Thursday, May 04, 2006

No real destination in mind

A certain friend and I have been planning our joint vacation next month and I found out some interesting tidbits as we talked about food.

She hates bananas, even the smell and sight of them. Her wife loves tzatziki sauce -- the yogurt-cucumber-dill sauce that goes on gyros and Greek salads -- and will worship me if I make it. I told her to tell her wife to exercise the knees because I want the display of worship at my feet to be a smooth transition from standing to kneeling. I plan to make my decadent, guaranteed to slam your arteries shut bleu cheese-butter-cream-shiitake mushroom sauce for a night of grilled steaks. We also discussed what to put on an everything bagel: roasted red pepper hummus, chopped tomatoes (she likes hers toasted with a bit of butter) and my favorite cream cheese and smoked Cajun salmon. Other combinations were mentioned, but I want to try something I read about recently: everything bagel with the soft insides scooped out and filled with fresh chopped tomatoes -- and my twist -- Celtic sea salt and fresh dill. (better get the dill planted this weekend)

I definitely want to make something I've been working on, too: vegetarian lasagna with finely chopped shiitake, portobello and porcini mushrooms, ricotta-Parmesan cheese and medium sliced English cucumbers in place of lasagne noodles. There are other things that go in there, like my homemade marinara sauces, but you get the idea. I should also get busy making dilled cucumber salad and will probably make my baked Greek chicken and a Spanish frittata or two. I might even break down, if I can find some really good apples, and make open faced apple tarts with honey-apricot glaze on phyllo dough and I can't forget the vanilla bean vanilla ice cream as the topping right out of the oven.

Do you get the idea that I haven't had a chance to cook for someone other than me for a long time? You'd be right. I really enjoyed cooking for and with my kids when they were young. Sometimes we made a mess but every time we had fun before, during and after the process. One thing I am certain of is that my boys knews how to feed themselves, and not just with a microwave and a Budget Gourmet nuke-able meal. One of my sons wanted to become a chef but got sidetracked when he was told getting a good job was nearly impossible, so he became a mobile home salesman.

When I was at Mountain Mama's the other day talking to the new guy in the deli who was making my vegetarian artichoke-Parmesan spread wrap, who also happened to be from Ohio (born in Cleveland and moved to Columbus before coming to Colorado), I learned he wanted to be a chef and was saving to go to school. I told him he had the touch; the way he made my vegetarian wrap was beautiful and artistic, as well as tasty. He reminded me a little of my son, except for his deep brown eyes, tattoo, long wavy dark hair and earring. I will keep an eye on him. I've already given him my tuna salad recipe trick: I chop up fresh avocado with the chopped celery, boiled egg, Celtic sea salt, pepper, wild caught tuna, mayo and spicy mustard. Gives it a whole new taste. I like the wild caught tuna because it's not mushy.

Food is on my mind. I'm thinking about a birthday party that I didn't think was going to turn out that is turning out better than I thought, if only on a different date, and the special cake I want to make for the birthday boy -- if I can talk the best cheesecake maker out of his recipe.

As for my tandem vacation, there are recipes to plan, ingredients to scope out, movies to sort through and separate and fun to be contemplated. In fact, I'm going to ask my boss to extend my vacation by two days so I can enjoy the sun and a good book and even better company for more than a couple days. We'll probably get sick of each other by the end of the vacation, but at least we will be well fed, full of new sights and sounds and floating on a cloud of movies based on Jane Austin books. What better way to spend a vacation?

I guess I'll figure that out on my next vacation when Beanie comes to visit. To make sure she doesn't change her mind, I'm going to dangle my New Orleans style gumbo and crab cakes. I know that will do the trick.

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