Monday, February 27, 2012

Oyster Stew

I had a great weekend.

I tend to wake up early on Saturday and Sunday, even though I have the option of sleeping in.

So, on Saturday I was up at about 6:45 am.  I got up, weighed myself, snuggled into my bathrobe, put on my glasses, and went out to the family room and started a fire.  No, I did not haul wood; we have a gas fireplace with a remote.  Best invention since sliced bread.

When the cats figured out there was a fire happening, they came to lie in front of it.  Lazy heat-seekers.

I finally got around to eating breakfast.  I was seriously contemplating waiting until the afternoon to take my shower, but then Richard had emerged from the bedroom and reminded me we had stuff to do.  So I leaped out of my comfy chair and jumped into the shower.

At about 10:45, we went to the local lawn and garden show.  This is an event organized by Literacy Volunteers as a fundraiser.  This is the second year it's been held and there is always something interesting.  Not everything is lawn and garden, though.

Our friend Leann was representing the local farmers' market with her homemade breads.  I bought a loaf of focaccia and four banana-poppy seed muffins.  The muffins were yummy and the focaccia was phenomenal.  We had toasted pieces of it with an olive-oil dipping sauce to go with our oyster stew on Sunday evening.

Richard bought a blueberry bush and some olive oil produced in Georgia.  I also bought some local honey.  It is buckwheat honey and has a nice flavor.

I also got to pet the sweetest pug.  She was just adorable.

By the time we left the lawn and garden show, it was almost lunchtime, so we went to a new place in town, Ranchero's Fresh Grill.  I had a vegetarian burrito in a spinach tortilla.  They let you pick and choose your fillings, so every one is custom made.  I had Mexican rice, black beans, pico de gallo, lettuce, and cheese, topped with a southwestern vinaigrette.  All the stuff that was supposed to be hot was hot and the rest was room temp, so my burrito was not only tasty, it was comforting to eat.  I loved it.

In the afternoon, I washed and dried a load of laundry (isn't that exciting?).  That evening  we met at Julie's house to celebrate her significant other's birthday.  First we had martinis at Julie's (mine was composed of vanilla vodka, Dutch caramel vodka, and Amarula (which is a liqueur made from a fruit that grows in Africa).  After martinis, we all progressed to one of our local Mexican restaurants, El Cazador, for dinner.  I had carne azada, which was quite tasty, but my steak knife was dull, yet I managed.

I had a fun conversation with Rebekah and Randy (the birthday boy) about, among other things, knitting.  Randy knew nothing, so I got quizzed on how it is accomplished.  It was interesting to be able to explain the how-to of knitting to someone and make him understand.

After dinner, we went back to Julie's for carrot cake and more martinis.  My second one had the vanilla and Dutch caramel vodkas again with the addition of Godiva white chocolate liqueur.  It was strong but quite tasty.  The alcohol kept it from being too sweet.  I sipped it slowly, very slowly.  We finally got home and to bed after midnight, but we had fun!

Richard and I have a bunch of cookbooks, like several shelves' worth.  We decided a while back that we should actually find something new to cook from one of them, but we kept forgetting.  So I came up with a plan to make it more interesting.  Every weekend one of us will pick out a cookbook and the other has to pick out a new recipe to try.  I picked the first book, Crazy Sista Cooking, which was written by Jimmy Buffett's sister, who owns a restaurant on the Gulf Coast.

Richard picked out Oyster Stew a la Lulu, and we had that last night.  Richard had never eaten oyster stew, and my only experience with the stuff was what my mother made with milk, butter, and slimy canned oysters.  My parents loved it but, I was too young to appreciate stuff like that.  (I avoided oysters until I moved to Charleston.)  Anyway, the stew was good!  Richard found some Apalachicola oysters at one of our local groceries, and the recipe also contains veggies and cream and Brie.  We have decided to keep up with that recipe and use it again.

The cookbook Richard chose for me is The Firefighters Cookbook, from which I picked Sausage Parmesan; we will have that this coming weekend.

Richard's sister and brother-in-law are coming this weekend, so I expect we will have a good time then, too.

It was a great, active weekend.

Oh, wait!  I forgot to mention the turkey and black bean chili we had on Friday night.  For Christmas, my brother-in-law's brother Mark gave us a bottle filled with a mix of veggies and spices for making chili.  You add your own meat, two bottles of water, and a can of tomato sauce.  Cook it up until the beans and veggies are soft and done, about 30 minutes, and then enjoy.  It was pretty darned good, too, and was quite low fat and low calorie.  It was just spicy enough to be interesting but not so spicy that it burned our mouths.  The mix made a bunch of chili, so we were able to freeze two more meals' worth of it, and we still have some left over for those nights this week that we don't want to cook.

Good weekend!  I hope yours was as much fun as mine was.