Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Moving Forward

Shaun decided, as I think we all would, that the perfect way to celebrate his new job was to come home from a long day at work and make cioppino for the first time.

He was disappointed with the results, but I couldn't help but enjoy a dinner that contained clams, mussels, crab, salmon, halibut, shrimps, and scallops.

My dad and stepmom came for the weekend, and we had a grand time. If by "grand" I mean sampling almost every dessert in the Boise Co-Op's specialty bakery case. And I do. The boys loved all the extra attention, and we enjoyed getting to celebrate my dad's 60th birthday. Now all that remains to remind us of their visit is a recycle bin full of empty Diet Coke cans and half of a 5-pound chocolate fudge cake from Fred Meyer. We should have photos soon.

The eating of baked goods was our primary activity, but we did venture out to the Boise Art Museum as well. While we were enjoying an exhibit of boats constructed from found objects, an over-zealous security guard asked my dad not to point at the boats. That's right. No pointing. Then he told Juli, who was holding Willem up so he could see, not to get so close. Then he forbade Shaun to take a photograph of WILLEM looking out the WINDOW, flash or no.

Had any in our group sensed a true concern for art underlying these comments, we probably would not have been prompted to make barely sotto voce observations of our own, such as:

"The LOUVRE lets you take pictures," and

"Please do not look directly at the art. Gaze PAST the art and view the art only in your peripheral vision." (Shaun)

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and the grandparents headed back to their home in Bellingham, WA on Monday.

I spent yesterday and today online, looking for possible places to rent when we move. Shaun's first day of work will be May 19. We plan to drive (gasp, gulp) to Shaun's folks' this Friday and spend Sat-Mon trying to secure a place to rent. I'm now somewhat familiar with the map of Vancouver, but of course I don't have much idea of what things are like in the different neighborhoods, apart from what I can glean from our books and Google street view (one of the handiest Internet innovations ever.)

So! Tomorrow is Shaun's last real day of work. And it will be a doozy, as he has a 7:30 am meeting at which he will hand off his work to the Indian workers he's been training to replace him. On Friday morning he will drop off his badge and pager at (his old) work on our way out of town. We will need to leave the house open-house ready, as there will be one in our absence. Hopefully the cat won't throw up.

So, now you're all up to date. We'll let you know how the scouting trip goes.

And the drive.


Hillary said...

That looks soooo good! How could you be disappointed??? Is it from your Spanish cookbook?? I want to make it too.

I almost spit my hot chocolate out on my laptop reading your museum comments.

shaun said...

Well, the cioppino... I used a "Giada" recipe from the Food Network, primarily because it had a billion positive comments. But I can't really fault the recipe.

We have new measuring spoons. Looking at three spoons, one obviously larger than a teaspoon, one obviously smaller than a teaspoon, the one in the middle must be...a teaspoon. Unless one measuring spoon is missing, which it was. It had fallen off the ring earlier in the evening. 1 1/2 tsp of chili pepper flakes turned into 1 1/2 Tbs, and there you have the primary problem. Seafood, as you know, has subtle flavors and when you overdo the peppers, you taste nothing else. Even the shallots, onions and fennel bulb were drowned out. It wasn't inedible, it was OK, but it wasn't great. Hence the disappointment.

And the crab wasn't very good.

And the fish/vegetable stock was disgusting - I should've substituted a different stock/broth. Gross.

In addition to the fish, shrimp, clams and mussels called for in the recipe, I added scallops and crab. I can also now appreciate the simpler recipe. I actually enjoyed the fish the most out of all the ingredients (maybe that's the only thing I could actually taste through the peppers), and it would be cheaper without the extras.

So, too many peppers, crappy crab, and bilge-water stock equals disappointment. (Oxford comma!) I'll try it again, though.

Gretchen said...

That dish does look good even though I'm not crazy about sea food.
I hate to ask but has the house had any bites yet?
Good luck with the changes. I'm sure that you'll love the Vancouver area.

Gypmar said...

Ah, yes, Gretchen, 'tis a sad question. We had one low offer, but we couldn't work it out. Had we realized how many houses were about to flood the market in the following weeks (everyone was waiting for spring!), we would have taken it. They ended up buying a much less expensive house, so it's quite possible the whole deal might have fallen apart anyway. We get a lot of really positive feedback, but so far no one who is in a position to buy has decided it's the house for them.

This weekend is looking like our last open house with all of our stuff still here, so I plan to pray for a major miracle :)

Hillary said...

Ah, yes, those sea food dishes can be finicky. It is hard to get such a variety of fish all fresh all at the same vendor. At the Korean market they sell hunks of fish parts (heads, tales, leftover odd sizes) really cheap for fish stock. It is the first fish stock I've made that I actually liked...usually, it's too fishy. Chicken stock pretty much tastes good in anything though.

Anonymous said...

Hey - did the cat like the fish dish ... or is that why you're hoping he/she won't throw up?

That one sentence still has me chuckling!

Hope all goes well on your drive and exploration. Thanks for keeping us posted.

Love to all of you!

Anonymous said...

Hey kids, glad to hear that Shaunie got a job and it sounds like it is somewhere you wanted to go! Stay in touch, 7 more months in the sand. I will look you up when I get back and we will have to do dinner in P-town. I may have a party there, and you will be required attendees!


Hillary said...

Shaun commented on my blog, so I KNOW you guys have internet access wherever you are...we (I will presumptuously speak for all of your blog readers) can't wait to hear how the search is going. Or went, if you're back home.