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News Around The Island: Feb 2023

La Quinta, California: I took a little break from blogging. Good thing too, as not much is happening around Taylor Manor. Talk about Groundhog Day... the Bill Murray version... rinse and repeat around here. We have been exercising and golfing, but the weatherwoman reported 25 days below the average temperature during January. Baby, it's cold outside. Nights in the 40s; days in the 60s. Not normal. There are often frost delays on the golf course. Unusual for the Coachella Valley.

The best news is so many of our snowbird friends have arrived for "winter" in the desert. Marcia and Red, Kathy and Woody, Debbie and Mark, Marci and Jim - the gang's all here, giving us many golfing dates and dinners together.

The bad news is we have needed so many repairs! Fifteen years seems to be the cut-off date on appliances? In the past few weeks we have needed a new pool heater, a new water heater, and a new hot water recirculating pump. After a several-month wait, our gardeners finally replaced the ugly leggy plants in the front of our house with something that looks like little yellow azaleas, but are called Trumpet Flowers (?), and added a beautiful palm to the little alcove near the front door. The Taylors are going a tad over the edge with their yellow and green GO DUCK theme?

In the ironic news department? We have a very nice white steel box from Yamizaki Home to organize the First Aid kit in our RV. (Thank goodness, as when DT sliced his arm on the motorhome door this summer, we were prepared.) I have been on a tidying/organizing mission in our closets/cabinets this week, and went to town on our household First Aid kit. Four-year expired Neosporin? Bactine expired in 2011? After replenishing needed items, I ordered another white steel box for the house... then cut my hand while recycling the shipping box. No kidding.

The cooking continues and continues and continues. I don't mind the cooking. I don't mind the cleanup, but am so very tired of thinking up something to cook. Planning the menus and shopping. So difficult after so much cooking during the epidemic. I can go back through years and years of our menus, and with helpful emails from the New York Times food section, and the occasionally-helpful emails from The Washington Post, can sometimes put an entire week of dinners together... but then there is another week. Just stop complaining, Terry, and be thankful for the bounty of food available, and the money to purchase it with. Even eggs. A few things prepared lately:

A loaf of oatmeal bread
Patatas Bravas (inspired after finishing Jose Andres & Family in Spain)
Cream of Celery Soup, with mushrooms

I had a soggy bunch of celery and two frozen chicken spines (from butterflying chickens), so made a batch of stock in the Instantpot. Delish. Garlic, onions, four mushrooms, and several stalks of crisp celery were sauteed, then the stock was added and thickened with a bit of cream at the last minute. This produced exactly two bowls of soup. Don't waste food! Our clubhouse has started serving dinner rolls baked in a little casserole dish, so I copied their idea to accompany our soup:

Buttermilk rolls with sea salt. Fun experiment. Work-in-progress.

I get a day off from thinking of something to cook next Sunday. The Super Bowl calls for Buffalo Wings, dips, chips, etc., and probably NO dinner at all. Then something fancy pour deux for Valentines Day? Steak frites? Duck Confit? Frozen lamb shank meal from Costco? My hubby thinks we should try to go out for dinner once a week (up to the clubhouse, usually), and with so many friends in town, there are more social events (i.e. eating). Plus, I have bought a few of the latest and greatest cookbooks just out: Jamie Oliver's One: Simple One Pan Wonders. There are a few (I assume British) ingredients that are never in my pantry, but he has many nice ideas and many work-arounds to make the meals vegetarian, if desired. Deb Perelman's new Smitten Kitchen Keepers was just delivered and I am looking forward to diving-in. Previously, my luck hasn't been so great with Perelman's recipes, but she has changed quite a bit since her early blogging days. Giving her another try. Surely, with a few nights out, two new cookbooks, and zillions of recipes on the internet, I will find inspiration and will be able to keep my athlete fed?

Otherwise, I am stitching (needlepoint) a zebra for a little English baby boy and just finished listening to Less is Lost on Audible, the second book in the Arthur Less Pulitzer Prize winning series.

Hope you all are doing well and feeding those your love to cook for! Until my next update, I remain, your baking correspondent.

4 thoughts

  1. I love my IP!
    I just pull out the frozen veggie scraps and carcasses. And set it for 2hrs for broth
    I don’t know what I’d do if I’d have to go back to doing it on the stove or crockpot.

  2. I’m with you! I am so weary of meal planning. My husband would be happy if I served the same thing over and over especially if it was beef–not me! And unlike you, we live so remotely both in AZ and MT–restaurants aren’t an option most of the time!

  3. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who is tired of cooking. I love to cook but I’m just weary of it right now. A lovely vacation would change my attitude for sure . The breakdowns come in threes! In our home it was 1) microwave, 2) refrigerator and 3) washing machine. I now have 3 wonderful new appliances until that cycle starts all over again.
    I love trumpet plant, they get big pretty fast and when flowering they are unusual and stunning. Brugmansia (Angel’s Trumpet)! Planted near the door or window you may open frequently you will find they have a wonderful scent most noticed in the evening. All parts are highly toxic if ingested (by anyone, human or pet) and the sap may be an irritant. I had them for years and never had an issue.
    Who are you favoring in the Super Bowl?

  4. Please give a review after you have perused the latest Smitten Kitchen cookbook. I too have been ambivolent about the recipes in her first book.

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