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Archive for April 25th, 2012

What A Swell Party This Turned Out To Be

When you live in a big city, you get lots of houseguests.  It’s just something that happens when you rent an apartment in a place where hotel rooms cost as much as kidney transplants.

People were always crashing on my couch in New York.  Two of my friends even honeymooned in my apartment.  While I was there.

If you’re thinking that a group honeymoon situation sounds awkward, cramped, stressful, or otherwise not ideal, you are correct.  My friends were perfectly well-behaved and lovely, but my apartment wasn’t exactly a 30-acre Sandals resort.  I had a mini-fridge, a hot plate, one extra pillow, a shower that didn’t drain all the way, and a mouse who lived behind the radiator.  The mouse’s name was Stan.  Stan eventually perished and I will never, ever tell you if he died naturally or if I killed him with a broom after he pooped in a box of my favorite granola.

Now that I live in Alabama with Scott, I didn’t expect to get many visitors– especially since the whole internet knows we eat burpy cucumbers and decorate our house with gourd art.

I was shocked when our friend Dave said he was flying in for the weekend.

I warned him that the mosquitoes had started biting.

I told him that the pollen was so thick I could write my name on the front porch with my finger.

And I reminded him that our microwave might make him infertile.

But he came anyway.  We were so glad.

We put him in the honeymoon suite.

We ate huge bowls of homemade granola for breakfast and walked down to the town square.

I had a beer at lunch, in the sun, and it made me so sleepy that I could have taken a nap right there on the picnic table where someone had written:

~What a swell party this turned out to be~

We read books.  Scott and Dave played Connect Four competitively over the old barrel in the back yard while I made chickpea salad.  When night fell, we grilled.  We grilled heaps of vegetables and piled them on toasted bread.  We devoured a rum cake that I’ll never know how to make because Scott got it at a bake sale.

And then Dave left, and now I have that disappointed feeling I get when something good is over.

The house feels quieter.

The rooms feel emptier.

But what a swell party that turned out to be!

~~~

Balsamic Reduction To Drizzle Over Everything

{We put this stuff on almost everything we ate this weekend: grilled hearts of romaine sprinkled with salt, grilled zucchini and asparagus, toasted bread topped with goat cheese. . .}

There are a couple of ways to make it.  Either way, you’ll end up with less than 1/4 of what you started with, so choose your starting amount of vinegar accordingly.  You’ll probably want to turn on a kitchen fan, because the smell as it reduces can be quite pungent.

1) You can simmer balsamic vinegar by itself for a long time (like over an hour) until it reduces to a syrup.

2) You can speed the process up by adding sugars of some kind.  We simplified a Beekman Boys recipe and used 2/3 c. balsamic vinegar, 1/4 c. orange juice and 1 tbsp. honey.  We only had to simmer for about 5 minutes.