Wednesday, August 18, 2010

the day I didn’t go sailing

So today I was supposed to go sailing with my aunt and uncle.

However, as anyone in the DC area got to experience, Mother Nature had other plans. The weather for much of the morning was positively biblical (particularly when I was on the tensest part of the Beltway going into Maryland- funny how that works).

However, I nonetheless had a delightful day. I made some new friends!


But first things first: I arrived at my aunt’s house, a bit shell-shocked from the commute (I found myself making quasi-rational plans in my head:  “Okay, if a deer comes bursting out onto the highway in the torrential rain by all the construction materials, you just have to keep going. You have to hit it. Better it die than you”).

However, I walked through the door to be greeted with the most comforting smell there is: baking homemade bread!

Shortly thereafter these lovely things came out of the oven.


The one on the left Jeanie said was a bit deformed because she’d had to poke it with her finger to check for doneness. I, however, thought it was dimpled and adorable.

Obvi, we all tried some. Tim, Jeanie’s husband, said “I think I’ll have the real butter on this!”. I ooooooobviously had the real butter. Personally, I think it’s an insult to fresh bread to use margarine!

Heavens it was scrumpsh.


We headed to Jeanie’s neighbor’s house. They are out of town, so she is CHICKEN SITTING!

Yes, in this mundane surburban shrub-filled yard, you go around a corner and there is… a chicken!


In fact, there are SEVERAL chickens and now there are… BABY CHICKS!


So cute and weird looking!

The neighbors have hens who regularly lay eggs (we checked the coop while I was there and one of them had just laid an egg and it was still warm. Coolest. Thing. Ever.).

One of them, Sunny, one day lay her egg and then would not move. She was desperate for motherhood. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of… fertilization to be had with no rooster around. So their family got her special fertilized eggs, and sure enough, a few weeks later, chicklets!

My aunt got the honor of naming one. Behold, Tater Tot:


I am so mad at myself- the baby chicks were JUMPING ON THEIR MOTHER’S BACK and riding around and it was the cutest thing ever but my trigger finger is just too damn slow.

I spent a delightful morning at my auntie’s. My cousin Ashley, who’s staying with her, was getting rid of a bunch of clothes so Jeanie and I tried them all on and took a bunch home. Don’t you LOVE hand me downs?! Free clothes, selected by a loved one with (presumably) good taste, old to them but new to you!

Soon enough it was time for lunch, and I dug in to the delicious meal Jeanie made, intending it to be lunch for the boat:


In her totally fierce Crate and Barrel noodle bowl (I need one- there are not enough bowls this size!) with her totally fierce chopsticks, we have noodle salad topped with a savoy cabbage slaw with grilled Asian-marinated pork tenderloin.


It was soooo yummy. The pork was from a Gourmet (RIP!) recipe she’d torn out years ago and involved a marinade of lemongrass, fish sauce, and other delicious things that of course I cannot remember now. As an added bonus, the jalapenos tossed in there were grown on her deck!

We lounged around, drinking chai, watching this awesome documentary about an eight year old diagnozed with schizophrenia (my aunt works for Discovery and is involved with all these interesting shows!) and psychoanalyzing our relatives for a bit longer, but then alas it was almost rush hour and I had to go.

And by “almost rush hour”, I mean 3:00. I am so over the D.C. area. If you want to go from Maryland to Northern Virginia (where I live) you can either go at 3pm or 8pm. Anytime in between, you will be sitting in stop and go traffic the entire time. It sucks.

I came home with great goodies!


I’m stoked to have my wardrobe revamped from Ash, but I’m even MORE stoked for the edible goodies:


Eggs laid TODAY (including the one I felt still-warm!) and ZILLIONS of fresh figs from my aunt’s tree! She says there are “too many”! Can you imagine?! God I want a fig tree.

So dinner.

I wanted vegetables. I’ve been eating RAWTHER indulgently lately, what with four course restaurant week meals and all. Also, the weather continued to be decidedly gloomy. Soup was an obvious choice.

I kinda winged it, and it was tasty and looked like sunshine!


The veggies in need of using were corn and squash. A chowder was an obvious choice, but my mother has basically figured out she is lactose intolerant, and that seemed… mean.

So I got creative with my soaking liquid.

We all love on the delicious juicy corn kernels…


But then we throw away the thingies they grow out of! Could it be that there is some flavor in a corn cob?


Well, yes. There is. There’s a recipe in my African cookbook (something I will be blogging about sooner rather than later) that makes cornbread with corncob-infused milk.

So I stuck the cobs in some water and boiled them for five minutes and I had myself… corn stock? Sure, we’ll call it that.


And then I sorta kinda consulted this Cooking Light recipe but totally changed quantities and proportions and cook times. But I wouldn’t want to give any impression of plagiarism.

I also didn’t do anything fancy with blending it the soup in two batches and putting it through a cheesecloth.

Yes, admittedly, the cooked vegetables with all their fibrous bits floating around looked a little busted:


But I stuck in my immersion blender and after some initial apprehension, it came together beautifully and was smoothity smooth! I am so in love with my immersion blender.


As for the finished soup, it was fantastic. It tasted like summer! Simple flavors: just wonderful, fresh, local vegetables and very little else.

Summer Corn and Squash Soup

2 ears of corn
2 cups of water
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp butter
1/2 cup diced onion
2 large summer squash (about 8 inch), chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Cut kernels off corn, reserve. Combine corn cobs with water and bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes, and remove from heat.

Heat olive oil and butter in a Dutch oven on medium heat. Add onion, and sauté five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add squash, and sauté another ten minutes.

Add reserved corn, salt and pepper, and corn broth. Bring to a boil. Cover, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Let sit a few minutes, and then puree with an immersion blender.


As for the rest of the meal: today was the first time in my life I could eat an egg the DAY it was laid, by a chicken I KNEW. You knew I was gonna do it :D


Poached. Atop an English muffin. With spinach.

You know I used my poach pod!

I think it looks like an adorable little mushroom.



MelindaRD said...

Sucks that mother nature had her way with your plans. I would think staying in is a much better option. Looks like the day was not a complete wash (no pun intended!).

Anne @ Food Loving Polar Bear said...

Too bad that you didn't get to go sailing. I've never been but it's a dream to go someday, hopefully to Mediterranean or somewhere other exotic :)