Home - is where I want to be / But I guess I'm already there /I come home -
she lifted up her wings /
Guess that this must be the place...
- Talking Heads, "Naive Melody"

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Here are the presents!

No blogging for a while since we were in PA visiting my mother, and I of course was not cooking (though I did help chop once in a while). My mother does not, as a rule, cook either--it is entirely unfair, in my eyes, that she has not one but two gorgeous Wegmans stores nearby, bursting with fabulous vegetables and so many cheeses I get quite dizzy, while I have the world's crummiest Shaws (I went in there yesterday and they were out of whole chickens--I had to ask at the counter for them to scrounge me up one).

The trip out there went well, though we were delayed getting on the road as one of our cats had a sudden attack of something and wasn't breathing very well. So, rush her to the vet, wait for the vet to get there, and look at her, and tell us that she looks okay now, make arrangements with him to do some tests, arrange with the cat sitter to pick her up later on so that we can finally get going. While on the road the vet called to let us know that our cat has heartworm. Heartworm?! In a cat who hasn't been outside in her entire life? Apparently so.

But, back to the food. My mother (Nana, now that the grandkids have come along) did a good job for our visit--we had squash stuffed with a cheese, breadcrumb, and nutmeg filling one night, and simple roasted veggies over couscous another. My grandmother provided the traditional (for our family) Christmas Eve ham, potatoes, asparagus (cooked to a sorrowful fare-thee-well, unfortunately), corn, and salad. For dessert there were of course Christmas cookies, though I wasn't together enough this year to bring any.

We had gifts with my grandparents Christmas Eve, my mother Christmas morning, and my sister's family Christmas afternoon. Then on Friday we had JJ's first birthday, in which all of the above stopped by my mother's house. JJ seemed to like his cake (the very last Christmas cake they had at Wegmans, as it turned out -- their bakery seemed to have taken the day off, or something...). On Saturday we took the kids to Erie's Children's Museum and let them run around for a while, which was very much needed.

My cooking-related gifts this year were:
  • from D, a new pepper grinder (ours had started shedding bits of plastic, not good)
  • from D, a new timer/thermometer (ours gave up the ghost on Thanksgiving!)
  • from my in-laws, a creme brulee torch! and a book of recipes to go with it (cue Beavis voice...).
  • from my friend Dottie, a jar of herbes de Provence
And L got a cute little apron and chef's hat from her cousin, to wear when she's helping me. She is, by the way, coming along, little by little -- we had Chinese food that first night at Nana's house, and she sat right down and ate some broccoli and a little bit of rice, just like a normal person. She sat down to supper at my grandparents' table and had some salad. Last night, she asked for chicken--didn't eat any of it, but nor did she push her plate away and burst into tears, and she did eat a few bites of green beans. She's even started to let us know that she's hungry, which is something of a miracle.

The trip back was just as delayed as the one out there--the New York State Thruway was inexplicably closed at the PA end, so we turned around and took I-86 across NY instead. It was reasonably pretty, but it did take a bit longer than we would have liked. When we got home, we opened up a couple of cans of soup and called that supper.

Yesterday I spent most of the day doing laundry, and made a quick run to the grocery store. For my first night back in the kitchen, I roasted a chicken with garlic and herbes de Provence, put together a rice pilaf (the potatoes at Shaws being, of course, all green...), and steamed some green beans. Simple as it gets, and I quite enjoyed it.

A few days of vacation left, and enough on my "to do" list to energize without overwhelming me (for now). Bring on the new year!

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