Friday, October 09, 2020

Lots of cooking, a Zoom reminder, and the wine bar of my dreams

Lamb Ragu

We had a domestic invasion of sorts this past week. Some critter died either under the kitchen in the main house or in the wall. The result was an insufferable odor that lingered for days. And made Christian reluctant to cook when he came home in the evening. So I’ve fixed dinner several nights, fixing one old favorite and trying out three new recipes.

One night we had chicken pot pie, mostly because I remembered Jacob liked it so well once before that he used a strawberry to wipe up the sauce. When we told him that this time, his response was predictable: “That’s gross.” Another night, chicken piccata. Jacob loves his dad’s version, and I was hoping he would like mine as well. Actually I ignored the recipe I’ve used for years and tried one I found online. Because I can’t fit four chicken tenderloins into my skillet at once and because I was afraid the amount of meat was a bit skimpy, I cut it into chunks and browned it in two separate batches, then combined it to reheat in the sauce. Jacob liked it well enough to claim the small bit leftover.

One night we had a quick and easy lamb ragu—that’s what the recipe said, but when I cook these days, mostly seated in my walker, nothing is quick. And things get spilled a lot. But the recipe was fairly straightforward, so the easy part was true. And it came out with a velvety texture that I really liked.

My tour de force was a deviant version of skillet spanakopita, and if you read last night’s blog, you know about it. If not, you can check it out at I don’t want to repeat myself. I posted the picture of it on the Facebook page for the New York Times Cooking Community and so far I got 170 likes and about 20 comments. I am in danger of getting the swelled head, except I probably have to credit Jordan’s photography as much as my cooking.

Tonight’s potato salad is already in the fridge, and Christian will grill our salmon.  One thing about quarantine—we are eating well, and so blessed.

Last night was leftovers or, as we call it, dinner on your own, because I wanted to Zoom attend a 6:30 meeting of the Tarrant County Historical Society. I connected to the meeting without a problem—I really am getting better at this—but couldn’t figure out why my picture didn’t show. A few minutes in, I was gobsmacked—isn’t that a wonderful word?—to realize I hadn’t pulled out my laptop. There’s obviously no camera on my remote monitor, so to participate I have to open the laptop so the camera can see me! It’s a bit of a problem with my new computer set-up, but I will figure it out and remember this learning lesson for when I’m on a panel next week for a big national mystery fan convention.

And the bar—I’ve not been to many bars in my life. Back when I was single and head over heels about my first love, they were still called cocktail lounges. I can still see one in my mind—dark, soft music, leather booths with high backs for privacy. But bars? The crowded, raucous kind authorities want to keep closed these virus days? Not for me, though my grown kids more than once suggested I might meet an eligible man in one. Eligible? At any rate, I’ve found online a bar that intrigues me. It’s the Bookbar in Denver—a wine/book bar. When you belly up to the bar, you find yourself at a long, chest-high bookcase crammed with books. My idea of heaven—books and wine. I tried to copy the picture, but the internet didn’t cooperate. So here I sit with a new book on my Kindle and a glass of wine at hand. Almost Heaven. (My friend Linda will get that if she reads this.)


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