Saturday, November 12, 2016

Food, interrupted

Yesterday, a day which will live in confusion.

The plot:  roof replaced, new skylight in place.  Bag of tools wrt skylight left between glass and screen.  Neighbor says, oh, I'll pop out the screen, and get the tools for you.  Screen will not pop. Three roofers unable to remove screen to retrieve tools.  Promise to come yesterday to fix, need to be in house, will I be there.  Yes, I will.

Now, since Handsome Son was expected for dinner, I was going to do a good bit of cooking and baking.  Our weekly meal is also the foundation for a few days of my own feeding.

So I got up early, and figured I'd better be up and ready for company early, since construction starts about seven.  So I'm all dressed, and chopping and sizzling and roasting and baking, doing half a dozen procedures at once, thinking to get it done before they show up,  and the roofer, Bob, yes, he's really called Bob (as in  The Builder), shows up in midstream, as it were.  

This is the ingredient stage, not shown is chicken thighs roasting in oven, nor potatoes, not yet cooked at this point, before Bob came in



Oh, what are you cooking, smells great? when's lunch?  now switch everything off because I need you to show me the skylight situation.  So I switched everything off, retimed it all in my head, took a Skype message from anxious son, I had failed to switch on my phone, his texts unanswered, while trotting upstairs to show the nonfunctioning skylight.

Bob the Builder assessed the situation and found that the original aperture was too small for the unit they'd installed.  But, hearteningly, he said we'll make this work, okay, you can carry on now, got this.

And he ingeniously made a solution with a bit of sheet rock cutting and a cunning new way to get at the screen, which can now be removed, by anyone, not just Bob.  So, pausing  to take a look around the studio, which is where the skylight is, he commented that it all looked very familiar to him, his daughter's an artist, and his friend, a roofer, is a terrific portrait painter in oils, and so on, very nice convo.  This brings to one hundred per cent the sampling of building tradesmen I've met who make art or their family does, and they're very up on it. Seems to go with the territory.  

In fact contracting has a lot in common with art: constraints of materials and size, need for inventiveness at times, ability to visualize the next stage and execute, adeptness with tools, persistence, focus, willingness to try several approaches.  I don't have the physical strength, otherwise I bet I could have been a good contractor.

So Bob departed, and I got on with the main dish, a sort of chicken pie thing, partly Craig Claiborne  NYT cookbook, partly my own ideas, partly the addition of a small dish of tendoli, at least I think that's what, gift of Indian friend via her daughter.  Spicy way of cooking a green veg that is like a kind of green bean, very popular among Indian friends.

All the vegs were fresh chopped including the parsley still bravely growing out on the patio, despite all the torrent of debris and boots stomping on it lately.  That slice of red stuff is frozen tomato paste. Roast chicken thighs in oven throughout this time, to be cut up into cubes and added to the vegs, simmered in a chicken stock, thickened with flour. Wine, supposed to be white, but Merlot was just fine. Mashed potatoes, real mash this time, with grated sharp cheddar, on top. 

All this taking place in a house swathed roof to ground in tarps, quite dark indoors, with hammering overhead throughout, and snatches of cheerful Latin songs to be heard, and people coming and going and driving massive equipment about, a few feet away.

So, the pie thing in the fridge for evening, and I had plans to show you pix of the completed dish, which was pretty nice, bubbling and inviting, once it was safely on the table.  Son at table awaiting main course, just bringing it from the kitchen, sizzling, anxious to set it down, when neighbor drops in with item he'd picked up for me at the store to fix my clothes dryer which sort of had a nervous breakdown amid the renovation. Leaving me with a pile of hot wet laundry.

So I put the dish out on the table, invited Handsome Son to help self while I settled up with neighbor and discussed other neighbor's woes and plans and you know how it is.  By the time I got to the table, the dish was still lovely and hot, but it was sort of wreckage owing to the inroads of very appreciative son.  We both needed comfort food this week.  So no food-styled picture. It looked a bit like those patio pix with all the debris raining down..

I had also made hummus, served on hot biscuits for a starter, since soup wouldn't go with this chicken pie thing, must figure out a better name for it.   All made fresh same day.

You do know how easy it is to make hummus, no?  beats me why it's so expensive to buy, it's only chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, peanut butter if you don't like tahini, which I don't, and you can leave out the garlic if you can't do garlic.  Chuck the lot into food processor, I have a tiny one called Oscar, no, that's the actual name of it, which handles whole can of chickpeas plus other items.  Went over well, on the fresh hot biscuits.

Then this evening, after a quiet day, with audio version of Faro's Daughter on Hoopla, protest knitting see here, the slot scarf fun to make



supper was very mideastern: pitted dates with hummus, glass of red wine. 




If you've never tried this combo, do.  The sweetness of dates can be a bit much, but the more savory hummus and the contrast in textures, works really well with it. 

So upshot: cooking despite interruptions, the Shakuhachi effect, went fine, the skylight works, the dryer will be seen tomorrow by handyman neighbor who works in IT but should really have been an engineer, I believe,  is intrepid at taking things apart, we'll see if it's fixable.  All's pretty well, considering. 

Particularly in view of the massive huge moon out tonight, very reassuring that at least other planets are working okay.  And I imagine it's a lot more peaceful and less confusing on the moon that around here.

1 comment:

dogonart said...

checked the big moon last night....it seemed to have a ding in its side! Mebbe need new multifocals, or something. Such a bravura day you had Liz.