And today, out the door again (proof, at left, ha), I have lunch with my aunt Marge - my aunts Mary and Marge both drive in to Minneapolis from Willmar to get their hair done, which is lucky for me, because I get to meet up with them for lunch when they do (although I had to miss Mary and Brucie last week because Nathan was sick). Today we're eating at Kozy's, at the Galleria, a relatively new spot that I've been meaning to try. It's always fun to see Marge! (I had the funniest thing happen upon waking this morning - my usual thoughts, what day is it... what do I have going on today... I groggily opened my eyes, and the first thing I saw was the word "Marjorie" on the book at my bedside, The Woman at the Washington Zoo by Marjorie Williams, and I thought, oh! Lunch with Marge! Hurray!)
Not quite sure yet what the dinner plan is, I'll have to see how big my lunch is and go from there...
Seeing Marge at lunch was awesome, as I expected. She is so lovely, definitely a day brightener. She reported that my uncle Jim and cousin Kim are sick too - everyone's going d..o..w..n... So irritating. We Need Spring! We Need Spring! I stopped at the store on my way home to pick up a few ingredients for dinner and also bought myself a basket of forced bulbs - I need something fresh and blooming in this house! We Need Spring!
I'm not making a particularly spring-y dinner tonight (although tomorrow night I'm planning lamb chops and asparagus...). Swedish meatballs (recipe posted in comments, below). Nathan loves them, and so do I. John, not so much, but he won't be with us for dinner so it's a perfect night to make them. I'd happily have them with mashed potatoes (prrrrr...), but then I lose Nathan, so I'll go with egg noodles. And a salad, I could use a salad. Definitely getting back an appetite for real food. Yes!
Good meatballs, nice. Happy Natie, can't beat that. Have a good night!
So, today, I'll soothe myself with yet another bath, cup of tea, perhaps some soup. My appetite is nil, sorry, no inspiration recipe-wise. You never know, though, I'm inspired to start cooking at very odd times. I did a fair amount of cooking over the week just to keep my spirits up, even though I couldn't taste much. I've lost even that motivation as this has dragged on, but I'm ever hopeful that my sense of taste, and appetite, will return and then I'll start flipping through cookbooks...checking for ingredients...stay tuned!
I cooked! I ate! I'm alive! I even had half a glass of A to Z Pinot Noir (taking it very easy there, but it did taste good...). I lay in bed all day, rested and watched movies instead of trying to get things done, and I really do feel better. Unbelievably cool food scene in the movie Spanglish (otherwise just OK), I noticed in the credits that Thomas Keller was the food consultant. No surprise there, the chef and restaurant in the movie imply French Laundry all the way. Mmmmm...French Laundry. Napa Valley. Heaven on Earth. But here I am, in Minnesota, slowly reemerging - I think. I keep reclaiming my health, only to fall again. But this time, I really do feel better. Simple dinner, three small homemade tortillas topped with avocado, raw onion, sprinkle of chipotle chili powder, coarse salt, squeeze of lime. That's it. Warm, cool, crispy, creamy, little spicy heat - oh thank you, thank you, my sense of taste is coming back! It's very depressing to not taste food. When I make a full recovery I can tell I'm going to be chomping at the bit - New York, California, something mind-blowing. It probably won't happen, I'll just have to think about trips past. That's OK. To have a peek into feeling like myself again, I'm grateful enough for just that.
Today I have some major menu-planning to set my mind to. My stepdaughter A's Bat Mitvah is coming up at the beginning of April, and we're hosting a cocktail party/reception afterward (while she's at her big dance party) for about 60 friends and family. I've decided I'm going to prepare the food myself, which is probably insane, but that's the plan. I do love to throw parties, and we'll keep this relatively simple since it's an after-dinner affair, so it really will be more fun than chore. The biggest chore-factor will come from getting the house ready, sigh, I've got several unfinished projects around here. Several. Well, that's what entertaining is for, right? To get together with family and friends? Hell no! To get the house cleaned and fixed up! If not for the pressure of a few parties per year, I'd get nowhere. Seriously lame, but true.
(L-R: Dad & Amanda; Mary, Jean, Marge, Kathy; Mary, mother of the groom; Bruce, Michael, & Craig; Bowen & Stacey; Kim, the photographer)
Another forcibly quiet day for me (still sick, boooooo), although I am, for absolutely sure, ha, running over to the store today to grab a steak for dinner tonight. I won't feel much like eating it, but we have both kids tonight and I want to put something decent on the table. I'm thinking sauteed broccolini and crispy oven-roasted potatoes as well. Nathan worked his butt off over the last few days and got all caught up with the homework he missed when he was sick last week, so we should have a relatively relaxed night. It'll be nice. What with John and A's trip to Florida, and her preparations for her school play last week, the four of us haven't sat down to a meal together for a few weeks! The reality of divorce/remarriage/stepfamilies - we don't get to see each other all the time. And you know what? Probably keeps us liking each other a lot more, so it's not all bad...
And congratulations to Andrew, Rishia, and Baby Noah (here, having a little chat with John). Noah's adoption became official late yesterday - woo hoo! You have amazing parents, Noah, and they have an amazing little boy (how adorable is he?). Knowing Andrew and Rishia as well as I do, I predict Noah grows up to be one funny, foodie man. Is there any better kind?
I did get to the store - finally - woo hoo! Major accomplishment for me, and it took all my energy, so lame. Picked up a flank steak and some broccolini. Potatoes are in the oven, getting crispy. A few minutes before we eat, I'll quickly broil the steak, and saute the broccolini the way I do to make Pasta with Broccolini (with olive oil, sliced garlic and red pepper flakes; just sans the pasta). Kids are here, doing their homework, chatting, and it's really...nice. Nice to be home, with my family.
Dinner's done (we ate early) - so g..o..o..d! Steak, potatoes, broccoli, such a classic combo, for a good reason. It's hearty and delicious. Have a good night.
My cheer-up tulips from Suz are stunning this morning, all opened up and so springy looking! Perhaps they'll inspire me to unpack from the weekend and start the process of re-entering the world of the living.
Oh! I just got word, from my friend Chris, that my beloved former boss, the great Jim Toscano, is retiring from Park Nicollet Institute. I worked for 12 happy years for Jim, my whole adult life up to the point that I resigned (a few years ago). In typical Jim fashion, he's retiring to start another job, as president of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation! How fabulous. But what a loss for Park Nicollet, where Jim has been a leader of and mentor to all types, from clerks to physicians, for more than 25 years. A gifted leader, fundraiser - and epicurean! Woo hoo for JVT! And for his awesome family. Jim is thebest of leaders and I'm jealous of his lucky soon-to-be employees. They have no idea what they're about to learn. Lucky, indeed.
With a raging fever (it keeps shooting up in the afternoon, shit!), I prepared Papardelle with Tuna Sauce for dinner. Impressive, huh? How many of you, or your spouses, cook for you with a fever? That's what I thought - not many. That's how much I love my family (that's not quite fair; half of it is that I am BORED to death, doing nothing all day, so cooking a dinner that I can't taste is sort of a pleasure. Or something.) Tasted good, I think. Some nice Pinot Noir (I'm sorry, I'm too wiped to get up and see what Pinot I'm drinking, but I'm sure it's something we have a few bottles of and therefore it will come back up again) to accompany. As tired as you are of hearing about me being sick, that's how tired I am of being sick. I'll leave it there, it's a bore. And I'll shut up, and go to bed, and give 'er another hope - that you, or I, are not sick tomorrow, anymore. UGH!
I was too sick to record Feminine Hijinxlast night, damn, but it looks like we're on for this coming Thursday, woo hoo! It's one thing to listen to us chicks cackling while discussing poop (and wine, food, family, religion, and sex; we cover it all!), quite another to listen to me hacking and sniffling. Cackling = good. Hacking = bad. We're going to start inviting guests to join us soon...look out! We may call on you! And oh! I got my FH clock, hung it by our downstairs bar. Looks fabulous, I'm so proud of Brian's logo design, looks great on products. Haven't received my mug yet, should arrive today. And haven't ordered the thong underwear yet, which totally crack me up (ouch, bad pun). Soon, soon...
Consider...the matzoh ball. That deceptively-disguised dumpling of deliciousness. They're not pretty, I admit it, in fact to the degree that I wouldn't so much as taste them for years. But my god they are good. Tender, salty pillows of yumminess. I'm not Jewish, and I LOVE them. John is Jewish, and he doesn't. So it has nothing to do with ethnicity - I figure, you're either a dumpling person, or you're not. I AM. Oh my, how I am. Matzoh ball soup is the first thing I want when I don't feel well. And if I'm honest, it has nothing to do with the soup, and everything to do with the mmmmatzoh ball. John picked up said soup for me last night and I loved it so much that I whipped up a few matzoh balls for myself for lunch today. I just happened to have a package of Manischewitz Matzoh Ball mix in my cupboard, which produces an excellent matzoh ball (pictured here). But making your own is a snap and worth trying at least once. If for no other reason than to use schmaltz. Yes, it is an actual thing (ingredient), other than an adjective for sappy. (Recipe is posted in comments, below.)
Garlic soup is a-simmerin', I found the energy to do it - because it requires boiling garlic in water. I can handle that. (Recipe in comments, below.) This cough! I have the ugliest cough in the whole world - deep and loud, it literally consumes me. Tears and snot run down my face, I choke and can't breathe, I pull muscles - once I cracked a rib coughing, while I was pregnant with Nathan. It's this beast that possesses me, I hate it. Be gone! Be gone! (Maybe I subconsciously came up with the garlic idea to rid my body of this demon. Or not. Sorry, a little punchy, bored, and tired. I'm not really a demon-believer kind of person.) Did not bake bread, do not have the energy for that. Am making croutons from bakery cheese bread, nice, dense, serves the purpose. After I eat it, I am going. To. Bed. (And hoping not to cough all night...)
Oh, and a total aside, given how crappy I feel it's actually pretty funny - Nathan and I stopped at McDonald's for breakfast on our drive home from Spicer, MN, yesterday. The McDonald's in Litchfield. I walked in wearing my Dottie mink (the fur coat my mother-in-law Dot gave to me), no make-up, huge Audrey-Hepburn-black sunglasses, black Chuck Taylors, black circles under my eyes (see above), baggie jeans, a fever, and a barking cough. I figure I looked like a sort of insane diva. Needless to say, we drew a few stares. And that's not the funny part. The funny part is that I, on a whim, ordered a sausage biscuit and it was - fucking sublime. I hate to admit it, because 75% of the time I scorn McDonald's (you know, except when I eat there and thoroughly enjoy what I've had). I don't know if it was me feeling so awful, or the perfection of this pre-fab-but-deliciously-homemade-tasting-anyhow biscuit, with just the right amount of crispy, spicy, salty sausage, or some combination of both, but I loved it the way I love the duck foie gras ravioli or veal sweetbreads at Fugaise. I did. I slowly savored every bite. I think I even closed my eyes, the highest honor I bestow upon an eating experience. Washed it down with a huge cup of steaming real coffee - I only do decaf, but I knew I needed something to power me through our 2-hour drive home. Real coffee + sausage + biscuit = perfection. Hilarious. Not moderate, and not epicurean. I've lost my bearings, sigh.
So my best to Michael and Amanda, who are at this very moment being toasted and showered with good wishes and will soon be dancing up a storm. And who thankfully, I'm sure, have not a clue that I'm not there. I would have loved to see Amanda in her dress, I'm sure she is glorious. And there's nothing I love more than kicking up my heels at a wedding dance! LOVE to shake it on the dance floor. Damn. But, never mind, my best to you both! You're both awesome people. And Michael, remember - a Happy Wife is a Happy Life. Words to live by, I am not kidding. Amen. And don't forget to have fun!
I am NOT cooking tonight, however. I feel like I've been cooking for no one but myself for the last few days and it seems a little silly. I guess we are getting through most of it - John took lots of yummy leftovers for lunch today. And I partook of chicken, beans, and rice myself. Oh fine, maybe I will make dinner. Since I'm eating out for the whole weekend, I guess I'd probably better at least think about it...
Oooh, got my Molton Brown Naran Ji handwash today, yum. And a new shower gel, Inspiring Wild-Indigo, also amazing smelling. I'm telling you, one of life's little luxuries, lovely bath products. Last forever and totally make my day. That and perfumes, candles, clean laundry, fresh air, flowers, nice wine, Nathan's little-boy scent, John's closet, cookies - basically anything that smells good.
(From top left to bottom right: Meyer smiles Nathan, Stacey, Marge, Mary, me; honorary Meyer smiles John and Suz, because their smiles are so real, warm, and awesome!)
Kept it very simple for dinner; John had the steak sandwich he couldn't pull off for lunch. Me? A sublime, and pure, turkey, avocado, sweet onion sandwich on whole grain. I savored it, enjoying every..single.. bite. Sauteed the deli-sliced turkey a bit to warm it up, added it to whole grain, plus sliced, raw sweet onion, toasted it in the same pan, and right before I ate it I opened it up and spread it with avocado mashed with nothing but a bit of salt. No cheese - or anything else - needed. Fabulous.
Nathan's not hungry for much of anything, but I figure the first thing he'll want is some sort of toast/bread/crackers, so I think I'll bake bread today (challah dough baked as rolls). Maybe he can help me out a bit. He is a bit b..o..r..e..d with hanging with his mommy, although grateful too. He got the chills from his fever right before bed last night, so I soaked him in a lovely, warm lavender bath (Thymes Ltd.), blew his hair dry on high heat (makes me sweat every time I attempt it to straighten my hair), and tucked a hot water bottle into his bed to warm it up before he climbed in. He was buried under fleece and down and fell asleep immediately. I knew he would wake up at some point sweating but for the time being he was finally comfortable. Not fun for him! Poor little guy!
My oh my, a nice little lunch (for me...). Chopped steak with onions and mushrooms (from last night) on a homemade roll. As John would say, kill. Reminded me a bit of the naughty little tenderloin sandwiches at Ike's. Or the FAB brisket sandwiches at Maverick's, OMG, they are insanely decadent. Good (great) for takeout but amazing when you eat in, with their crinkle-cut diner fries, and/or onion rings. Nothin' fancy, but so damn good. Nathan (when he's healthy) loves Ike's, the burger. It is pretty incredible. Makes me think of when he was a baby, first learning to talk, I've got him on video, in his bath, saying, "Food." That's it, just "food." Hilarious. That's my boy! I hope he feels better soon...
Basically ate alone again tonight - awww... Couldn't wait for John, who will be home soon, and little Nate just wasn't into eating much. After a lovely, hot shower, I made roasted chicken, spicy beans, rice, and an avocado/tomato/onion relish (recipes for chicken and beans are at right, relish is in comments). Delicious, nutritious, and super-easy. Good combo, ha! Nathan had a few tablespoons of rice with beans and a couple of bites of chicken, but that's all. And I think John's going to skip the chicken and go for the same chopped beef sandwich I had for lunch! So I'll be having chicken, rice, beans, and avocado for lunch tomorrow as well. (I had bought the chicken thinking we were having our usual Wednesday night - both kids. As sometimes happens, ha, that plan fell apart, and I didn't feel like freezing the chicken, so I went for it. Can't say I've ever roasted an entire chicken for myself before, but I'm happy that I did.)