Thursday, May 26, 2016

Roasted Chicken, May 25, 2016

When I roast a chicken, I usually keep it very, very simple. A little butter or olive oil rubbed on the surface, along with salt & pepper. Then, a squeeze of lemon over the top, with the spent remains stuffed inside the chicken. Rosemary sprigs tucked under the skin & placed inside.

Last night, I tried Ina Garten's directions, from her Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, figuring hers would be infinitely better than my usual chicken. I skipped the gravy, as I was already overdoing it with an incredibly rich cheese sauce for our broccoli. Perhaps it would have been better with the gravy. I love garlic, but the entire head of garlic called for would have been better used, in my opinion, as a stand-alone treat, to be spread on sturdy sourdough. Furthermore, the thyme flavor permeating the chicken was entirely too strong for me. However, my wife liked it and, if you love thyme, you might also like it. You can find the recipe here, although the version in the cookbook doesn't call for any carrots or fennel and it does include directions for gravy. Personally, I would definitely do the carrots and fennel. I usually do carrots, potatoes, & onion with my own recipe. The onions with the chicken I made last night were completely delicious!

Since the recipe didn't call for any veggies besides onions, I baked a couple of potatoes to serve, along with making a bunch of steamed broccoli and this decadent cheese sauce that would be great for a traditional orange mac & cheese, too:

Cheese Sauce
1/2 stick butter, melted (this could probably be less or you could use a little olive oil)
1/4 c. flour (2 tbsp, if you use less butter)
2 c. milk, heated (2% works just fine---I expect skim would, as well)
16 oz. jar Cheez Whiz type sauce
2 c. shredded cheddar (2% melts fine, but I wouldn't go with fat-free)
A grinding of pepper

Blend the butter and flour until it makes a smooth paste. Mix in the milk with a whisk until everything is smooth. When hot through, add Cheez Whiz, whisking to incorporate. Next, add the cheddar, stirring to melt. Add pepper. When everything's all melty and hot, use on broccoli or what-have-you. Makes 8 cups.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mex, May 24, 2016

Last night, we were supposed to go to my aunt & uncle's for dinner. However, they had some kitchen weirdness and couldn't cook for us, at the last minute. My aunt suggested we meet in Bloomfield Hills, so I suggested Mex, a restaurant we'd passed a number of times and had wanted to try. Y'all, it was delicious! It's a very visually interesting (and loud) environment, with all kinds of neat, eclectic touches. It's kind of a mix of shabby chic, industrial, and classic Mexican touches. One large wall is taken up with paint cans, painted to represent a pair of (presumably dancing) legs. A smaller wall holds shelves of hot sauces, where patrons can browse for the perfect choice to enhance their meals. The large room is additionally divided by half walls with ropes going to the ceiling---this was particularly intriguing to Wee Boy. The patio has high walls painted a vivid green somewhere between lime and avocado and looks like someplace Frida Kahlo might have sipped on pulque.

Our waiter was very pleasant, but I found his menu advice to be rather peculiar. He was obsessed with amounts of food and seemed a bit bossy about the food. When my aunt, who has studied at the French Culinary Institute, interned for Daniel Boulud, run her own very popular restaurant in Ann Arbor, makes & sells what are often called the best baguettes in Ann Arbor, and is writing a cookbook, asked about what the best dishes were, he showed her which section of the menu would be too much food for her and which would be a reasonable amount. He even went into great detail, saying, "If you haven't eaten lunch, you might want something from this part of the menu. If you ate lunch, that'll be too much and you should order from here." It was kind of bizarre, frankly. She was a great deal more interested in which dishes are particularly tasty, rather than what size portions she might get. His assumption that she wouldn't have much of an appetite seemed insulting, too. When she ordered the ceviche and asked if she could add just one taco (they come in twos, with the option to add a third) to her order, he told her the taco would be too much. She was unconvinced. He told her she could order the taco if she ate her ceviche and decided she still wanted the taco. I bristled, but didn't say anything. I knew he'd be making an extra trip to the table with a taco later. When I ordered the coconut caipirinha for my wife, he was cautionary---"Does she love coconut? Because if she doesn't, she won't like it. It's made with coconut cream." I thought, "Um, why would she be ordering a coconut drink if she doesn't like it?" I assured him it would be just fine. She did end up disliking her drink, but only because the bartender was very heavy-handed with the cachaça. My Mex Mule (tequila instead of vodka) was fantastic!

While I didn't like being treated like a culinary imbecile (or, at the very least, a novice) when I write a food blog, cook a wide variety of things, and previously worked as a restaurant critic, the food was very good. The guacamole was fabulously creamy, the salsa & pico were full of flavor, and the chips were house-made. My aunt enjoyed her ceviche (which was not very big at all, although it was lovely and rested on a bed of hearts of palm & avocado salad, with plantains, grapefruit, and a drizzle of pomegranate syrup) and added a steak taco, which she also thought was very good. Jeannene had two steak tacos, with elote, the traditional Mexican street corn with a honey-lime crema (when talking about the menu, our waiter made sure to let us know that "wherever you see 'crema' on the menu, that just means 'sour cream'"---which may have been helpful to folks who had no familiarity with real Mexican food and asked what it meant, but felt really patronizing to me---the assumption that we wouldn't know what it is was insulting), cotija cheese, and chiles. I also had the elote, but chose one chorizo & potato taco and one shrimp taco. They were truly fabulous. My uncle had a scrumptious-looking chicken quesadilla.

When my aunt realized our bill had come before dessert (the waiter hadn't seemed inclined to give us any, but did offer. My wife declined before I had a chance to ask to see the desserts), she asked about it. I was intrigued by the avocado icebox pie, so she ordered that, along with the tres leches cake. Again, the waiter felt he had to explain. I politely nodded through his explanation, thinking, "Dude, I probably know more about tres leches than you do." She also asked what kind of coffee they serve (she specialized in excellent-quality teas at her restaurant, but is also a coffee connoisseur). The waiter assured us that the coffee is ground fresh, but gave us not a clue what actual kind of coffee it is. Despite the unnecessary dessert lesson and the fact that the very first dessert he mentioned, with a great pause as though he was assuming we would just delightedly order that, was fried ice cream, I greatly enjoyed the desserts. In fact, the cake was one of the best tres leches cakes I've had. The avocado icebox pie, which reminded me of a well-made mojito, was a refreshing, creamy custard redolent with lime and mint, on a pecan crust base. A perfect ending to the meal!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Pot Roast, May 23, 2016

Continuing in her comfort food vein, Sunday night, my dear wife did all the prep for a roast. Yesterday, before she headed in to work, she popped it into the crockpot, creating a wondrously perfumed atmosphere for me and Wee Boy all day. When it was ready, it turned out to be terrific, even without the dry red wine she'd wanted to use. I usually keep some on hand, but we appear to have used it all. The roast was a meal in itself, with gorgeous carrots, potatoes, and onions all around it.

Meatloaf, May 22, 2016

My wife, having traveled a lot for work lately, with more ahead, is on a homey food kick. This is a very pleasing thing, as she is making very yummy dinners! Sunday, we had a wonderful walk in the woods with our wee boy. Then, we headed home, where Jeannene put together a great meatloaf, accompanied by baked acorn squash (fab!) and creamed spinach (from the freezer).

Cold Cereal, May 21, 2016

Saturday was one of those nights when we'd had a late lunch and been to the grocery and weren't hungry enough or industrious enough to fix a proper supper. So, I opened the box of Cheerios we'd just bought, while Jeannene dug into the new oatmeal squares.

Bonefish Grill, May 20, 2016

Friday night, it was my wife's night to pick dinner. Since she was just getting in at the airport in the evening, she thought it would be a good idea to stop on the way home for dinner. We ended up at Bonefish Grill, where we couldn't resist the Bang-Bang Shrimp for our appetizer. It was my favorite part of the meal. Jeannene had the tilapia with lemon butter, which I had considered, with sweet potato mash and potatoes au gratin. I opted for the fish and chips, which was pretty good, aside from the crust getting really soggy and floppy when malt vinegar was applied. We shared the strawberry shortcake for dessert---I was pleased to see it came with the biscuit sort of shortcake. More whipped cream than we needed and we brought half the dessert home, but it was tasty.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Catch-Up, Round 2, May 9-19, 2016

More travel has meant less blogging time. Now that I've caught up with all the other things I let slide, I have a moment to catch up. Our most recent trip was to my hometown of Yellow Springs, Ohio, where I was asked by a friend and colleague to preach in his stead. We decided also to have a potluck picnic (which moved indoors when the temps dipped low enough to prompt guests to plan ensembles including winter coats, hats, and gloves) to introduce our wee boy to local friends & family. It was a terrific weekend, even though there's never, ever enough time with everyone.

May 9: I wondered if I should maybe make a dinner with some meat to it, given that our oldest was staying with us for the week. However, he was sleeping off a bad cold, so I was on my own for dinner. I did a couple fried eggs with potato hash, a green salad, and pineapple. I based the hash on a Nigella Lawson recipe, from her cookbook, Feast. Her instructions include: "Carry to sofa or bed and eat in perfect solitude." You just sauté some sliced onion & cubed potato in olive oil with a little salt & cayenne. Yum yum!

May 10: I was running around like a crazy person Tuesday. I'd planned on having supper at Messy Church, but Wee Boy had a rescheduled swim lesson, so I just grabbed an Arby's roast beef, potato cakes, & a water on my way home.

May 11: For my women's Red Tent gathering, I made a big pot of garbanzo & artichoke soup. I took some French bread, gluten-free hummus crackers, GF salted caramel pretzels (Glutino---outstanding!), and a key lime pie (recipe here). I'd doubled the soup, based on the previous month's attendance, and ended up with a ton of leftover soup! Makes me wish we had some kind of leftover exchange in our town! Here's the soup recipe:

Artichoke & Garbanzo Soup
1 lg. onion, chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 carrots, peeled & sliced
1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. coriander
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 potatoes, chopped
Salt, to taste
32 oz. veggie stock
14 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 14-oz. cans quartered artichokes
1 can garbanzos, drained & rinsed
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Lemon wedges, for garnish

In a soup pot, sauté onions in olive oil until translucent. Add carrots, spices, garlic. Cook about 7 minutes. Add everything else, except garnish, of course. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and heat through. Serves 6-8. 

May 12: Wee Boy and I headed down to Ohio in the late afternoon. I'd hoped to have dinner with my auntie, but actually ended up running late enough that it wasn't feasible. I picked up my sweetheart at the Dayton airport late at night and we ended up driving through Steak & Shake, where she got a Frisco Melt and I went for chicken tenders. Their buffalo sauce is not great, but the chicken tasted good to me. I hate their fries, so I was spared having to be virtuous there. It didn't feel at all like a sacrifice not to get them.

May 13: Jeannene and I went on our first official date at The Winds Cafe in Yellow Springs, Ohio, & go there whenever we're in town. It was fun to take Wee Boy there for the first time. He slept for most of it. We started with the cheese plate (it's called cheese service and it used to be, with the server cutting portions at the table and explaining what each cheese was. Now, we're lucky if the server leaves the cheese list with us so we can work it out as we taste things. Ah, well, the cheese is tasty.) and the asparagus aillade (the aillade being a mixture of hazelnuts, orange zest, garlic, and olive oil, which was yummy! I wish i could go back again before the menu changes & try the shaved asparagus salad, as well. I chose the flat iron steak with bourbon Worcestershire butter, which was great. Jeannene, if I recall correctly, had the salmon special, which she loved. I was disappointed in the pavlova, which was served with a massive mound of (real) whipped cream and a very scanty display of fruit. I guess that means I need to make it around here soon, with a bounty of lovely fruit. I had a terrific Pimm's Cup, too. 

May 14: The other Really-Not-To-Be-Missed restaurant for us when we visit my hometown is Meadowlark in Centerville. Meadowlark serves a scrumptious array of things. I like their lunch (nothing better than their fried green tomato BLTs with goat cheese or their Hoppin' John, which is the best I've had) best, but dinner is great, too. On this occasion, we shared a delectable appetizer of cheese fondue with asparagus on toast. That may have been my favorite thing I ate all weekend. I also had a delicious Thai coconut soup and an amazing steak sandwich on ciabatta. My wife had their impeccable strip steak, served as James Beard liked it, with rosemary, herbed butter, and haystack onions. The buttermilk mashed potatoes were quite remarkable, as well. I'd hoped they would have their wondrous pavlova on the menu, to make up for the disappointing version I'd had the night before. They did not, but their rhubarb crisp is always on point, too. As for Wee Boy, he was a huge fan of the (somewhat spicy!) carrot puree they serve as an amuse bouche. I got to enjoy a fun cocktail, too. I can't remember the name, but it included grape-bubble-gum-infused vodka and house made grape soda. My granddaddy would have been horrified!

May 15: We had a great, great, great brunch at The Winds with friends and family (a fab asparagus omelet with horseradish Boursin and a side of Nueske's bacon for me, delish granola & yogurt for my sweetie-pie), so we weren't very hungry for dinner while on the road home. Jeannene had to be up super-early Monday, so we ended up having cold cereal for dinner---I had Golden Grahams and she chose an organic honey & oat cereal.

May 16: We were out & about Monday night, what with Wee Boy's swim lesson & Jeannene looking for cool clothes for a last-minute work trip. So, we decided to catch dinner out. Sadly, Noodles & Co, our first choice, closed before we were ready to eat. So, we had dinner at Bravo. I really liked my Caesar salad, but was less enthused about my chicken scallopini, which was okay, but a bit bland---as in, I couldn't taste lemon at all and there was no evidence of capers. 

May 17: Tuesday night, I made a really yummy Tex-Mexish skillet throw-together, along with a creamy corn pudding and steamed green beans. In a big skillet, with high sides and coated with cooking spray, I cooked a pound of cubed chicken until it was done. I added 4 steamed, cubed red potatoes, a drained can of corn, a drained can of black beans, a bunch of scallions (sliced), a jar of Newman's Own medium salsa, chili powder, cumin, and salt. I served it with guacamole, sour cream, and shredded cheddar for each of us to add, if desired. It seems like it would be really nice reheated and served in tortillas. Maybe with eggs? Although, the whole eating chicken with eggs thing is a little weird to me. 

May 18: Sometimes, when my wife is gone, I eat crappy food because I don't want to bother making good food. Sometimes, I eat it because it's a (poor) substitute for what I really want. What I really wanted Wednesday night was good ramen soup from a stall or restaurant somewhere. What I actually ate was a package of picante chicken ramen soup. Yes, the sort that's maybe 25 cents at the grocery, reverting to my broke college student days. At least I also ate an orange? 

May 19: Still craving good Asian food, I ended up carrying out from Panda House in Lake Orion, which was really good when we first started going there and seems to have gone downhill. I'd not gone there for a long time, but it's close and convenient, so I thought I'd give them another try. Sadly, my pork fried rice was incredibly bland and writhing with bean sprouts, those most horrifying of creatures. I've gotta find good Chinese around here!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Playing Catch-Up, April 28-May 8, 2016

We went on a whirlwind visiting tour last week, spending time in the West Virginia woods with my mom, stepdad, almost grandma, fairy godmama, & friends of my mom's before heading to Edinboro, PA, for Boot's Army commissioning ceremony. Here's what we ate:

April 28: I ceded all dinner responsibilities to my darling dear for the last week Pie & Bubbles were in town before moving to Alaska. The 28th was their very last night here and we had cheeseburgers and chips for supper. I supplemented with baby carrots.

April 29: The kids' drop-off time at the Alaska Airlines kiosk was late enough that we ended up having "linner" (lunch plus dinner in one meal) on the way home. We were both starving and were delighted when a Rusty Bucket turned up on our way home. We shared fried pickle spears, then I ordered a Buffalo chicken sandwich (they use panko for the batter, which is wonderful---and seems to reheat better than other battered chicken sandwiches I've taken home) & Jeannene had a burger.

April 30: We were en route to West Virginia for our monthiversary dinner out. Jeannene really wanted Cracker Barrel, but we didn't find one when it was dinner time, so we stopped at A&A truck stop in Jackson, Ohio. It's also a Valero station and I've stopped there plenty of times for gas, water, potty breaks, but never for food. I've been missing out! I had delicious white beans & a corn muffin, with a piece of blackberry pie for dessert. The pie was very clearly made from scratch, with a wonderfully flaky crust and terrific filling. I can't recall what Jeannene had for dinner, but she had a great piece of chocolate cream pie for dessert!

May 1: My folks' wonderful neighbors and friends, Patty and Tom, invited us for supper on Sunday. Their house sits perched on a hill, with a beautiful vista of 2 counties spread below. The house is completely charming, filled with cool antiques and with a porch that wraps completely around all the sides. It was a bit chilly and a storm came up, our wee boy's very first thunderstorm, but we were able to eat outside. The rain on the metal roof was magical---the whole evening was magical. The food was exemplary, a marvelous vichyssoise, served hot in deference to the weather. Patty provided fresh chives, flower buds and all, to snip into our soup. She also made a beautiful salad, with a plate of stunning veggies to add to the greens as we pleased. We were also treated to fresh-baked rolls, all yeasty and cozy, piled up in their towel-lined basket. We had brought along a store-bought angel food cake, to which Patty added cherry pie topping. A truly splendid gathering.

May 2: After spending the day antique shopping in Nitro, we headed to my 95-year-old almost-grandma's for dinner. Usually, we have dinner at her place the Saturdays of our visits, but since we got in too late this visit, we bumped our dinner together to Monday. We almost always have some yummy vegetarian meal, as my folks are vegetarians and have been since the 1970s. My mom makes scrumptious lasagnas and quiches and bean dishes. However, on this occasion, we had meatloaf. Yes, with real ground beef. I was surprised to hear my mom say that's what we were having and even more astonished at how great her meatloaf is! She did individual meatloaves, in tins given to her by my aunt, Miyoko. The round tins, for me, Jeannene, and my almost-grandma, had beef meatloaf, while the loaf tins held veggiecrumbleloaves. To go with the meatloaf, my mom made mashed potatoes and green beans. Her green beans were cooked perfectly. I asked her how long she had done them, as mine always end up either too crisp or too soft. Her frustrating response was "until they're done." To go with the supper, I made a rhubarb dump cake, one of my favorite desserts.

Rhubarb Dump Cake
1 lb. rhubarb, sliced about 1/4" thick
1 c. sugar
3 oz. package strawberry Jell-o (we used Strawberry Crush Jell-o; feel free to play around with flavors)
1 box white cake mix (yellow is fine, too, and I've been thinking it would be fun to try lemon or orange sometime---you could probably do a mandarin orange one with orange cake mix and orange Jell-o, too)
1 c. water
1/4 c. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rhubarb in an even layer on the bottom of a greased 13x9 baking pan. Sprinkle evenly with sugar, Jell-o, then cake mix. Pour water evenly over the top, followed by butter. Do not mix! I know it sounds nuts, but trust me. Just make sure your water and butter are poured evenly on the other ingredients and go all the way out to the sides. Bake 45 minutes. Cool a few minutes before cutting. 

May 3: We went up to Ravenswood for a visit to my fairy godmama Kay's Enchanted Forest. Enchanted it is, almost as magical as Kay herself. After a marvelous visit and reluctant leave-taking, we found ourselves hungry in Cross Lanes and not interested in being on the road any longer. So, we defaulted to TGI Friday's for dinner. My mom's able to get some good veggie dishes there---this time, she chose the veggie burger with broccoli, which came cooked just right. I am always reluctant to order broccoli in restaurants because it is so often overcooked. We also ordered some fried green beans for an appetizer she could eat and potstickers for us meat-eaters. Jeannene ordered salmon and proclaimed it great. I had a lovely romaine & kale Caesar and boneless wings that came out in two rounds, as they ran out halfway through filling my order. The first round were lukewarm and scantily sauced. By the time the second round came, I was done eating. Sadly, that round was piping hot and nicely saucy---and it ended up staying in the room fridge when we left town. I hope the hotel maid found it and likes wings and isn't creeped out by eating leftovers from someone else. If I were a hotel maid and found cool food in the fridges, I would take it home---as long as I was allowed to. I wonder what the protocol is on that. I know there are a lot of people who would never eat something left in a hotel room fridge, but I would. After all, I ate food my granddaddy scavenged from dumpsters when I was a kid. It's not that it was all we had to eat, by any means. It was the adventure of it! He brought us entire bags of potatoes, sometimes, that were perfectly fine. I always thought it was so amazing, the perfectly good things that had been thrown away. I'm glad my granddad and his best friend were dumpster divers. My mom and I tried it a couple of times, but I'm afraid we're both too rule-abidey to have gotten into it very much, even though we made some good finds. I digress. For dessert, we three dug into some sort of gooey, warm brownie & ice cream concoction. Jeannene was very surprised and pleased at my mom, who she thinks eats healthfully at all times, quite happily nomming on the rich dessert. I will have to remind her that my mom once ate an ice cream sundae for dinner. She does eat healthfully most of the time---and passes on some really good recipes to me---but she is certainly not averse to the occasional dessert!

May 4: After spending the day visiting at my folks' home, Hickory Hill, way back in the woods, and the evening swimming in the hotel pool, we went to Cracker Barrel for dinner. Jeannene finally got her wish and very cheerfully tucked into their dinner of the day, a sort of combination between baked chicken and broccoli cheese casserole, with hash brown casserole that seemed a bit past its prime and corn. I loved my mom's meatloaf so much that I planned to get some there, but they had run out. It's probably just as well. I'm sure it wouldn't have been as good as hers. I ended up with a mediocre country fried steak, mashed potatoes with scant gravy, and corn. Apparently, going in 40 minutes before closing is not the best idea. My mom's baked potato looked very good, though, and, really, Jeannene's chicken was quite tasty. Our waitress was very nice, too, if quite tired. 

May 5: On our wee boy's 6 month birthday, we hit the road for Edinboro, PA, and his oldest brother's Army commissioning. Boot and his buddies had been in the habit of going to Compadres for cheap tacos on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We had dinner there---not bad at all, if not the most authentic. Boot went for quesadillas, while I had chicken chimichangas (much smaller than I usually find, which was good, as Boot had to eat my second one) and my darling had a big burrito. The only thing that wasn't good was the frozen margaritas. The waitress had warned us that they would be kind of watery, as their machine was worn out from Cinco de Mayo revelers. We gave the go-ahead, but probably should have ordered them on the rocks. Ah, well.

May 6: We let the graduate & new 2nd Lieutenant choose dinner on our last night in Edinboro. He was in the mood for wings and said the best ones were to be found at The Empty Keg. By going early, before all the other revelers arrived, we were able to get a table easily. We started with popcorn chicken in cool buffalo sauce (buffalo mixed with ranch) and waffle fries with cheese dip, Boot's recommendation. I ordered a tasty Philly cheese steak sandwich (which was very light on the cheese and didn't actually need it) and steak fries. I only tried one of Jeannene's wings, a standard buffalo that was anything but standard---so delicious I wished I'd ordered them. She also got garlic butter wings. Boot ordered Hawaiian and another kind. It was a nice early dinner. I'll definitely miss eating in Edinboro, especially at Flip. We didn't make it there this trip. 

May 7: We arrived home right around dinner time on Saturday. Jeannene didn't feel like cooking and said she'd either pick up some food or order pizza. I nixed the pizza, reminding her that she orders pizza every single time Boot's visiting. As a college kid, he probably eats pizza all the time and he didn't seem terribly excited about getting pizza last time he was here. My commentary was also motivated by my lack of excitement over pizza. When given the option, Boot also nixed pizza. We ends dup all going out together, to Sullivan's Public House. Boot had never had Irish food and seemed a bit skeptical, but he dug right into his bangers and mash and pronounced it good. I finally got the chicken toastie, grilled chicken on sourdough with extra-sharp cheddar and pink sauce. I'd been eying it for months, but had never ordered it---I will definitely order it again! Jeannene had the same thing she had last time, "true Irish bacon" with cabbage and mashed potatoes. It's a wonderfully juicy pork roast. The waitress last time subbed asparagus, but man, the cabbage is awesome! We stopped by Eva's for ice cream afterward, our first visit this season. Boot loves ice cream. He had some kind of blizzard-ish drink and Jeannene chose a Mississippi Mud version of the same for me. It had good, strong coffee flavor! I couldn't finish the medium, though. Next time, I will instruct her to get me a small. She had a plain vanilla cone, which was fab.

May 8: We'd planned to be in Edinboro & eating at Flip for Mother's Day, but since Boot skipped the graduation ceremony, we were actually home. We tried Camp Ticonderoga and King's Court for Mother's Day brunch options, but both were booked. I'd spotted a sign for Red Knapp's brunch, so suggested we call there. They did have an opening, at 3:30, so we booked it. Now, normally, I like the food there. However, I was pretty much completely unimpressed with the buffet. I'm not a big fan of buffets in the first place and this one made no effort to be stellar. The scrambled eggs were cold, as were some of the other items, and nothing stood out as particularly tasty except the turkey, which was surprisingly juicy and flavorful. Ah, well, they offered pieces of Bumpy Cake as a dessert option, so all was not lost---and the company was terrific! I think we'll stick to burgers and pizza and that kind of thing, though, when we go to Red Knapp's. 

May 9: My dear wife flew out to NJ for work yesterday. Boot went to bed right after our Mother's Day meal and has been there pretty much ever since, recovering from a bad cold and, probably, exhaustion from excelling so tremendously for the last 4 years of ROTC, undergrad, and the start of his grad work. He got his undergrad degree, graduating Summa Cum Laude and receiving a number of other awards and honors, with only 21 hours to go on a Masters'. He was a Distinguished Military Graduate in ROTC, as well. So, I decided to let him rest in this week between college and arrival at his first post. About 10:30, I realized I should probably feed myself and, if he was hungry, Boot. He was not, but I greatly enjoyed some potato & onion hash with fried eggs. I meant to have salad, as well, with pineapple for dessert. However, I got full on just the eggs & hash. For the hash, I just diced some potatoes (not peeled) and fried them up in olive oil with onion half-moons, a little salt, and a bit more cayenne than I'd intended. I got the idea from Nigella Lawson, who ends her version of the recipe, "Carry to sofa or bed and eat in perfect solitude." I ate at the table, but appreciated the directions, nonetheless.