Sunday, January 27, 2008

Yep, Still Fun. Kind Of.

Things are still pretty jolly around here. But ever since we found out this week that Shaun's last day of work will be April 25th (a bit earlier than we expected), all of the fun does have a bit of a "fiddling while Rome is burning" feel to it.

We had a Spanish dinner last week. We weren't aiming for fanciness; we just wanted to eat some things we never would have had otherwise. Of course my new cookbook provided inspiration and practical help.

For appetizers we had celery stuffed with butter and blue cheese, salmon croquetas (I cheated and bought these at the Basque market) and tinned octopus. You may wonder what possessed me to buy a tin of octopus that contained about eight bites of meat and cost $6. Well, it WAS a special occasion. The package had amazing graphics. And we've been watching a lot of Anthony Bourdain's travel/food show No Reservations lately, which has made us more open to trying unusual foods.

I followed the serving suggestion on the back of the box and sauteed the tiny pieces of octopus in olive oil and added red pepper, salt, and lemon juice. The boys were very gratified that they could see the little suckers on the tentacles, and I was very gratified that the boys were willing to try it. In fact, Nels had more than one bite. And it was worth every penny to hear two year-old Willem exclaim "Yummy octopus!"

Next we had a salad of lomo embuchado (dry cured pork loin) topped with endive and pomegranate seeds in a honey/moscatel vinegar (a new ingredient to me) vinaigrette. The main course was pork loin cooked in milk (the one thing I'd made before and always had good success with) and we had a potato/cucumber salad made with homemade mayo and garnished with roasted red peppers, tomatoes, olives, eggs, and anchovies. Amanda is the one who made it look this good:

The dessert was crema Catalan, a Spanish version of creme brulee. This one had no vanilla but was infused with cinnamon, orange and lemon. It was delicious.

In other food-related news, we finally tried a new Polish restaurant we've been meaning to get to. They happened to be serving Ukrainian borscht and we happened to find it one of the most delicious soups we've ever eaten. The owner/chef came out and asked about us (are you Polish?) and our boys (she was delighted to learn that they like soup) and it felt like we were in Europe. Eric and Josie, I hope that the borscht in Kyiv is as delicious as the borscht in Meridian, Idaho.

In case we don't sound indulgent enough yet, you should also know that we had an informal beer tasting this past Saturday night. Dark, chocolaty things. Andrew has hooked Shaun on a beer tasting podcast. Once you catch the fever, all you want to do is taste and discuss beer. We sipped and laughed and had a grand old time despite the fact that a few of the beers were not very good.

Saturday was an open house day, and beer tasting was a good way to end it. We tidied and scrubbed as usual. We're starting to get pretty good at this cleaning business. When we came back home at 3:00, we saw a couple talking in the front yard. We were hopeful, but our realtor told us they were the only people who had showed up from 12-3.

We asked what their story was.

"They're from New York. They're looking for a place with a garage and a shop, but they went downstairs and looked around for quite a while."

Hmm. We don't even have a garage. I'm surprised they bothered to spend all that time looking downstairs.

Oh. After our realtor left I went downstairs to use the bathroom and saw exactly why they'd been down there. The toilet seat was up. The toilet had been used. The toilet had not been flushed.

After I recovered from being exceedingly grossed out, I managed to feel relieved (no pun intended) that I had thoroughly cleaned the toilet, including under the seat.

Let's pray the house sells. Soon.


Gretchen said...

This post made me laugh. I love the "yummy octopus" line! How little boyish. =0) I love the idea of trying new foods and experiences as a family.
Hopefully the house will be sold soon for your sake.

Karen said...

I, too, laughed a lot. Wonderful the boys are taste adventurers! Praying for you--wouldn't another job in Boise be nice? I want to get there soon and still have your company. (mormor)