Just returned from a fabulous few days away from the urban jungle. I completely understand why folks flock from the north and retire to the south. It's as if the world takes a deep breath and exhales. Then you just sit, linger and relax. The houses are bigger and cheaper. I could sell my city shanty here and live like "a good gob'ment worker" down there. Ya know like those folks in PG County. We had a wonderful time visiting with my college bf and her family. It was cool to reminisce about our 'mighty bear' years. They were good but I would agree our lives are different and better now. She's expecting her third edition.
For whatever reason, I thought we were going to get out to some restaurants so that I could verify my "tea test." I didn't factor in the 2 toddlers and an infant. Dinner out was--completely out of the question! I mean, we could have gone but we, the adults, would not have had a good time. It's like the kids eat 2 bites, then they think it's party time. They refuse to sit still for longer than 5 minutes.
This is the great part about having friends with young kids. They understand and appreciate the value of eating in. And they had all the creature comforts a traveling parent needs. Plenty of wipes, kid-friendly snacks, lots of toys, extra stroller, a mini-van and the best--a playmate for my boy!!!!! My boy hasn't developed his table manners yet. His god-brother was a slow eater, my boy translated this as "oooo, more food for me."
Poor god-brother, had to move his food all the way to the end of the table so "greedy" would top taking his food.
Another advantage to being a "guest" is the royal food treatment. Her hubby really did it up on the grill. He's a very efficient griller. Not all crazy and cluttered like when Chef B and I grill. Everything was laid out in an orderly fashion. It was quite in line with his military background. I wouldn't expect any less. What was really cool were the dual grills going at the same time.
The kabobs were perfect. Veggies firm yet tender with a delicious wood smoked flavor. The meat was cooked to a nice medium. I'll admit, the man has some skill. (Yes, --Chef B--he's calling you out!) The marinades made the meat dishes. Pretty impressive. And no, he didn't give up the recipe.
Slam (college bf) made some freaky-cranberry-cheesy-turkey-crusty thingy. At first, it looked a bit like baby yak. But then when it was all put together and cooked...yummy! It was like eating an overstuffed croissant with warm turkey salad. The cranberry balanced out the salt of the turkey without being to sweet. I had 2 and half servings. She said it was easy to make, but it looked rather complex to me. I know it requires one of those Pampered Chef stones. Anybody having a party soon? Invite me...thx. I'd like to try that dish with taco meat.
I have always had an obsession with cookbooks. I am not a good cook. Honestly, I don't like to cook. I consider it one of those necessary evils in life. However, you wouldn't think this if you saw my bookshelf. It's loaded with cookbooks. When my Aunt Lois passed, folks were ravaging her place for jewels, crystal, money...I knew what she valued most. Her precious cookbooks. She loved them. She loved to cook and entertain. She once told me (in reference to her cookbooks) "you can't have these now but when I die, they are yours." She was true to her word. There was no way I could load them all on the truck. My sister, mother and other family members shared the lot of them. There were literally hundreds of cookbooks. Even a 1st edition Julia Child's!!!! I love to read recipes, the back story of the writer, the history of the cuisine, look at the pretty pictures, dissect the recipes for accuracy and proper instruction. But I don't like to cook. I know --weird.
Any culinary professional and/or (serious) home cook will tell you, baking is on the other side of the culinary universe from cooking. That being said, I do like...really, really, like to bake. The sweet tooth trumps my laziness in the kitchen every time. It's like grand baking central at my house from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I even have an annual baking and craft day for the kids.
When I visit folks, I often, take a peek at their cookbooks. My BF had an awesome southern style cookbook from a woman who owned a boarding house out of Savannah, GA (http://www.mrswilkes.com/). Old-fashioned southern cookbooks are the best because they are real simple. A list of quality easy to find ingredients and very simple cooking instructions. You are not intimidated to try something new and different. They aren't filled with fancy pictures or cool culinary techniques. Most of the dishes in this particular book can be prepped in 7-12 minutes and then cooked in 30 minutes or less.
We are having family dinner on Sunday, I plan to test run a sweet recipe from the book. I'll let you know how it comes out.
I've had way to much screen time today. I'm going to dive into my new (low tech) hobby. Just picked up a magazine on scrapbooking. I heard it's like really good chocolate . . . dangerously addictive!
Just up my alley;-)