Today I awoke early despite the lack of phone calls (sigh). Not knowing what else to do, I started in on my other contract. A little later in the morning I went to see the worker's comp doctor. Warren was supposed to go to the podiatrist this morning around the same time, but he slept through his appointment. I rolled my eyes when he said "God had a reason for my doing that." When he called Kaiser to see if he could still come in, it turned out the podiatrist hadn't even shown up for work! Sometimes you win one, and this time he did.
It's the 14th anniversary of the day we met, and since I'm not working at KLIV tonight, we're going to spend time together. I have a late afternoon appointment with Dr. James, and after that I hope to go to Berkeley Bowl. After that we'll do a relaxed dinner. I have food for my KLIV shifts that I can fix quickly and that don't leave crumbs on the console and don't stink up the on-air booth, so I don't have to worry about last-minute shopping. I don't get a lot of time between newscasts, and since at least half the time I'll be the only one at KLIV, I need to be able to keep my blood sugar level while constantly going between the newsroom and on-air booth (without breaking my jaw again, thank you!).
Meanwhile, I think I've got a menu set for Warren's parents' Friday dinner:
- Meat loaf, my style. Warren raved about it when I last made it. Warning: It isn't Kosher. I start out with a 2:1 mixture of lean ground beef and lean ground pork, 1 egg, mix it with bread crumbs and whatever herbs and spices suit me that day, top it with tomato sauce (mixing some into the meat) and laying slices of bacon across the top. I bake it at 350F for at least 45 minutes. You can also start it in the microwave and finish it in a regular oven to save time. If the bacon on top isn't crispy, I put it under the broiler to rectify the situation.
- Some kind of latkes. Just to be different I'll either do sweet potato or purple yam. I'm pretty sure I have leftover shredded sweet potatoes vacuum-sealed in the freezer from the last time I did sweet potato latkes.
- Wilted Spinach Salad. Warren raved about this one, too. I pilfered the recipe from Food Network (Tyler Florence, "How to Boil Water"). Heat 2T butter in a wide saute pan until lightly brown, then add 1-2 chopped shallots. Saute for 1-2 minutes till the shallots are translucent. Turn off the burner and add around 1/4 cup wine vinegar, the juice of one lemon, and 1T honey. Whisk to mix, then toss in a huge plastic bin (1 pound?) of baby spinach leaves, turning to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve while still warm.
- Persimmon pudding. I am going to try the same recipe I used two years ago, but using erythritol for some or all of the sugar and using cut-up freeze-dried persimmons instead of raisins or fresh persimmons.
- Nut roll. It's something Grandmom made every year. I'm going to try to do a sugar-free version, and since the dough doesn't contain much sugar (1/2 cup sugar to 6 cups of sifted flour), I can easily substitute it out. Warren doesn't think I can get any of this done, but the nut roll turns out to be a lot easier than it sounds (the recipe in the Slovak cookbook is "Two-Hour Nut Roll," and that was in the 1950s!) and is always impressive. The last time I made it was for a baked goods pot luck at one of my jobs, and it was the first thing to disappear. It's also a fallback in case there's a problem with the persimmon pudding.
When I was a child we'd go to Grandmom and Grandpop's house for Christmas. Grandmom and Grandpop were Mom's parents. Grandmom was Catholic and Grandpop was Lutheran, so we got to elbow in on a really good thing. The tree (always artificial -- Grandpop was strongly against cutting down a perfectly good live tree) was decorated the same way every year in an almost obsessive-compulsive manner. First the lights went on it, then the blue ball ornaments (later blue "icicles" when the balls were no longer available), then the boas of tinsel. It plugged into a rotating base, and there was a color wheel that would shine different colors on it. At the base there was a town scene Grandmom used to do. On one side the base was green "grass," and on the other, "snow." It was surrounded by a built-to-scale fence that was amazingly effective in keeping the dogs out. Grandpop had trained me in the assembly and decoration of the tree, but the thing at the base was always Grandmom's.
Every year Grandmom would make the same tray of cookies -- spritz, chocolate crinkles, biscotti, pizzelles, these little rolled things with nuts in them, and one other cookie that would vary from year to year. After dinner, Grandmom would delicately remove any leftover cookies on the tray, put them into their respective Tupperware containers, and put them back on top of the refrigerator (which is also where she kept the containers when they were empty).
The next year I'd be at Grandmom's and would see her take the Tupperware containers full of cookies -- spritz, chocolate crinkles, biscotti, pizzelles, and the little rolled things with nuts in them -- and put them back on the same tray with the same doily arrangement. When I was little, because I never saw Grandmom baking them, I used to think those were the same cookies from the year before!