recipes?
Nowadays I get the screen admonition to subscribe in order to see the recipe. Ooops! Less than a second later another window opens in my browser. Voila! The recipe and a dozen options are there. Pick one.
I liken it to tuning out the sound of sirens blasting up and down the avenue in Manhattan. Someone is having a bad day but the noise is superfluous to my business and I ignore it. For now anything food that the NYT publishes is glanced at and skipped over. No need to read. I just take your food ideas and explore and expand elsewhere. I bet your food writers are just peachy with that.
We worked hard for this one. We could not get here until near the end of our recent travels. Colleen casually mentioned Cullen skink. It is a Scottish dish from smoked haddock. I found a place! It was not to far out of the way of our travels in Maine. Dover, NH. A soccer/football fan had a Scottish pub that served the specialty – cup or bowl! And mushy peas! Ahem, I am no fan of either offering but I made do with other things that are bad for you…. So, a good time was had by all. Once again I was able to bring joy and tranquility to our happy marriage.
Our boat tour of three Scottish islands was canceled for wind and inclement weather. The tour took off from Oban which as you can see was bright sunny and without much wind to see. Lemons? Make lemonade.
Oban is a lovely town to walk and explore and eat a meal. Cullen skink. Don’t ask. We found it in the guidebook and Edinburgh and then we chased it all over Scotland. I just photograph it. We did have an excellent time on a very pleasant sunny afternoon.
The tower is “McCaig’s Tower, also known as McCaig’s Folly, is a prominent tower on Battery Hill overlooking the town of Oban in Argyll,” And yes, we walked to it.
Tip Top coffee house, Thomas, West Virginia. Colleen adores it. It is a place like so many others and unique unto itself. There’s nothing particularly notable – location, friendliness, quality, … etc. But Colleen adores it nonetheless. We have changed our route in order to stop.
Me? Sit? Still? Never.
I pulled my camera for photo ops. …dog in a doorway. Reflection in the door. We sat. I remained busy experimenting with reflections in the glass. Relax? Yes. This was relaxing to just let everything go, to forget about world events and politics, to enjoy the sun, and the company. I paused in my photo catalog this morning reflecting on how this moment of serenity makes me smile in the innocent memory of our interlude.
Kitchen renovation: everything goes into boxes and needs to come out again. A lot of “stuff” has to go. It cannot go back into the cabinets. And, for goodness sake, if you haven’t used it in years, you haven’t looked for it, and you did not know you had it…. Odds and ends, where did this stuff come from? Colleen brought it from WV and I brought my share from NY. And, then we got more “stuff” we did not know we needed; and we did not need it. Got it?!
Ha ha. We got boxes and boxes of stuff going to the thrift store or to other deserving family members. It’s a work in progress. In this case good photography is only good to document how much “stuff” snuck into our house. Unfortunately, our counters are not destined to be clear.
We’ve been here nearly eight years. We tried once a few years back. But we failed. It was closed because of the cold during a winter’s day. So, finally, we gave it another try. We were out of options or bored. It’s the only British place around. I mean fish and chips and mushy peas and sticky toffee pudding. Yes! Colleen adores mushy peas. Really! We hit all the favs. I got coconut shrimp. What’s not to love? A mini cooper in the foyer!? We had a good time. We will return. It just took so long to pull the trigger to try the place.
… new dress? Huh? Well, we found a new dress. I help. Colleen lets me suggest and she decides. It has nothing to do with the classic enquiry, “Do I look fat in this dress?” (enquire simply meant “ask,” while inquire was used for formal investigations)
Dinner out. Alas, this restaurant, this one is closing permanently in a few days. Oh boy! We almost didn’t come here. Lucky! Too many insurance claims for the owner. We had dinner: appetizer, main, and dessert. Maybe not (usually not) dessert, but it was the last supper…. I guess dessert was the better title. Peanut butter pie. Mmmmm.