Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday trivia

This hasn't been a really busy week. When other people's pre-holiday schedules get frantic, my life seems to slow down. I've got Christmas done, as much as I am going to do, and I'm at a hiatus in my writing. Still have to reread the work-in-progress and make sure it hangs together, but I've incorporated Fred's suggestions and feel good about it. At this point, I have three books under contract, but there's no urgency--one is in the hands of an editor and the next two are written and only need polishing. So I'm sort of on a holiday vacation.
Went to a lovely Christmas party in the early evening--nibbled on such goodies as a brie cheesecake and endive stuffed with beets, carrots, fennel and a bit of salmon roe. Came home to nibble on more mundane fare--cottage cheese, chicken salad, and cucumber. Sleepy--but it's too early to go to sleep. Dogs are fed and outside playing.
I did a moment of reflection today on how comfortable and lucky I am, and I said a prayer for all those less fortunate--along with a resolve to do more community service. I had a pricey dinner last night with a good friend at an upscale restaurant; I shopped in an upscale grocery today and bought luxury items--fancy chocolate bars, Kobe beef, hearts of palm--and then I went to Origins, my favorite cosmetic store--no drugstore cosmetics for me! I bought "staples" but we won't talk about the price tag. I worry about money a lot as a retired person--but today I had a real epiphany about how many ways I could cut down my expenses if I felt desperate. I know there are so many people in the world--in this country--who are desperate, that I feel selfish. And resolved to do more.
Some things that struck me today:
I found a recipe for taking sliced roast beef, simmering it in French onion soup with Worcestershire, and melting provolone on it--then turning the whole thing into a sandwich. But when I went to the market, the deli person said he only had well done beef and, forgetting that it would turn well done in the soup, I said no, I wanted rare. So he sold me Kobe beef--so lovely and pink--for the price of the regular. Of course, there's no way I'm going to cook that in soup. I want a sandwich with mayo, tomato, provolone, and good sourdough bread. This is for Sundaty lunch, and I guarantee Jordan will microwave her meat--maybe we can talk her into sauteing it.
In the current issue of Southern Living, I found directions for refreshing your iron skillet so that it doesn't stick. I admit I've used  mine so much for--who knows how many years?--that foods stick. The instructions say to scrub it well in hot soapy water. I thought soap was a no-no, but  I'm willing to try. Then dry thoroughly and coat with melted shortening or vegetable oil. Of course I do that every time I put it away. But here's the second new step: Put the skillet upside down on a rack in the middle of the oven (place foil on a lower rack to catch drips) and bake it one hour at 375. It's on my agenda for tomorrow.
Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive-Inns and Dives--or whatever it's called--has been in the Metroplex. Of course, all the food lovers have suggestions of places he should have visited--too late! But he did go to one of my favorites--Tolbert's Texas Chili Parlor, managed by Kathleen Tolbert Ryan, daughter of the legendary chili king and entrepreneur Frank Tolbert. Their chili is wonderful and Tolbert invented what one food critic calls the first junk food--donkey tails. That would be sausage-beef franks and cheese wrapped in a tortilla and deep-fried. Dunked in chili, it's wonderful and so filling. I never know whether to order the chili or the donkey tails though to order both makes me feel gluttonous.
Enough trivia for Friday. The sun came out today,and it surely changes one's outlook on the world. It's been a good day.

No comments: