Friday, May 29, 2009

Working from home

Today there would be no one else in my office and I had portable work, so I decided to work from home. But then a couple of things popped up that needed to be done at the office, so I went to the grocery and then the office. Then I came home and spent the morning at my desk, doing both office work and my own. But my well planned day went awry when Jordan called at noon and asked if I wanted to nap at her house. Jacob was a school reject, "not feeling well." I said no, but he could nap here, so that's what happened. After he got here he seemed to brighten up and drank milk and water, played a bit, and watched the Disney channel. But good thing that he is, when I said nap time, he toddled off to his bed--and slept not quite three hours. I got in a little more work and a nap, and then his evening babysitter came to take him home.
Good dinner tonight--a lamb chop, which I love anyway. I had seen somewhere something about topping steak with horseradish and goat cheese, and I figured it would work just as well on a chop. It was good but next time I think I'll just stick to goat cheese--great topping for lamb. I think I made it on my Weight Watchers points today.
The mystery that I just finished is State of the Onion, by July Hyzy. The protagonist is an assistant chef at the White House, hoping to be appointed Executive Chef when the current chef-in-charge retires. But events and people keep putting her on the wrong side of things. She runs into terrorists and eventually becomes the target of a hired assassin. Her love interest, one of the president's CIA detail, disapproves of her involvement, even though he also wants to protect her. It's a good mystery, but the glimpses into the White House kitchen are fascinating. If memory serves, author Hyzy eventually got a private tour of the kitchens in the mansion, and she appears to have done her research well. One of the points she makes clear is that the staff begins preparing for state dinners weeks in advance--researching food laws of different cultures (in this book some of the guests are Muslim and some Jewish and for on the actual night their personal chefs are brought in), allergies of the guests, etc. Then sample dishes are presented to the First Lady. Hyzy also points out there are two very different kinds of cooking done--state dinners and the personal preferences of the First Family then in residence--the Kennedys liked haute cuisine, Presidents Carter and Johnson preferred southern cooking, and George W. Bush requested very simple food.
At the back of the book there are recipes--I particularly liked stuffed cucumbers--it's hard--or tedious--on KIndle to go back to the last chapter where the recipes are but I got some ideas. You "stuff" cucumbers for an appetizer, by putting filling between two slices. Sort of a cucumber sandwich without bread! Add garlic and I think pine nuts, though I'm not a fan of the latter.
There is a second book in the series, Hail to the Chef, but I have a sneaky feeling I've read it and will have to wait for the next in the series. A nice thing about Kindle is that you can order the first chapter free to peruse, so I ordered the first chapter to see if I've read it. I've spent way too much money in the past buying books I've already read.
After finishing that book (honest I did work today!) I looked at a sample I'd ordered and decided I didn't want to read it. So no charge incurred--I simply erased it.

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