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12/2021: News Around the Island

La Quinta, California: The radio silence of the past few weeks hasn't been because we haven't done a thing interesting enough to record, but exactly the opposite: we have been BUSY! Besides the usual exercising and golfing, we have been seeing friends, hosting dinner parties, and traveling to Los Angeles.

First things first. Dave's cousin Jim was in town for a week with his wife. We golfed one day and then Jim and Nancy had dinner at our house. Jim and Nancy are some of my favorite people, with their only fault being Beavers... but the University of Oregon does not have a pharmacy school... so there ya go. Since they have retired, we have been able to spend a lot of time together.

The cousins enjoying golfing together and Cousin Jim really liked our course.

Beautiful roses on the golf course

This Grey Heron was massive!

It wouldn't be a RV Goddess post without a food photo, right? I made Mustard Batons from the Barefoot Contessa (The Contessa makes her version from Dorie Greenspan's... and then, of course, I made my version.) The first time, The Goddess followed The Contessa's instruction, but found it difficult/messy to brush the egg wash over the cut batons without having it drip-down the sides, and it was messy to sprinkle cheese over such a small target... so the second time I made the appetizer, I brushed the egg wash over the entire folded pastry before it was sliced, sprinkled the cheese over all, and placed it in the fridge for 15 minutes. THEN I sliced the batons using a pizza wheel. So much easier. So much faster. So much neater. Also, there wasn't a very pronounced "mustardy" flavor with the first batch, so used 2 Tablespoons of Dijon mustard and 1 Tablespoon of Old Style Dijon (grainy Dijon with seeds, I use Maille brand mustards). Much better - and prettier as well. Don't faint, but I did not garnish.

This recipe is a keeper, and the batons can be made in advance and kept in the freezer so a host can simply pop them in the oven before cocktail time.

Dave and I drove to Los Angeles last weekend to watch Leo's league championship flag football game. It was a cold and stormy weekend. (I had to reach deep into my closet to find my puffy jacket.)

Leo's team won the championship! He was so excited. All the boys were jumping up and down, throwing their shirts in the air and pouring Gatorade and water on each other, as if they had just won the Superbowl - well, it was their Superbowl. (I nearly froze to death just watching them.) Three of the team members are in the same classroom as Leo, and they were so surprised and happy their teacher attended the game with her family. Even Leo's piano instructor came to watch. This was a BIG deal, and we are so proud and so happy for Leo and his team - and of course their coaches (Lenny!). 

Little Miss Lucile attended as well... with her cotton candy faux fur coat.

After the game, we had a celebratory dinner at an outdoor restaurant. Mercifully they had heat lamps. As soon as the owner learned Leo's team had won - a flute of champagne was placed in front of each diner... though two of the flutes held 7-Up. What a great experience this flag football season was for Leo. He met a bunch of new kids, learned a new sport and skill, and won the title. Lisa and Lenny also made new friends during the season.

As we drove home Sunday, we made a detour in Arcadia to 99 Ranch - a large chain of Taiwanese grocery stores. I was out of a few things - items I cannot find in the Coachella Valley. After I located the desired noodles, DT and I had a fun browse through the aisles and quite a few things ended up in our cart. In the massive "greens" section, I saw what I hoped to be pea shoots (not sprouts, but small leaves from young pea plants), but there was no label on the bag... so I went to an older gentleman who was working the produce department and asked him - in Chinese - if this was, in fact - Dou Miau? The look on his face was priceless, and I could see a smile appear on his face (he was wearing a mask, as was I), as he said dwei. I imagine he was very surprised to hear Chinese (with a Taiwanese accent!) come out of my mouth, and I was very happy to come home with a big bag of pea shoots. We also found onion pancakes, so had ourselves quite a feast for dinner Sunday evening:

From top, clockwise: Stir-fried beef with red peppers in chili sauce, Taiwan pickle, onion pancake, kimchi (hey, why not?), and pea shoots with garlic. Rice, of course.

We had two dinner parties this week, both with people affiliated with the University of Oregon who were in town. The dinners went well, but there is something wrong with my double wall oven. Noticed over Thanksgiving the upper oven said it was at 350°, but it was not. It was about 250°. Now the lower oven is having the same issue! I am working around it for now with the aid of an oven thermometer, but must have a repairperson here soon. Our guests were politely patient with 30-minute delays for dinner. Thank goodness, the new little toaster oven works perfectly!

That's all the news! Until my next update, I remain, your dish-pan-hands correspondent.

3 thoughts

  1. A question re: the mustard batons. Do you freeze the prepped batons before baking (even though the pastry has already been frozen once), or do you freeze the baked batons?

    1. Helen: the batons can be frozen prior to baking. I took them out of the freezer about 20 minutes before baking.

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