Saturday, March 08, 2008

In the kitchen again

Wow, I'm tired. It's been a grocery store/cooking day. I'm having old friends for dinner tomorrow night--a couple, once my neighbors, that I've known since before our third children, respectively, were born--and those kids are 36 this year. My good friend Charles lives in their garage apartment (that was connived and not an accident), and he'll come with them. They'll pick up another friend, Cissy, recently both widowed and displaced from her apartment by the relentless urge to tear down and rebuild. I remember serving Bill and Sharon an antipasto platter one night that they thought was wonderful, so I'm doing a more substantial version, sort of dinner on a platter--a strip of salmon, an herbed chicken thigh, a half ear of corn, a dolma, and a small baked potato Southwestern style for each. Then piles of cherry tomatoes, asparagus, hard-boiled egg halves, artichoke hearts--all laid out on a long platter that goes down the center of the table (it's a wonderful maple platter that I brought from Appalachia years ago). And fresh sourdough bread at the far end. I've got most of it cooked by tonight, except the salmon. Also I made a brandy/chocolate bread pudding that I'll serve with whipped cream and frozen raspberries (fresh are just too precious). So I did all that cooking and then fixed myself dinner--a bit of spinach, left from the remolaude sauce I made for tomorrow, a half ear of corn (corn doesn't come in five halves!), the excess stuffing from the potatoes. I had bought bay scallops for my entree and followed a recipe that combined them with crispy browned brioche bread crumbs (the brioche was in the freezer), sliced mushrooms (also left over and in the fridge), and a bit of shallot. Delicious but way too rich. I have scallops and potato for lunch tomorrow!
In between all this cooking, I truly have spent the weekend editing. We'll do a wondereful book next fall called True West: The Heyday of the Western in Popular Culture, with only about 20,000 words of text but lots and lots of illustrations drawn from the author's incredible collection of paraphernalia (I keep wanting to say ephemera)--movie posters, book jackets, comic books, sheet music, you name it. The text is funny--and so knowledgeable about the popular western. That was the field I studied in graduate school--though I was in the 19th century and this author is in the 20th. Still I remember writing a scholarly paper on McCloud, the western--was it Arizona?--sheriff who ended up on duty in NYC--and who is duly mentioned in this new text. Editing has been fun.
Rachel Ray is on my TV right now, cooking polenta egg cups with chorizo but wearing a sort of peasant dress with flowing sleeves and a huge dangly necklace that comes almost to her waist, along with a tight spiral bracelet on her wrist. Do you realize what would happen if I tried to cook in an outfit like that?

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