Sunday, March 30, 2008

Happy Birthday T

T turned "not older" this weekend, and we went up the The Cliffs in Northern South Carolina. It was partially for a work trip for him, and we extended it into the weekend to look around the area. The coolest part for me was the helicopter ride. Having never been in a helicopter the feeling of slowly lifting off and turning was rather unsettling, but exhilerating at the same time.

The other cool part about the trip was seeing their organic farm that supplies the restaurants in the developments. Lots of work, it looks like, which makes me feel better about paying $3.50 for a single organic bell pepper. I like the philosophy of the developments, trying to maintain as much natural land as possible, encouraging hiking, serving organic food, and giving back to the community. Of course the world-class golf courses don't interest me in the least, but if it helps support things like organic farms and public school eduction on nutrition, then who am I to complain?

The food we had was exceptional. T had a beet salad that was to die for, and I'm not usually a person to swoon over vegetables, but this one was amazing. I had a portobella mushroom with onions, goat cheese, and greens over parsnip puree that was excellent. What was the most interesting was getting to taste salsify. It was kind of bland. But I'm always up for trying something new.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Flattery will get you everywhere

Well, Greg is in town, which means I'm cooking. How can I resist when he tells me that I have the best restaurant in town? And of course I'm going to try to do something amazing. I'm thinking about doing the below:

Balsamic roasted portobello mushrooms with carmelized onions and goat cheese
Orange and herb crusted lamb chops
Marscapone mashed potatoes
Strawberry cream cake

Since this wasn't actually posted on the day it started, let me tell you how the meal turned out.

The lamb was perfect, the mushrooms were EXACTLY what I wanted, and the cake turned out so beautifully. It was a full 4 layers of cake, with jam and buttercream between the layers, and fresh strawberries on the outside. I was actually the most proud of the cake. And of course I got lots of compliments when I took it in to Thy and Estelle the next day.

I think I did some sort of vegetable, but I can't for the life of me remember. It must have been at least a little healthy, which is why I always forget. The healthy stuff just isn't interesting enough to warrant space in my memory. Well, at least not that often. But Greg loved it, which was the whole point. And of course told me what a good cook I was. I know, I'm a sucker for flattery......

Friday, March 14, 2008

Stars and Stew

The 3-star general was in town, so everyone has their proverbial panties in a wad. It wasn't that bad, but it made me feel very young, and rather like an outsider. The culinary highlight was an authentic shrimp boil. And while it was good (shrimp, potatoes, corn, and anduille sausage, what's not to like?), I don't really see the appeal. But I went. I feel very strange being at those things. I know I'm welcome, and its kind of an ego boost to know that all I have to do is ask for something and people will help me, its also strange to be at T's work.

We also went out to one of the local seafood places on Shem Creek, T's senior staff and spouses were all invited. That wasn't bad, but I got to sit next to the general and it was really clear that he didn't want to talk to me, that I was way too young, and how dare I have a career instead of suplicating myself at the feet of T's prestigous rise to fame and fortune as an officer. Well, I guess that's a little mellow-dramatic. But it was still strange to be in that situation.

As a break from the culinary discussions, I do want to say that I am really proud of T and think he has a great career. He is a wonderful leader, and I love to hear about what he is doing. And of course I want to be supportive. I just feel strongly that supportive doesn't have to be keeping a clean house and making sure there is dinner on the table, I feel that supportive can also mean being a backboard to toss ideas against, a non-judgemental listener, and a different perspective. I guess that also means that sometimes dinner isn't hot and the house isn't clean. But I think we have a pretty darn good arrangement.

Well, time to go pack for another trip to Tampa. Luckily the food is good there

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Grit-y Week

Its been one hell of a week. I'm taking a week-long class on project management with the world's most annoying group. The guy next to me keeps a running commentary on everything the teacher says. On top of that, work doesn't stop because I'm in class. I'm just ready to quit. I'm tired of my job, tired of Charleston, tired of all the hassle, tired of feeling like an outsider on everything that I have to do.

T took me to 82 Queen last night. The food was good, at least pretty good. I think my standards are going up. Their shrimp and grits are good, but they just don't put enough of the cheese and BBQ sauce on as I think they should. I guess I should learn to just order things that I wouldn't or haven't made at home. I know my own tastes well enough to know what I like. Which, unfortunately for me, usually means higher fat content. Oh well. I do make a darn good shrimp and grits. And the cheese and BBQ sauce seem like an odd combination, but they are, in fact, excellent.

Its just been a rough week. Its about time for a weekend.