Sunday, June 14, 2009

A French dinner and some trivia

What a lovely evening. Warm but not too hot to eat on the porch. I turned on the fan to control the fly problem but we were quite comfortable. Sue and her son, Hunter, came from one side of my house, and Susan from the other--her husband, Jay, was out of town and I told her as she left to tell him we missed him but had a lovely girls' dinner. I had fixed a rustic country French meatloaf and hesitated telling them what was in it until they ate it--but Sue picked up the recipe and ruined the surprise. I was particularly worried that Hunter, now nine, wouldn't like it that there were chicken livers in it, but Hunter has turned into an adventuresome eater, and when they arrived, Sue said he was very interested in my meatloaf. He ate an entire piece, plus half a huge slice of squash, but no potato salad--he really doesn't like potatoes. When Jamie was little, he really didn't like mushrooms or lamb--and he was such an adventuresome eater that I figured he was entitled to a few dislikes. The potato salad was a French recipe also--no mayonnaise but olive oil, wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard, with green onions and chopped parsley--I loved it. Fortunately I didn't make a whole lot of it--I would have been tempted to seconds. The meatloaf was really good, and all agreed the chicken livers gave it a different, creamy texture. (Wywy, the cat, liked it too--she snuck up on the counter before I thought to put it in the fridge.) The squash was a big round one my sister-in-law grew. She said she just threw it on the grill, so I sliced it, brushed with oil, salt and pepper and it was wonderful. A very satisfying meal, and a pleasant evening. Hunter joined in the conversation until after dinner and then he snuck home, and we had girl talk. Fun!
This morning, while cooking, I watched a squirrel madly trying to get at my bird feeder, which is pretty much squirrel-resistant. But oh, he was persistent. At one point I looked out to see it swinging wildly, something no bird would have caused. Then I saw him, poised on the tree above it, trying to figure it out. He knocked the lid aside but the tube is too small for him, and he'd have no footing. On his next try he firmly replaced the lid and saved me the trouble. I guess he finally gave up. They are such pests--I noticed one frequently on the front porch and finally figured he had found the way to dislodge the lid to the can where I store bird seed. So I locked it.
I looked out in front this morning to see a flag waving on a pole by my driveway--surprise. Last year for my July b'day Jay and Susan gave me a year of flags (the local Rotary does it on national holidays) but somehow the flags never appeared, and I didn't know who to call. So today, almost a year later, I had my first flag--and I had forgotten that it's Flag Day, though I should remember because it is also Jeannie's birthday. Happy birthday to Jeannie who is in Santa Fe.
My friend Jim Lee has just returned from visiting a lady friend in Tennessee and he reports that they have "As seen on TV" stores there. You know all those adds for vegetable choppers, collapsible hangers that will organize your closet, potions that will remove scratches from your car, and the like? You can actually buy them at this store. Sounds like terrific fun to me, because sometimes I'm really intrigued but I would feel like a chump ordering it from the given 800 number. Maybe the stores will expand to Texas. A good idea on someone's part.
And a food hint: ever get sick from potato salad taken on a picnic and left out too long? I read on an email today that an expert at a mayo factory says that mayo has such a high (or low or whatever) ph factor that it won't spoil, bacteria can't flourish in it. It's likely the onions. If you cut into an onion, you shouldn't put it in a baggie and store in the refrigerator--it's already been contaminated. I do that all the time and have never gotten sick, but now I'm rethinking the habit--except somebody's going to have to grow smaller red onions. And if it isn't the onion, it's the potatoes. That's what experts look for in cases of food poisoning. I think it's one of those things I'd be happier not knowing. I'm always very careful of mayo.

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