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I don’t mean “do a bait-and-switch on a banana”, I’m talking about eating at conventions–Marcon, in this case.
We always take our own food. I mean, the hotel provides a stellar breakfast, and the Con Suite provides food and snacks which might be there or might not, depending on when you arrive relative to when the food and the other conventioneers arrive, but still.
I baked bread and made spreads: cream cheese, olives and pecans; cream cheese, mayo and red pepper jelly, and white cheddar mixed with apricot preserves, which sounds nasty but is deLISH. If I get ambitious, I may make macaroni salad and brownies, too. Others make other things. Yeah, we feast!
I’ll be on some panels and stuff:
FRI 04:00pm Write a Novel in a Month, are you Crazy?! NaNoWriMo.
FRI 07:00pm How to be Edited
SAT 08:30pm Southern Indiana Writers Reading
SUN 10:00am Who has time to write?
If you’re there, come up and say howdy!
writing prompt: Does your main character buy or take food on a trip?
Okay, so Charlie had a couple of friends over for lunch yesterday. When he and I discussed what I would give them to eat, everything he suggested was meatless. He thought it might be nice to have ham on the sandwiches, though, but only if I could get some locally raised stuff.
I made the connection with a local family that raises and sells pork products, put in my order, and he came by and made the drop.
Then, when it was time to assemble the sandwich ingredients, Charlie was like, “Let’s not give them any, since we haven’t tried it yet ourselves.” Lucky thing, since it wasn’t all that great, AND it was sliced into steaks rather than sandwich slices AND the friend’s wife is Catholic. For all I know, she doesn’t abstain from meat on Fridays, but I was glad to have avoided the possibility of offering her something she might rather not have.
So here was what we had:
CREAM OF BROCCOLI SOUP: When I went to make the soup, I discovered that I had forgotten to get broccoli! I still had one head and three stems, though, so I chopped the most tender part of the stems and cooked it in water seasoned with seasoned salt and butter. Removed the cooked stems with a slotted spoon and mashed them. Cut the head into smallish florets and cook them in the same water. Removed them. Measured the water (about 2 cups) and put the broccoli back in. Mixed a cup of low-fat milk, a cup of heavy cream, a tablespoon of flour and enough veggie bouillon powder for 2 cups of water and stirred that into the warm water/broccoli. Heated on medium, stirring frequently, until hot through. It never did thicken, but it was very good anyway.
SAMMICHES: I got two avocadoes, which was a jolly good thing, since both of them were crappy. I managed to salvage about two tablespoons of pulp from them, mixed it with an equal amount of mayonnaise and spread it on bread (I used ciabbata). Provolone. Sprinkled giNORmous portobello caps with seasoned salt and olive oil and grilled 5 minutes a side and put that on and topped the sandwich with more bread. Brushed with olive oil and grilled both sides.
SALAD: Romain and regular lettuce, diced fresh pears, chopped walnuts and bleu cheese dressing.
TRIFLE: I sliced up some angel food cake and put some in the bottoms of rounded wine glasses. Topped with very juicy sugared strawberries. Topped with more cake, French Vanilla pudding, then whipped topping.
A good time was had by all.
writing prompt: Have a character with moral or religious dietary restrictions faced with a proud hostess who didn’t know about them.
I went to church this A.M. to help with the Soup and Salad Luncheon. Some ladies had made deviled eggs, some had made vegetable or taco or broccoli/cheese soups or one of a variety of salads. I bought six heads of lettuce. Every time I try to cook for a church function, I mess up, so I decided to play it safe and buy the lettuce. I bought more than I was told, which was a good thing, since the lettuces were not entirely nice, and cutting away the brown spots left just enough good.
We had hot chicken salad and cold chicken salad and taco salad and pea salad and macaroni salad and pasta/spinach salad and slaw and gelatin salad and I don’t know what all. I washed dishes, stirred ingredients, opened doors, collected trays, bussed the tables and tried to stay out of the way of the ladies who were actually working.
Charlie brought Mom and I quit to have lunch, then went home with them and worked on a cover for my Hot Flashes book.
Then I needed to start making supper. We were stuffed from lunch, so I made–salad and sandwiches.
I baked some ciabatte (plural for ciabatta), a flattish little bread, as per ARTISAN BREAD IN FIVE MINUTES A DAY, and cooled it. Meanwhile, I fried some mushrooms in butter, then poured in some white wine and cooked it away into the ‘shrooms. My plan was to make mushroom and cheese sandwiches dressed with blue cheese dressing instead of mayonnaise and Panchocado Salad (avocado drizzled with lime juice, salt and pepper, as per my friend Pancho Garcia). But the avocado was only half nice–the other half had those brown veins in it–you know how it does–GROSS! So, instead, I had this:
Sammich: blue cheese dressing, mushrooms, good bits of avocado, salt/pepper and cheese (Swiss for Charlie and pepper jack for me). Brushed the sandwich press with garlic-flavored olive oil and grilled sandwiches until the cheese melted.
Salad: Romaine lettuce, fresh strawberries and skillet-toasted slivered almonds dressed with French dressing.
And–YES!–Rejoice with me, for I have a new tablecloth! Admit it–you were as tired as I was of those damn daisies. These are olives, olive flowers, and very faint maps of Italy. Most amusing. Well, it is, if your life is as dull as mine. Anyway, I’m delighted with the change of scene.
writing prompt: Have a character help out at a church/community/club event and see what happens.
Charlie bought an angel-food cake, for some reason. Neither of us is madly keen on angel-food cake. So there it is.
That’s why I’m thinking of trifle. Although angel-food cake is as close to a sugared sponge as I care to get, I can deal with it if it’s covered with things. Here is what I plan to do with it:
Break it up into bits. Put some in the bottom of a glass bowl. Soften some jelly or jam or preserves or open a can of pie filling and warm the contents. Soak the cake with liquid from the jam or etc. Maybe mix the sweet stuff with some wine–not cooking wine, drinking wine. Top with fruit. Top with more cake Top with vanilla pudding. Or maybe chocolate pudding. Top with whipped cream or whipped topping.
That would be good. It might also be good to cut it into cubes and dip it into melted semi-sweet chocolate and then cool it on waxed paper. That would cut some of the cloying sweetness.
Or I might break some into a wine glass and top it with cherries and chocolate sauce.
Or I might slice it thin and top it with fresh strawberries or with cooked strawberries and rhubarb.
Or I might slice it and drizzle it with warm Nutella.
I wonder what it would taste like processed into crumbs, mixed with honey or peanut butter or Nutella, rolled into balls and coated with crushed nuts?
We may have to get another angel-food cake when this one is gone.
writing prompt: What’s blooming in your main character’s garden? Dandelions? Orchids? Snow peas?
Had a party yesterday, and I baked bread as per ARTISAN BREAD IN FIVE MINUTES A DAY and made some spreads. Here they are:
- mascarpone cheese
- powdered sugar
- crushed pineapple (drained but not dry)
Mix to taste, refrigerate, remove about an hour before serving to soften enough to spread.
As I told the son-in-law who asked what was in it, “Cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese and cheese.” I used:
- cream cheese, softened
- mild cheddar, shredded or grated
- bit of sharp cheddar, shredded or grated
- Parmesan, shredded or grated
- bit of mayo
- Italian seasoned bread crumbs
Except for the bread crumbs, mush it all up and roll it into a ball. Roll it in the bread crumbs. Refrigerate. Remove about an hour before serving.
So called because my friend Edith got me hooked on it.
- cream cheese, softened
- bit of mayo
- red pepper jelly
Mix cream cheese and mayo and form into a square or rectangle or, damn, I don’t care. Spoon some red pepper jelly over it. The red pepper jelly has some bite, but its sweetness and the bland cheese mix really well with it. WONDERFUL spread.
Now for the Snoopy Dance–
Why am I snoopy dancing? Because I just heard back from Sword & Sorceress XXV that the story I sent them is being held for further consideration. That by no means indicates that I’m in, but it does mean that I’m not out. Yet.
I takes my snoopy dances where I can gets ’em. *danse-danse, danse-danse*
writing prompt: Give a character something to be happy about.
One of our daughters had all four wisdom teeth cut out at once, which presented me with a challenge when she came over for dinner: what to give her that was both soft and satisfying. Here’s what we had:
CHICKEN & DUMPLINGS
I cooked celery and carrots in the broth and then skimmed them out, leaving only the flavor. I used canned white meat chicken because I could break it up into bits so small they didn’t need to be chewed. I added a can of chicken broth and some chicken bouillon and packaged frozen dumplings, the flat kind, and cooked it longer than the directions called for. We ate out of flat soup bowls, making it easy for her to cut the dumplings into tiny bits she could swallow whole.
A can of peas, mushed up with a potato masher, doesn’t sound very appetizing but, with a dollop of real butter, they were a real treat.
Our friend Francisco first served us this avocado salad, so I call it Franciscado Salad. Just peel and cube or slice an avocado, squeeze lime juice over it, sprinkle with salt and pepper and eat. You can add a blop of salsa, if you want to, but we like it just like this. A nice ripe avocado holds its shape but can be mooshed up with your tongue against the roof of your mouth and doesn’t need to be chomped.
I cut rounds out of soft white bread with a biscuit cutter and put the rounds into individual serving dishes. I spooned the juice from a can of crushed pineapple over the rounds, mixed the pineapple with mascarpone cheese and mounded the pineapple mixture onto the bread rounds. I sprinkled the mounds with turbinado sugar. Very nice.
Last night, Charlie and I had this nice bean salad using the other half of the lime I used for the Franciscado Salad:
KIDNEY BEAN SALAD
Drain and rinse a can of kidney beans. Mix with garlic-flavored olive oil, diced celery, chopped onion or onion powder, lime juice, salt and pepper.
I’m posting at Brooke Bonett’s The Bluestocking Guide: Reviews by a Partial, Prejudiced, and Ignorant Reader tomorrow. Hope to see you there! I’ll post the link tomorrow, too.
writing prompt: If your main character had four wisdom teeth out, would he/she get sympathy from your other characters?
NEW FOOD! Well, not a new food, but a new preparation, for us. We love roast veg, so I decided to make that last night. I cut up carrots, red potatoes, sweet potatoes and celery. I would have done sweet onions and sweet bell peppers, too, if I’d had them, but I didn’t. Drizzled them with garlic-infused olive oil and sprinkled with Jane’s seasoned salt and preheated the oven to 450F.
Then I remembered something I had seen in the April issue of Martha Stewart’s EVERYDAY FOOD magazine for roasted cabbage. She says to cut the cabbage into inch-thick rounds, brush with oil, season with salt and pepper and caraway seeds and roast 40 minutes. I just scootched the other veg aside and put a couple of cabbage rounds into the same pan and baked at 450F. The very edgy pieces got crisp and a little charred, but even that was good. Fellers, this stuff was HEAVEN! Toward the end of the meal I notice that Charlie and I were both saving one last bite of the cabbage to finish up with because it was so good.
I also made a quick and easy dessert: Pulled some grapes off the stems and washed them (the grapes, not the stems). I put the grapes in little bowls and topped them with sweet whipped cream and then put a dab of marmalade on top of that. Tasted good, and it looked pretty, too.
Didn’t take any pictures, because I was too busy eating.
writing prompt: Was your character a picky eater? Is he/she still?
Charlie was away for lunch, so I defrosted one of those gummy flour cutlets I made, in an ill-advised attempt to return to ’70s Earth-Motherdom. I dredged it in seasoned bread crumbs, heated it through in a skillet and put it on a bun with mayonnaise and about half a head of lettuce. It was not totally inedible–indeed, I ate it–due mostly to the herbs with which I had imbued it and the freshness of the lettuce.
When I finished it, I got out the last two cutlets, defrosted them, and gave them to the dog. He was like, “WTF?” But he ate them. He still likes me, too. That’s a dog for you.
The other day, I came across a recipe for a sandwich filling which I liked very much, and have had a couple of times: cottage cheese, sliced olives and chopped pecans. It sounds kind of “…oh…really…?” but it’s GOOD, as a sandwich filling or as a salad.
Speaking of cottage cheese, I was telling my friend who came to lunch today about my family eating cottage cheese, jelly and mayonnaise. You put down a blob of cottage cheese, make a well in the center, put in a blob of jelly (grape, in my childhood memory) and top it with a little blob of mayo. Mix it up just before you eat it. These days, I usually use canned fruit instead of jelly, preferably peaches in raspberry-flavored syrup.
Now comes a month or so of antsiness, while I wait for the first sprouts to come up in the garden and for the farmers market to open.
No, it is NOT true that all I think about is food. Sometimes I think about Johnny Depp. Yes, I’ve seen CHOCOLAT, The Perfect Combination.
writing prompt: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever attempted to cook? What about your characters’ cooking?
Going to the sleep doctor today for a follow-up consultation about my sleep apnea mask. Although I love the device–sleeping MUCH better, and having dreams that are better than the movies, except that I miss the buttered popcorn–I have two things to complain about:
- Wind. I say “wind” rather than “gas” because the problem is air going into my stomach as well as my lungs. Yes, I realize that this is TMI, but a mommy learns that, in order to be truly useful to her children, she has to say unladylike things sometimes. And I am MomGoth, after all.
- Sounds like wind. At the other end of the, er, spectrum, there’s a problem with tightness adjustment on the mask. Too tight, and it gives me a headache and makes my nose and cheekbone (the one that got walloped when I fell in that parking lot) sore. Too loose, and air leaks out around the edges. Sometimes it just blows air into my eyeball, and sometimes it hisses or makes that cartoon noise you get when you let air out of a balloon slowly. You know the one. Sounds like a whoopee cushion. Talk about unladylike!
But those are small things, really, considering how much better I feel, using it.
Another good thing: Our #1 daughter turned us on to this stuff called Fantastic World Foods Taco Filling, Quick Vegetarian Mix. You mix it up and use it like ground beef seasoned for tacos. I used it in a casserole and it was delicious! Last night, I used it on an Italian bread pizza and it was even better. Next try will be chili, or maybe chili mac.
Naturally, these dishes can be made with actual meat, seasoned for tacos or chili.
ITALIAN BREAD PIZZA
- Italian bread with cheese on top (from deli)
- Vegetarian taco filling
- sliced olives
- “Cajun” mirepoix (celery, green peppers, onions)
- spaghetti sauce
- Italian cheese blend
- Anything else you like on pizza
Cut whatever length of bread you want and slice it in half. Toast the top under the broiler. Top with sauce, toppings, then cheese. Bake at 350F until the cheese melts.
- cooked macaroni
- Vegetarian taco filling
- fresh or canned diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
Mix and heat. Add beans and/or cheese, if you like.
Well, that’s enough of that.
writing prompt: Give a character gas and send him/her out in public. Go on–it’ll be fun!
I hope you enjoyed D. B. Grady’s visit yesterday. I know I did. Now, alas, we’re back to what I had for supper and what the weather is like in Southern Indiana. (Hi, Mom!)
It’s sunny here–actually sunny! The sky is clear and as blue as David McCallum’s eyes. Trying to sucker me into going out without my coat. Ha–not likely!
What? What did I have for supper last night? I’m glad you asked. I had English roast potatoes (Thanks, Simon, for the recipe!) and layered pea salad and oven-fried cod (Thanks, World Wide Recipes!).
The pea salad was just Romaine lettuce, then diced celery, then defrosted green peas, then a mixture of mayonnaise, mild cheddar, freshly grated Parmesan, salt and onion powder.
English roast potatoes, in case you missed it first time around, is potatoes cut up and boiled partway done. Then drain them but leave them in the pan. Then add some olive oil (or, I guess, butter) and seasonings, cover and shake until the outsides of the potatoes are fluffy. Then dump the potatoes into a pre-heated oven at 450F (um…dump them into a PAN in a pre-heated oven….) and bake until crispy and browned on the outside.
Soak fish in milk for 10-15 minutes, then dredge in seasoned bread crumbs (Don’t drink the milk, by the way. Throw it out, okay? Promise?). Oil a pan and put the breaded fish in it. Spray or drizzle top with more oil or whatever. Bake or broil until browned on one side, then turn over and bake at 500F or broil until done on that side. The original recipe said it would take 4 to 5 minutes, but he must have used paper-thin fish. These big fat cod fillets took about 20 minutes, total. Good, though!
writing prompt: How do you feel when an enjoyable guest has gone?