Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tooth + Noodle

We haven’t been doing much cooking in the Barrett-French house since Mark had his last baby tooth surgically removed Monday. I thought I might recap last week’s stellar endeavor: spinach pasta with random veggie sauce.

I had some squashes from the co-op that we’re about to exceed their best by date. I sautéed them with onion, tons of garlic, carrot, red pepper, and a banana pepper (from our garden). The last of our summer matos were piling up, so I cut them up and added them after the veggies were a little soft. I threw in some pesto cubes I’d frozen after ravaging my basil plant one Sunday afternoon (I like to spend a few hours in the kitchen on Sundays. Yes, I love the cooking, but I like to hear This American Life. Oddly, I’ve realized that through this endeavor, I have heard Car Talk inadvertently each week for years! It’s comforting to me to hear it, because I’ve made such a habit of it).

I digress. Anyway, I sautéed the veggies, poured in the tomatoes, added some organic veggie broth and seasonings, put the lid on and let it simmer on low for a couple of minutes. At the last minute, I mixed in some frozen baby peas and parm. Meanwhile, Mark worked on making the infamous chickpea cutlets from Veganomicon. I swear, I’ve seen these guys on a million food blogs. He mashed some chick peas with some olive oil, added vital wheat gluten, some spices, and made them into a dough of sorts, then cut them into cutlets (oh how I detest that word). Poor Mark didn’t mind his recipe (partly my fault as well) and we ended up with something like an overcooked McNugget. Well, I guess we’ve figured out what we’ll feed the nieces on their next visit.

We'll definitely try these again, but next time we'll make them the focus of the meal rather than an afterthought.

The pasta, on the other hand, was fab. Very fresh tasting as the veggies were still a little crunchy.

I took some to my friend and coworker Katie the next day and she raved about it. I do this from time to time to sort of test our palates. Mark and I like everything we make, but I often wonder if it’s a little too garlicy or too something. So Katie’s my guinea pig. Thanks, KT!

This past weekend was our yearly family reunion at Nathan Bedford Forrest state park in Camden, TN. I think it’s so hilarious and ironic that it's the grand wizard’s park. I’ve attended this shindig each year since birth (only missing one for a Bright Eyes show back in 2001). The first time I went I was merely two weeks old. I always look forward to it. Saturday is a fish fry, Sunday is a big pot luck followed by a raffle that raises money for renting the lodge the next year. There are a lot of miscellaneous prizes, but the best are the home sewn quilts made by various family members throughout the year. There’s also a candy jar contest in which everyone guesses the number of candies and the closest guess wins the jar…the winner is given the responsibility of bringing the jar back filled and counted for next year's contest.

For the occasion, I made mustard slaw (adapted from David Rosengarten’s recipe) and a strawberry cream cheese cake for the occasion.

We love seeing our favorite cousins (I have no idea how they’re actually kin to me) Frank & Joy. They’re lovely conversation. It’s pretty overwhelming, though, because there are so many people there and I don’t really know many of them anymore. Anyway, the car ride was long and full of giggling children.
From Blogger Pictures

I did, however, witness a snake killing. An unnecessary and saddening experience. It was like watching a train wreck: you can’t look away. Pretty soon after arriving, my youngest niece, Lacy, said she’d seen a snake under the small bridge next to the lodge area. Well, word got around and these three grown men proceeded to poke it with sticks even after it’d retreated. I was kind of expecting the snake to come out and bite them on the face Snakes on a Plane style, but alas, they just kept poking at it until it ran out from under the bridge to hide under a rock. Then one of them pinned it down with a piece of aluminum siding, took out his pocket knife and cut it’s head off…a very intimate and disturbing killing to witness. Its head was still attached and its tail was still writhing. By this time, someone had retrieved one of those litter grabbers and he picked the snake up and carried it around and showed it to everyone. Grr.

We’re going to be away this weekend as well. It’s Mark’s mom, whom I affectionately refer to as Deej's 50th birthday. She’s planned a party for herself (because no one else would do it right, she’s said) in Cincinnati. Looks like I’ll be missing Car Talk kitchen time again this week. And next weekend I have class Thursday-Saturday…Sunday is Conor Oberst + Jenny Lewis!


ariel said...

as to your final sentence...

Wendy & Mark Barrett-French said...

Hey darlin',
they're going to be at the Ryman on the 21st.

Amanda said...

That snake killin' story is awful. All the men I've ever known only kill rattlesnakes or cotton heads. My daddy used to tell me that they'd eat baby birds, and that's why he had to kill em.

All that cooking is just lovely. It is my daily salvation, sometimes. Other times I'm super lazy and we have Mexican food.

This internet world is really fantastic, it's such a good way to meet new people! I know that's cheesy and stupid, but it's true!