Friday, July 30, 2010

The Heat is On

Sweltering. Suffocating. Blistering. Hellacious. Hot. Hot. Hot.

Over the past week every afternoon I get into my car the thermostat reads somewhere between 91 and 106 degrees.  Mind you this doesn't not take into account the 100% humidity, which according to the weather man on the radio means that our days are running somewhere between 101 and 116 degrees.  

hot as two rats screwing in a wool sock
hot as a three pecker billy goat
sweating like a pregnant whore in church
and my personal favorite....
hot as a Mississippi leg hound in a room full of corduroy

Chef has a saying for every season.   This summer is brutal.  I lug around The Sprout, who at 4 months old can barely maintain a normal body temperature and immediately takes on the hue of boiled shrimp when she hits the heat...sweat pouring out of her every pore... and of course Lil' Bit who at 2 years old refuses to let me put her hair in pony tail so it becomes plastered to her face and neck irritating the hell out her...which her in turn leads to her irritating the hell out me, which manifests itself as steam exploding out of my ears.

Chef's mom gave us a lovely set of popsicle molds and we have been indulging in popsicles, both virgin and spiked.  Ice cold popsicles are one of two reasons to go outdoors in this terrible weather...the other being to go for a swim of course.  But even the most azure pools are feeling more like bathwater in this heat...which is just gross.  The a tough call.  The ocean is cool, but the sand amplifies the sun making you feel like a chicken in a solar oven.  Lil' Bit...too small to really enjoy the Atlantic surf, likes to sit right at the water's edge which is fun until you stand up and realize that half the beach is sitting inside the crotch of your bathing suit and you find yourself sweating before you can even get back to your beach towel.

It is this weather that makes me wonder what kind of lunatics moved to Florida before the invention of air conditioner.  When ice cubes were a luxury item delivered once a week in one giant block.  My family on my father's side were Florida Pioneers.  Man eating reptiles, bugs, and heat that literally kills people...they must have been running from the law or just plain nuts.  

The heat is on people. The heat is on.  My advice, stay the hell out of it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer Bird

Last night I roasted a turkey.  I happened upon this turkey in our garage freezer while looking for a chicken.  A Chef impulse buy.  I never think about roasting a turkey unless there is some sort of holiday involved, but I am constantly eating turkey sandwiches for lunch and thought...hey why not...lets cook this bird.

It is hot as hell here and the idea of indulging in stuffing, while delicious, just seemed ludicrous.  Nobody needs to eat anything in this heat that will sit in your stomach like a brick.  So I found a recipe on Epicurious that stuffed the bird with navel oranges, red onions, and bay leaves.  Epicurious is my favorite place to find recipes online, bar none. I just pop in random ingredients I have to work with for a meal and taadaa...there is a list of recipes that include those ingredients.

Now I have never roasted a turkey all by myself before. Chicken yes. Turkey no.  I have the tendency to shy away from cooking whole carcasses.  I was a vegetarian for 7 years and it is tough for me to handle them without being grossed out, but it is something I am trying to overcome.  But I rinsed the pale pimply little bird and patted it dry...I even reached inside its "cavity" and rubbed it with salt before jamming it full of oranges.   

It was troublesome...but sooo worth it.  Any dish that requires being basted with butter four times over the course of 2 hours is going to be good right? 

We had a couple of friends over to feast with us...turkey is meant to be shared.   Chef made parsnip and chive risotto and broiled brussels sprouts with pancetta and mustard oil...with a killer heirloom tomato and creme fresh salad.

I am dying to dig into the leftovers.  Some people are not "into leftovers" but these leftovers....these leftovers are fit for a queen. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Love in a Lunch Box

School lunch.  In this case, camp lunch.  Lil' Bit set forth for her first week at Montessori summer camp on Monday, and for the first time as a mother I had to pack her a lunch.  

There is much to consider when packing your child a lunch.  First of all the container, or box if you may.  There are soo many different types of lunch boxes out there, but I settled on a panda bento box.  It is small, requires no plastic bags, and is absolutely adorable don't you think?

As far as the contents go, I feel like a teacher can tell a lot about a parent according to the lunch they pack their child.  I roasted a chicken on Sunday and had a grandiose plan to make Lil' Bit a gorgeous roasted chicken sandwich.  She was going to be the kid with a gourmet lunch so good that the teachers would be envious.  But alas, the lunches at this camp are not refridgerated so that means you are limited to foods that can hold up at room temp for hours, unless you pack an ice pack...but that is impossible unless you put the bento box into a lunch pack...which just seems like overkill....although having the ice pack would open up a world of lunch possibilities.  Something to think about. 
I have been racking my brain as to what to make her for 10 separate lunches over the next 2 weeks.  We don't eat lunch meat unless it is organic, which means it lacks the deli sandwiches we eat at home regularly are out.  In fact, we don't each much of any food that has preservatives so I have been racking my brain as to what to make Lil' Bit.  Thus so far she has had a hummus with carrots and pita for dipping, fruit and cheese meal and the traditional fail safe Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich with a side of crackers and fruit.  Lil' Bit loves pasta so I am going to whip up some pesto, and search for some other pasta salad recipes to work into the mix.

When I was a kid, my mom was a working gal, and while she did pack us lunches on occasion we usually ate from the school meal plan.  When Mom did make us lunch she always wrote a little love note on our napkins.  I still remember those napkins to this day...full of x's and o's and the word "Mom" sprawled in cursive across the flimsy paper.  I have been carrying on the tradition, only taking it to the next level.  Lil' Bit gets a little drawing on each napkin.  They are rudimentary, but she loves them all the same.  Today when she opens her lunch she will be greeted by a little dog wagging its tail.

The ritual of making my daughter lunch every night has been really cathartic.  It is a new ritual of nourishment that allows me to really think about how I can connect with her while she is apart from me the following day.  I suppose I have a lifetime of such rituals to develop as Lil' Bit and The Sprout grow into women.  Parenthood allows you to find joy in the most mundane places, like love in a lunch box.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Poisoning of Pumpkin

This is Pumpkin.  She is one of Lil' Bit's best friends, but a nemesis of mine.  Pumpkin is terribly adorable, but can not be trusted under any circumstance.  She is full of shenanigans.

Pumpkin was born on Halloween in 2005.  Her parents, Lucy and Bud, belong to good friends of ours. Her mother, Lucy, a cocker spaniel, had been living with her father, Bud, a beagle jack russell mix, for years. The two dogs tolerated each other, like older step-siblings, forced to co-habitate due to their owner's matrimony.    

Our friends decided they wanted cocker puppies, so they sent Lucy to a breeder to get knocked up.   They watched as Lucy's belly grew and patiently waited for her litter of beautiful purebred cockers...but alas Bud and Lucy had another plan.  When Lucy went into labor and the first puppy came out with spots it was evident that Bud and Lucy had found love, or at least had a round of casual sex that resulted in a pack of gorgeous mutts.

At the time, Chef was opening his restaurant and his dog, Clancy a fox hound/lab mix, the handsome devil, spent most of his days and nights alone.  I told Chef that Clancy needed a sidekick to keep him company at home, and Pumpkin was the perfect fit. 

I often find Pumpkin standing on top of our kitchen table eating any food left unattended.  If Lil' Bit has food in hand, lets say a piece of cheese, Pumpkin will sneak up behind her and gently snatch it from her little fingers.  Pumpkin enjoys diapers as well as other bathroom garbage can goodies, and can always be counted upon to act as a mini vacuum cleaner whenever Lil' Bit sits down for a meal.

Most recently, Pumpkin's last snack attack resulted in a phone call to the vet.  After a particularly harrowing day Chef brought me home a lovely chocolate bar.  Organic 80% cocoa with seasalt and hazelnuts. I nibbled on it and left it on our coffee table.  I went into the other room to check on The Sprout, and when I returned there was nothing left but the paper wrapper.  The little bitch was stretched out on the floor looking lethargic, yet satisfied.

Pumpkin is a small dog, and it was a pretty large chocolate bar she had ingested.  It was highly likely that her little snack attack could poison her...although death by chocolate is not a bad way to go if you ask me. 

The veterinarian told us to pour hydrogen peroxide down her throat to get her to vomit.  This is what we did...and the poor pup puked a puddle of muddy foam all over our porch.  The she went and hid behind the rocking chair for fear of another bubbly shot from the brown bottle.

Pets are seemingly always eating things they shouldn't.  This is the second time I have been witness to the hydrogen peroxide treatment to avoid poisoning.  The first time was my friend's dog Kanu who ate rat poison.  Hydrogen peroxide saved his life as well.  This technique is the best way to get an animal to rid itself of something hazardous.

I just thought you might like to may come in handy some day.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Lunch with Mrs. Secretary

Lil' Bit received this Hillary Clinton figurine as a gift from my brother-in-law.  The figurine is somewhat mannish, a thick neck and large beefy hands, which to be honest I found to be slightly offensive.  Why is it that culturally we tend to give powerful women masculine qualities?  

My daughter demanded that she wanted to nap with "Lady."  I had no idea what toy she was referring to, and when she fished out Hillary R. Clinton from her toy box I couldn't help but laugh.  Prior to actual sleep, the former FLOTUS took a nose dive through the railings of the crib, which resulted in Lil' Bit crying out for me to help rescue her.  I decided that it best for Lady not to take a nap, and told Lil' Bit she could have lunch with her later on.

The first word out of Lil' Bit's mouth upon awakening was "Lady?"  I handed her the Secretary of State and Lil' Bit held her close as we made our way down stairs for lunch.  The two gals dined on turkey sandwiches, carrot sticks and hummus, with a side of strawberries.  Lil' Bit gave Secretary Clinton a hummus facial, and a turkey body wrap.  It was a luncheon to be remembered by all.

The 4th of July is a celebration of our independence as a nation, and it spent honoring our forefathers that spurred our revolution...but I think we all need to also take time to celebrate our foremothers...the First Ladies of our nation.  

Martha Dandridge Curtis Washington
Abigail Smith Adams
Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson
Dolley Payne Todd Madison
Elizabeth Kortright Monroe

If you would like to learn more about the lives of these strong women of our nation check out
this website...

Have a great holiday weekend!