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!

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