There are advantages to having an empty nest.
Saturday, even though Chad was in town, he was working. You will recall that he was grumpy and when he left that morning to go to work, I asked him what time he would be home after work (as in . . what time shall I have dinner?), his response was “I’m going to Jason’s”. I thought . . fine . . I hope Jason is going to feed you!
Not long after Chad left, Vince said “Want to go to Pittsburg?” In Vince speak, that’s means . . want to eat Chinese? He knows I don’t like Chinese food. My first answer was an emphatic NO! Then I felt bad. He does so much for me. You know . . those pink sponges . . how many husbands would be so considerate as to think of getting a nail saver sponge for their wife for Valentine’s Day? I hope your answer is “Not Mine”. Really, I may complain about Vince (ain’t no maybe about it . . I complain a lot!) but he really is a great husband and I’ll bow at his feet (well, only in my mind . . not literally!) for the ways he’s helped me with Chad; the way he provides for all of us and never complains; the ways he supported me emotionally through those years when Chad caused all this gray hair. He really isn’t much on buying gifts for special occasions. In Vince’s mind, every day is a special occasion. If you see something you want and need, get it. Heck, get 2 or 3 of them and drive your wife nuts! 🙂
I began thinking about all that and then I said . . ok, I’ll go eat Chinese so off to Pittsburg we went.
They have crawfish on the buffet and while they look like regular boiled crawfish, they don’t taste like any crawfish you’ll ever find in Louisiana . . unless you’re eating at the Chinese buffet . This is Vince’s plate . . not mine. My Louisiana heritage will not allow me to eat crawfish off a Chinese buffet, even though I did taste them once just to be sure they didn’t measure up. I’ve tasted some bland crawfish on Chinese buffets in Louisiana. That should be criminal! Hey . . Governor Jindal . . make it illegal in Louisiana to serve crawfish that aren’t done right! And, I should be the one who gets to decide what’s right! 🙂
From there we went to a couple of antique stores. I bought this little iron for $2. It will probably just find a place sitting on a shelf next to a Featherweight but I fired it up and it does work.
Sunday I made more of the Five Minute Artisan Bread. If you haven’t bought the book and tried it, what are you waiting for? I just love it! Chad had asked for some to take back to school so I made a long baguette type piece and we ate part of it with lunch and then Chad was taking the rest of the loaf with him. Then Vince asked if it would be possible to make more for dinner. He wanted sandwiches with crusty bread. I had another whole batch I’d stirred up Thursday so yep, I just made another smaller baguette type loaf. Chad had already left by dinner time. Vince fixed himself a sandwich and I had an avocado with fresh, warm bread!
Then yesterday, I still had some smoked chicken in the fridge so I made a pizza. This is my favorite pizza – kind of a margherita style.
Hey . . stop laughing! No one ever said pizza HAS to be perfectly round. Mine always ends up taking on whatever shape it desires. Yes, I could take more time to get it nice and round but who cares? It tastes just the same whether it’s “L” shaped, horse shoe shaped or whatever shape it takes on. I like to make this with fresh tomatoes but . . there were no fresh tomatoes at my house so I cooked down a jar of whole tomatoes with some basil, oregano, onions and garlic. The I topped it with sliced fresh mozzarella, a bit of parmesan, chopped smoked chicken and lots of fresh basil.
Now doesn’t that just look so good? It was definitely so good! And, because Chad isn’t home to complain about spinach, I fixed Spanakopita and it was so good too! 🙂
Chad is a bit of a picky eater in that he won’t eat spinach, broccoli, cabbage . . that sort of thing. Vince will eat most anything so I can cook anything my heart desires without worrying about having rice and gravy for Chad. This empty nest isn’t nearly as bad as it was two weeks ago!
You’re getting there….proud of you!!! (Your pizza shape is CUTE.)
I love how you love to complain about Vince and then back yourself up by listing all his good attributes too. Eating Chinese IS a small price to pay for what you get in return! Even if they don’t make crawfish the “right” way! All your cooking looks yummy. I make special food for my son too – he eats very little meat – so yesterday I was making up a big batch of lentil burgers and the day before it was quiche. I am always on the lookout for a healthy vegetarian dish. Then I try to plan our meals so that we can all have the same thing, except the meat part. I can’t understand Chad wanting to eat at Jason’s when he has such special food at home!!! I will have to ask the library to order in that bread book so I can take a look! I usually make 4 loaves of bread a week but always use the same recipe! Except I only have 2 bread pans so 2 loaves go in the pans and the other 2 get shaped because I do all 4 loaves at the same time. Are those fresh herbs from your little indoor garden that you have (2 of them, if my memory serves correctly, yup that Vince is a funny guy!).
OMG… Spanakopita… girl I’m on my way! I haven’t the patience to roll out those sheets of Phyllo dough, but my gosh I love that stuff!
Just want to let you know that I asked for and received the Artisan breadbook for Christmas (at your suggestion). I now have a batch ready to go at a moments notice all the time. I noticed you used parchment for the pizza that looks like it could be a good idea because when I did pizza it kind of made a mess of my peel and stone.
Dianne B. in England says
Yum, Judy, your cooking looks so delicious! So when are you going to open your own little restaurant? Judy’s Patchwork Kitchen, maybe? I’ll be your first customer! 🙂
Judy–I got the Artisan Bread cookbook for Christmas but think I will wait until I get home to try it–ovens in RV’s aren’t the greatest. Everytime I get it out and read, my mouth waters as it did while reading your blog this morning.
You food looks so good. I wish I were more creative in my cooking. I can change that. My husband is resistant to change and is one of those picky eaters.
My favorite part of the empy nest is coming home and finding my house just like I left it. Instead of things scattered all over. Dirty dishes being the main thing. Our last child left home almost four years ago. Now when they come home I wonder how two grown children and one small dog can create such a mess in such a short time.
My dinner menu just changed from ground turkey/veg soup to pizza! I think I’ll flavor my turkey with some taco seasoning…..yummm I love the look of the pizza!
Chinese food isn’t my favorite either but it is DH’s. Sometimes I need to go just so I don’t have to cook and they make a great General Tsoa (?) chicken. 🙂
I think your Vince is A-DOR-A-BLE!
Ok, you have finally talked me into it. I will be ordering the breadbook as soon as I get paid on friday!
I’m so happy to read that you’re beginning to find a little bit of up-side to the empty nest.
OK, I did it, too. I followed your link to the book’s site and read about the book and recipes. From there it was just a click to Amazon. I also bought a book of slow cooker recipes. I can’t wait to get started!
So when you come to town and you and I go have lunch, I’ll take you to the pool hall for a cheeseburger, ‘kay?
Sorry, chere,. Your pizza looks like a Christmas stocking!
I forgot to say that Vince’s plate looks like mine. Joe eats about 3 things from that place. I could eat there every day.
Ok I just got out of the kitchen after mixing my first batch for the bread. I purchased the book the beginning of Jan. I do not know why I have put it off so long. Seeing your post today I though all right all ready lets get the show on the road. So tonight or tomorrow I should taste my first results. I do not have a pizza stone so I guess I will be using the cookie sheet the first time. Not sure what to really buy in the ways of a pizza stone.
Chuckling at how far you’ve progressed in this empty nest state in such a short time!
Karleen Taylor says
Judy! Thanks so much for talking about the Artisan Bread book. I bought one when you first talked about it and LOVE it! The pizza crust is wonderful. My son says its better than Pizza Hut.
And the iron thing…I haven’t had the leaking problem but have problems when using steam and the rust coming out. It’s very sporadic, only when I’m ironing white or light things do I have trouble! Ugh.
I enjoy your blog and our only son is leaving in September for college so am reading with interest the various emotions you are going through.
Yum, I love Spanakopita but have never fixed it myself. The pizza looks good too and I’m having some for dinner only it’s being delivered. I’m sure yours will be better but I love pineapple stuffed crust pizza so with Keith gone and no intention of cooking for one…pizza it is.
Becky in GA says
Judy, I’ve been out of town so I’m just catching up on your posts. I don’t know about that little iron for $2 but I’d give my right arm for that Black & Decker retro Iron that it is sitting next to. I had one. It lasted for 6 years! I went to WalMart and purchased a new one that was supposed to be just like it. WRONG! Two weeks later I returned it and again in another 2 weeks did it again. The third time I purchased a different iron entirely. I still miss my Black & Decker iron. It is just like one my Mother used when I was growing up except for the cord. It was a wonderful iron!!
Saw this recipe today and thought of your various breadmaking posts.
Otto’s is a local pub/restaurant here in State College, PA (home of Penn State). They serve EXCELLENT food, and pretty durn good beer (made on site). While they say to use their beer (it’s their recipe afterall!), I believe that any beer can be substituted.
(Recipe courtesy of Otto¹s Pub & Brewery; State College, PA)
1 oz yeast
1 T Olive Oil
16 oz of Otto¹s beer
Warm beer to 110 degrees, add the yeast and olive oil, stir until well
incorporated. Let stand for 5 min. while the yeast blooms.
In a separate bowl combine:
12 oz all purpose flour
4 oz Semolina flour
1 T Salt
1. Mix together the wet and the dry ingredients until ball of dough
2. Place in a large bowl covered with plastic in a warm humid area.
3. Let rise until doubled in size.
4. Portion into two separate balls.
5. Roll balls into desired shape and use your favorite toppings.
Best served with a pint (or two) of your favorite Otto¹s beer.
Beryl Redfield says
You “spoke” to me yesterday about the no knead bread, so after watching 10 UTubes about it including one by the authors of the book, I mixed up a batch last night and baked some tonight. It is awesome, so delicious and so thank you for nagging us! I resisted a long time because I like to make bread, like to knead bread and figured anything else but the old fashioned way just wouldn’t be good. But it is different and very good, especially with your potato soup! I will be making if again and also spreading the word. THanks, Beryl in Utah