WND – In which baby showers are had . . .

June 25, 2009


In which baby showers are had, the cause of the recent bad weather is determined, and the limitations of etch-a-sketch are discovered . . . .

The baby shower was a success.  It wasn’t outside, since while Saturday dawned sunny and beautiful and the temperature rose to the heady heights of the mid-70s, we paid for it on Sunday with endless drizzle and temperatures that were back in the low 60s.  We are all, I’m afraid, paying the price for my vanity.  I was the one that bought the white sundress three weeks ago in the expectation that it might be summer soon and I would be able to wear cute little sundresses to work.  Louisa May Alcott is rolling over in her grave.  I clearly need to revisit the chapter in “Little Women” when Meg learns that giving into vanity only leads to unhappiness.  Or the chapter in “Rose in Bloom” when Rose learns that a nice plain wool dress is more rewarding than all the silk fripperies in Paris.  Or the chapter in “An Old Fashioned Girl” when Fanny learns the price of even thinking about wanting something pretty.  Or the chapter in . . . . .

We acknowledged defeat in the face of rain on Sunday morning and had the party in my living room, where we all gorged ourselves on strawberries, gazpacho and baked goods.  Two three year-olds were incredibly well behaved and entertaining and explained to us the finer points of using an etch-a-sketch.  Upon investigation it became apparent that etch-a-sketch does not allow for the ability to create pointillist paintings.  The children seemed curiously unconcerned by this limitation.

The Spanish Omelet cooked all the way through and came out of the pan.  I did not, it has to be admitted, slide it out onto a plate, flip it over and then cook the other side.  I cheated and threw it in the oven to finish cooking and then sliced it in the pan and extracted the wedges.  Some of this is because I was cooking it in a cast iron pan and that’s just not something I can lift with one hand, and some of it is because I really didn’t think it was going to slide out of the pan in one piece.

I also failed at unmolding a bundt cake.  I’m told there are people who can successfully unmold bundt cakes, but it’s clear that I’m not one of them.  It was very tasty though, just not quite the elegant shape I had envisioned.  The granola , however, was an unqualified success and I’ve been assured that so long as I don’t change my stance of tofu (which seems unlikely) I can make more granola without becoming “crunchy”.  I feel much relieved.

Parents and small children departed for naps around 1:00pm.  The rest of us sat around nibbling and talking about gender disparity in pop culture because it’s not like we’ve ever talked about that before.  If there can be said to be a default conversation likely to be engaged in by members of Dinner, that would probably be it.  Much later that afternoon the cat cautiously emerged from under my bed and investigated whether all the interlopers into her territory had finally left, and eventually deigned to forgive us for allowing such a terrible breach of trust.

Normally I skip Dinner the week after a party, but this was an easier party than most  because it was half pot-luck and since the original theory had been to go elsewhere, everything was ready by Saturday afternoon.  Plus we’re going to lose one member of Dinner to a new born soon, so I figured we should take advantage of having her around as much as possible.  Also, this is a very easy Dinner.

Sautéed Chicken
Egg noodles with butter
Rhubarb-Balsamic Compote

Sautéed Chicken
I butterflied chicken breasts and then flattened them slightly by whacking them with the bottom of a heavy glass.  If you have a meat tenderizer by all means go ahead and use that, but if you don’t and don’t need one often enough to be inspired to go buy one, the flat bottom of a heavy glass works just fine.  Also, whacking the chicken is satisfyingly therapeutic.

Then I salt/peppered and lightly floured them before sautéing in butter and olive oil.


Rhubarb-Balsamic Compote
(serves 2-3)

The original version of this recipe gives instructions on how to thaw and use frozen rhubarb instead of fresh.  I’ve never seen frozen rhubarb anywhere.  I mean, I’m not expecting to find it at my local grocery store where I have problems finding frozen pearl onions, but I’ve never even seen frozen rhubarb at Whole Foods.  Where is it the editors of epicurious.com are shopping that they routinely run across frozen rhubarb?

cooking rhubarb

3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
1-2 tsp grated peeled fresh gingerroot* (depending on taste)
3 fresh rhubarb stalks, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices

In a saucepan simmer vinegar with sugar and gingerroot, stirring, until sugar is dissolved and stir in rhubarb.  Simmer until crisp-tender, about 3-4 minutes, and transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl.  Simmer liquid until reduced to a thin syrup (5-10 minutes) and remove pan from heat. Stir in rhubarb. Serve compote warm or at room temperature.

* I’m out of fresh ginger and keep forgetting to buy more, so I used crystallized ginger instead and cut the sugar back to a ½ cup.

rhubarb compote

Egg Noodles
The secret is really a lot of butter and salt and pepper.




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