Wednesday, August 3, 2011

riding out the debt crisis down south

(I promise, there is something cooking-related in this post.  You'll be rewarded with details and pictures if you read [or scroll] to the end)

I like to think of myself as a savvy traveler.  I've traveled alone frequently since I was about sixteen, and I've crisscrossed Europe solo and with friends during my two semesters and one summer abroad. I can get through airport security in a heartbeat, and have found no train station or bus terminal too tricky to master. My skill for packing a weekend's worth of things in to a tote bag is, dare I boast, impressive. 

But it's been nearly three years since I last lived and traveled in Italy.  (Pause for a moment of mourning and nostalgia).  And the more time that passes, the more traveling seems to throw me off.  I still fly through security and navigate modes of transportation with relative ease.  Even my packing remains fairly well streamlined.  But anymore, the week before and the week after a trip find me floundering. 

I don't cook, because I put off grocery trips ("Oh, I'm leaving soon" or "oh, I just got much to do").  Clothes pile up on the empty side of my bed.  The refrigerator turns in to the home of more than one science experiment involving dairy and/or leftovers.  I eat really irrational meals (you would be amazed at how excited I was to find an uneaten Cow Tail [candy, nothing creepier] in my bag this morning...hello breakfast!).  I just

It doesn't help, I suppose, that between yoga and happy hours with friends, I rarely get home before 9 at night.  Doesn't exactly leave a lot of time for unpacking, laundry, grocery trips, and cooking. [I'm sure somewhere in NC, my parents are maniacally laughing at my realization that it is, perhaps, just a bit difficult to be an adult.]

So I have no new LKTC culinary adventures to share, because I'm a big lazy slacker who has been happy hour-ing it up since my return from a glorious weekend at home.  My grandparents came up from Georgia and we mostly ate, caught up, and monitored the debt crisis. It was lovely.

So, I offer evidence that I actually cooked instead of asking my family to take me out to eat this weekend (well, minus that steak lunch on Saturday...). Hey, we had a new fancy grill/patio to christen, and maybe, just maybe, I'm really starting to enjoy this whole cooking thing.  Let's keep that between us, ok? 

For someone who doesn't love getting messy, I spend a lot of time with my hands covered in food.  But when Mom wants carrot cake, you don't tell the lady no.

Being meat-eating Southerners and all, we don't always think to include a vegetable. After the rousing success of the manchego lime corn at the most recent Sunday dinner, we decided to add it to Saturday's patio party menu.

My Nanny is a great cook (and even brought me a cookbook as a present!), and thankfully she volunteered her assistance for the patio party meal. This whole sour cream mixing step nearly didn't happen (I got a little ahead of myself).  Luckily Nanny caught the near-disaster and single-handedly saved the strip house potatoes first tested on my May trip home (noticing a "repeat successful recipes" trend here?).  After a second go-round with the recipe, we suggest adding crumbled smoked bacon, cutting the salt, and reducing the shallot quantity.   

Note to self: stop blogging about food in the vicinity of lunch time.

Somehow we all still stomached dessert.  Even though I'm not a big carrot cake fan, this recipe was pretty good.  It's light (after all, it hails from Cooking Light) so don't expect the original here.

The trip home was far too short, as they always seem to be.  You really can never get too much of boating on the lake, cooking in a normal sized kitchen, using free laundry facilities, inhaling "welcome home" french toast, or hearing your family at least pretend (convincingly) like they think you're totally awesome and accomplished. Miss you guys already.

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