Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Bowl

Okay, I guess we didn’t really need an excuse to have guacamole and chips for dinner, but we decided the Super Bowl was one. (Friday night, we thought a DVD from the library was a good excuse to have popcorn and pecans for dinner, too.) The dining table seems better suited for steamed spinach, garlic mashed potatoes, pork loin roast, and tossed salad. The TV room, especially on Super Bowl Sunday, is strictly yoo-hoo-dippity-doo. Robert made yummy guacamole, and we kicked (no pun intended) back for our annual foray into football. Since we don’t follow football, pregame chatter was the sole basis for who I’d root for, and I chose the Steelers team—and Larry Fitzgerald of the Cardinals.

Most of the commercials were creative and fun. Some were a bit edgy and in poor taste, I thought. After a few commercials, Robert and I looked at each other and said, “Did you understand that?” and we both shrugged.

During the fourth quarter, my attention wandered to the last half hour of My Big Fat Greek Wedding on another channel, where I wished a mob of caring women waving blush brushes would crowd into my bathroom to make me look beautiful, too. Back to the Super Bowl, with three minutes left in the game, I considered toddling off to bed. Robert had crashed right after Bruce Springsteen (hey, boss, didn't you get the memo? a goatee goes at the bottom of your chin.) finished screaming, leaving me to cheer both Larry Fitzgerald and the Steelers’ Holmes into touchdown territory in those precious final three minutes. What a whoop-worthy game!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Taste Bud Bits

Sadly, I placed my two warmth-craving, bushy basil plants in the zero-temps of the garage this week. I had dug them up during our exuberant harvest season to winter over in our sunny bay window and provide piquant tastes of summer until next season’s harvest. Their paraglider-canopy leaves summer-scented the whole room. I noticed the spider mites in December and kept washing them off. But this week, the pests had spread to the point that I knew I would no longer eat a basil leaf from these plants. Goodbye, basil. Ironically, some of my warmth-craving basil from last summer is preserved for winter enjoyment in pesto batches—in our freezer.

Several weeks ago I got blissed out by the butternut squash and pumpkin soup at Le Titi de Paris restaurant. The rest of the meal was exquisite, as always, but this silken soup, I simply don’t have words for. Every spoonful produced tears of joy. You just can’t imagine food can taste like this. If you’re anywhere in the Midwest and can get to the Chicagoland area, Le Titi is a worthy destination.

Some friends gave me a little bow-tied package of Chewy Choco Wally Bites, gluten-free cookies which turned out to be both chocolate-y rich and softly cakelike. My new favorite is by Whole Bakers.

Another friend invited me to an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting by The Olive Tap at a local library this week. Not only did we learn helpful culinary facts, but we also had an education in how to taste olive oil—tip of the tongue first, then back of the tongue, and finally, the don't-try-this-at-home professional loud slurp-and-cough method. I came away with a small bottle of garlic-infused olive oil, which I’ve already used to decrease the amount of butter I put on macaroni, and I’ve got garlic mashed potatoes on the menu for tomorrow. Can’t wait to try my new blood-orange olive oil on vanilla ice cream; it’s supposed to taste like a Creamsicle. Who would’ve guessed?