I have really been a cook today. I was up early and at Central Market by 8:30, then home to make a tamale pie for friends tonight, a chocolate "tunnel of fudge" cake for Christian's belated b'day dinner tomorrow night (but I'll serve it tonight too), and twice-baked potatoes for tomorrow. Christian has requested steak and potatoes, and I'll make a wedge salad. Would have made the blue cheese dressing today but the recipes call for buttermilk, so I'll have to go to the store first.
The tamale pie was interesting and fun to work on--layers of prepared polenta rolls, with meat filling between and grated cheddar over the top. The recipe called for a mixture of hamburger, chili powder, cumin, spicy salsa, refritos, and chicken broth for the filling. Always a bit of a chicken, I used a medium salsa (Jardine's), and when I taste-tested it, the meat mixture had quite a kick. Of course the polenta and cheese will soften that kick but I was still glad I hadn't used the spicy.
I'm still reading How the Scots Invented the Modern World and finding it slow going but fascinating. I have a better understanding of Ulster Scots now and the troubles in Northern Ireland, and I can sort out David Hume and Adam Smith and their influence on our world today. I've gotten past the Battle of Culloden and into the late 18th century when many Scots came to America. I didn't know, for instance, that Princeton was modeled on the University of Edinburgh, nor how influential Scottish thinking was on the ideas of independence in America. I'm enjoying this learning experience immensely but may have to quit for a light escape to a mystery for a while.
It's thundering and threatening but no rain so far. However, the air is much cooler, and I'm hoping to serve a relaxed dinner on the porch tonight and enjoy good friends.