Saturday, September 9, 2017

what's for dinner?

I have long been curious about the sous vide method of cooking.  How in the world could boiling food in a plastic bag for hours on end enhance the flavor of anything?  And is cooking something in plastic a good idea, health-wise?  (Actually, this really never occurred to me until my very health-conscious masseuse brought it up!)  But I wanted to try it anyway.  Gourmet Grandson had an "extra"(imagine!!) sous vide cooker gizmo which he gave me, so last night I tried it out.  First experiment a total success!

The dish was pot roast with vegetables (potatoes and carrots).  Instructions were to set the water temperature to 170º and let it simmer for 24 hours!  TWENTY-FOUR HOURS??  But I thought, "OK, that's what the instructions say so let's see what happens."  I put all the ingredients in a zip lock bag, did the immersion seal, clipped the bag to the edge of the pot and settled in for the wait.  (Just before it started I had to put in an emergency call to Andrew for help in setting the timer, an embarrassing question but he told me and I set the clock and it all worked just fine!)

Late yesterday afternoon the timer stopped and the bag came out.  What was so surprising was how strong the color of the carrots still was; I thought it would all turn to grey mush, but it all looked beautiful.  Then with a few finishing flourishes, it was ready.

Everything was so delicious!  The meat, not the most expensive cut in the butcher's shop, was just as tender, juicy, moist as if it was filet mignon.  Carrots perfectly done, a bit al dente just as I like them, the potatoes still firm and sweet.  It was worth the wait.

This sous vide thing is alright!  Next treat; chicken breasts.  AZ insists it's the only way to cook them if you want tender, juicy chicken.  I'll let you know.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

the next chapter

Last Thursday evening we went to a retirement party for our friend, Judy.  She has been working at the Big U for many, many years and finally decided it was time to begin another phase of her life.

The dinner was catered by a local Mexican restaurant, Dos Coyotes, and included all of her favorites (ours, too):  enchiladas, flats, beans, chips, salsa, guacamole, and this wonderful salad.

This was followed up with two spectacular desserts; a chocolate-kailua cake and a very delicious lemon cake.  Everything was so delicious.

Judy is a woman of many interests and her new found freedom will give her plenty of opportunity too pursue them.  Welcome to retirement, Judy!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

an anniversary of sorts

Vicky in 1951
02/03/1947 ~ 08/31/2009

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

back on the grid

A very nice young man (he looked about 15!) was at our front door to fix the pesky air conditioner.  It took him about 15 minutes to figure out what was wrong, fix it, replace the filter and be on his way.  So we now have nice, cool air.  And just in time.  It's going to be 109º here in the lovely Central Valley this weekend.

New reading recommendation:  A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor.  Short, elegantly written, family saga.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

a cool Tuesday

To keep cool during this incredible heat wave we are having here in the valley, we went to see this film today in an air-conditioned theatre.  It's well worth the outrageous cost of two senior tickets.  The scenery is magnificent, the acting superb (Jeremy Renner is a pleasure to watch; his slightest eyelid flutter tells volumes), the rest of the cast is excellent.  There's a lot of mayhem involved; if a REAL FBI agent and a BLM agent engaged in anything close to the shootout we see, they'd be tied up in court for the rest of their lives.  But hey, it's the movies.  We both liked it; we both recommend it.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that the reason we needed a cool spot is our air conditioner went out on Monday.  We did suffer a bit yesterday when it was 108º.  We are now in a cooling trend; it's only going to get up to 98º tomorrow, but up into the triple digits again on Thursday and over the weekend and into next week.  Perfect for a nightly swim, though.  Fortunately the repair guys are coming tomorrow morning so we may get back on the cool side, at least indoors, by tomorrow afternoon.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

the fevered travel agent

I spent almost the entire day yesterday making arrangements for an October trip to New York City with daughter Caitlin.  The last time I was there was with my sister, probably 20+ years ago.  The precipitating reason is to visit g'daughter Emily, now living at a chic address in Harlem, working and going to school.  I have found us a veery interesting looking hotel on Central Park West, gotten us tickets to two musicals ~ Come From Away and Beautiful (Dear Evan Hunter is sold out until sometime in late December, unfortunately) ~ and the rest will be walking, eating, museum-going, a ride on the Staten Island Ferry, a visit to the 9/11 monument and museum.  That will probably take care of the 3+ days, don't you think?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

and then the ceiling fell down . . .

I got a message from our realtor in Mexico that he had taken some prospective buyers to the house for a walk-through.  Lots of oohs and aahs when they walked into the front garden, lots of nods and smiles when they went upstairs and saw the beautiful views, but a gasp when they went into the kitchen.

Yikes!  I don't know when this happened but Fernando did not tell us, if he knew.  It's not as bad as the original message portrayed it; I thought the whole thing had fallen.  But today I talked to the agent and he advised that indeed the entire ceiling may have to be torn out and replaced.  Don't know what has caused this, but most probably water has gotten into the space, the rebar has rusted and contracted, the cement has pulled away, and KABOOM!  Needless to say, the Se Vende sign has come down, the web advert has been pulled, and there's work to be done.  Our agent will get our favorite contractor in to take a look and give us an opinion, a plan, an estimate.  We may have to get a structural engineer in to have a look, too, and see if the entire house needs to be jacked up.  ¡Dios mio!

As a result of this disgusting turn of events we will be leaving for the beach a month early so we can take care of this before the "season" begins.  This was NOT in our plans; it is now.