So, here we are, sliding from April to May and here's where things start to just take on a life of their own. I got a little experimenting in but nothing terribly different, as it turned out...stay tuned. For this week, things are all about multitasking. Sunday, I was driving around, nailing down details for the first communion. We have a great coupon for a hoagie party platter, but I'd never tried the hoagies. Result? Awesomely easy "test" dinner, and what says "I live in eastern PA" more than having hoagies while watching the Phils lose? (And with the Flyers win--well, it was like 1974 all over again.) So, the bifurcated menu carries the day: nothing says "First Holy Communion" like hoagies and a taco bar. (We're trying Qdoba's--who are not paying me for this but gosh that would be awesome if they did!--since locally at least they are running some great specials for the days around and including Cinco de Mayo, which is when the communion happens to be. Score!) And I take it back: the only thing that screams "party for an 8 year old boy" more than hoagies and tacos? He wanted it to have "kind of a pirate theme." Um....NO. The theme is "Happy First Holy Communion," and I don't think Jack Sparrow is invited. Nice try, though.
Monday: turkey breast (roasted over cabbage, from Bittman's How to Cook Everything. In his book, he has two different cabbage preparations but I'm skipping the one with the ginger, etc. and just roasting the turkey on a bed of chopped cabbage. Stuffing is better but cruciferous veggies FTW). Roasted cauliflower (see Tamar Adler, below).
Tuesday: Taco Tuesday. Let's see if I remember this week that I actually have it in the freezer ready to heat and eat. Because last week? Not so much (see Tamar Adler, below).
Wednesday: Oh, mercy, I was going to get Involved in something and realized it's a Wednesday Spaghetti. I could weep with joy.
Thursday: Not sure. My best friend from college is visiting (YAY YAY YAY!) and I would love to just hang with her here, but it is also Dining Out for Life, and I like to support that when I can (it was so edgy when it started and places in the provincial area where I live were iffy about joining in, so I like to throw support to those who do it). But--since it doesn't look like I'm eating at home any other night this week except Tuesday--it might be a bit over the top.
Friday: Phillies game! It was a fundraiser for one of the local elementary schools--so support a school AND see the Phils? No brainer in our world.
We'll see what next weekend brings. Baseball, soccer, fundraiser yard sale...the usual, plus the sheer panic of getting the house ready for the communion party. I don't know why I'm in such a dither about it. I'm really excited for it, it's such a big deal for my little guy, but with the exception of my aunt and uncle from CA, everyone else who is coming sees our house often and knows how we live, so I don't know why I'm feeling the pressure to go all Martha Stewart for a day.
As to last week, when I wasn't scurrying around the house getting rid of more stuff, I was playing with a few different things. I was really affected by Tamar Adler's illustrations of "How to Stride Ahead" (linked to last week). She's a fan of boiling veggies and I think I am too, but I'm not that good at it yet. How dumb is that, right? But it's either still too crispy or way too soggy so I haven't figured out the timing yet. So I am back to the roasting, which I like very much. I had to laugh, though; she described roasting cauliflower by cutting it in half, putting the cut side down, and then slicing it "like bread." This sounded awesome--little cauliflower flats, just ready to go!--but honestly--the florets do not stay in nice flat slices like bread. And I knew that. But it just sounded so good in the book. But I gamely tossed it with olive oil and spread it on the cookie sheet and it roasted up nicely just the same.
Meanwhile, I have to get used to the idea of "striding ahead" instead of "flying by the seat of my pants." I knew last week would be busy so I shopped once. I got chicken and made both the lemon and the garam masala marinades. We ate outside, the boys both "MMMMMMM!"ed like it was chocolate instead of chicken, and it was bliss. But since I was only shopping once, I got the taco meat and made the meat on Sunday and threw it in the freezer for Thursday. And of course Thursday came and I was deeply annoyed at myself for having to go to the store and (yup) buy taco meat. The point at which I remembered I already had taco meat waiting was the moment I was draining the second batch. So I let the freezer batch ride, and here's hoping I remember this week.
In another Thursday purchase, when I saw this Dinner: A Love Story miso-soy salmon glaze, I had to try it. Maybe it was the word "slather" that tripped me up. Or maybe it was the uber-delicate fancy-lake salmon at my store needs a lighter hand. Either way--I was hoping for a great miso sauce and got a bit of a gloppy one. Not terrible, but not the hit that DALS usually is for me. That's ok. I'll be back. (And, funny enough, when I was looking for something else later this week, I saw that I had made a very, very similar glaze from the Time to Eat cookbook and enjoyed it without the sugar. Maybe that's the ticket. It uses up the mirin, which I'm enthusiastically in favor of doing.)
Finally, we also made lots of cookies on Sunday, partly as thank yous for friends, and partly because, yum, cookies. I finally got to the cranberry blondies that I love (and that once again took 45 minutes to bake) and then classic chocolate chips. We made chipwiches and had a fun time baking together.
Wishing you a happy fun week. See I'm an Organizing Junkie! for less shameless eating-out-as-fundraising menus!