Wednesday, August 1, 2012

long weekend at the lake

My sanity-restoring trip home started out not-so-sanity-tastic. The bus I took from DC to NC got caught in two separate traffic jams, one just a few miles from the final destination, featured a busted AC system, and was transporting myself as well as a family reunion and a gaggle of squealing teenage girls. By the time I got in Mom's car at the bus station, I was in desperate need of the wine she had stashed in a tote bag to take to the hair appointment for which I was now an hour late. By the time we got to the salon, I had calmed down a bit, but I had already decided that was the end of my MegaBus stint. At least for any trip in the eight hour time range. 

Torturous bus ride behind me, it was a whirlwind, but restorative trip. I picked up several things to further decorate my apartment (photos to come, if you're at all interested), squeezed in some shopping time with my mom and sister, helped my dad get his classroom ready, and enjoyed a perfect lazy Sunday afternoon on the lake with our Charlotte family. After several hours of zipping across the lake and putting down anchor to swim, we headed back to the house for a little cookout. 

In preparation for the cookout, mom and I planned to serve all sorts of things, some of which we decided to make ourselves, others we decided were best thrown together by the local Fresh Market. Because we were fitting food prep in with my ambitious "I only shop when I go home so we gotta make this trip count" mantra, we started the prep work Saturday evening after a long day of errands but before a late dinner at a locally famous Italian restaurant.   

I'm not sure if we were tired or distracted or what, but I made all sorts of disaster Saturday night. It all started when I looked away for a second, A SECOND, I tell you, and in that moment, the peach simple syrup (for boozey popsicles) that had been bubbling away boiled over and coated the stove top in a sickeningly burned mass of goo. Once the syrup finished its cooking process on the clean side of the stove, as we started cleaning the afflicted side, we managed to throw the grate off of the stove and into the little receptacle between the stove and the cabinet. Oops. 

Then, when it came time to mix tonic with the rest of the boozey popsicle ingredients, the tonic exploded all over me and the rest of the kitchen. Our feet stuck to the floor all weekend, despite our best efforts to wipe it all up. As I whipped up the layers for chocolate peanut butter squares, we had several near-disasters, and decided to shelve plans to make lemon bars from scratch, lest we burn the kitchen down at the rate we were going. 

Not one to be easily dissuaded from baking something from scratch, I woke up the next morning determined to make the lemon bars. Mom pitched in by juicing a billion lemons and grating their rinds. At which point her knuckles fell victim to the cheese grater we were using to get the zest. At that point we decided to just give up and buy everything else. Well, everything else except the fixings for my favorite summer corn dish: roasted corn with lime from Bon Appetit. But I've made that so often I can practically do it with my eyes closed (which I've realized is a good skill to have when dicing several jalapenos, mind you). Cooking disasters aside, everything turned out really well, from boozey boat snack popsicles to roasted corn to dessert. Here's the recipe roundup:
And no, I do not have a single photo other than the above evidence of my nearly ruining my parents' stove. Sometimes you're just enjoying yourself too much to bother taking pictures!       

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