And we’re back, after a very extended commercial break, sponsored by Work Yourself to Death! and my personal fave, Homelessness (it’s the new Black). But I’m still here, safe and sound and not yet on the streets, and at home, at the very least, in my writing again. It’s funny how you can have your life almost totally together, but the absence of one thing (in my case, a house) can make you feel like you’re on the edge looking over into realities you’d rather not experience. I imagine this is how Enid Lambert felt in The Corrections. She has her life together, a life that had always been predictable and steady, until she realizes that her husband, Albert, is slowly losing his mental faculties to Parkinson’s, and even though she tries to pretend that everything is fine, beneath the surface she’s cracking. It’s an awful feeling. I can completely understand why it was so important to her to get her children to come home for Christmas. There are moments in life when you find yourself grasping at flotsam in order to keep your head above water.
But enough about that. I’ll get through this, as I always do, for better or worse. In the meantime, I think I’ll just keep reading through my list. Who knows where I’ll be when I finally finish?
So for the dinner on The Corrections I made a dinner that was part New York haute-cuisine, part down-home Midwest, minus the jello mold. My dad was visiting in between ski trips in Tahoe and Mammoth (yea I know, he’s got a hard life, right?) and we decided to make this dinner as a thank you to the girls who have been letting me couch-crash for the past two months. My dad also volunteered to help me pay for the ingredients, which was awesome. So here’s the menu:
Green Bean Salad from pip & ebby
Acorn Squash with Cranberry and Walnut Glaze from live love pasta
Twice-Baked Potatoes from Center Cut Cook
Garlic-Encrusted Rack of Lamb from Amuse Bouche
And finally, Coffee Cake from Baking Glory.
Now, considering that I had to work that day and I hadn’t gone shopping yet and I had to wait for my friend to get home because she had the key and the fact that all my roommates go to bed around 9:30 to 10:00 on weekdays because they wake up early for work, this was a big enterprise. I didn’t end up actually cooking until about 7, so I had my work cut out for me if I was going to make all that before the roommates fell asleep while rubbing their hungry bellies. Having my dad there was a lifesaver. And it didn’t hurt to have Gary Lambert’s go-to drink, a dirty martini, at hand either.
I’d never worked with lamb before, having only acquired a taste for it in the last couple years when I was bartending next to a Greek restaurant at the Sawdust Art Festival in Laguna Beach. Both their lamb burger and the lamb stew was to die for. Aside from the price, which was a little extravagant, though not as bad as the venison for The Last of the Mohicans dinner and probably made more so by the fact that we were shopping at Whole Foods, the lamb was really easy to prepare. Just toss some ingredients in the food processor, or blender in my case, rub the result all over the rack of lamb, and roast. The only important thing to remember if you’re ever preparing lamb is to have a meat thermometer, because it’s really easy to go from too rare to overcooked in mere minutes.
Actually, other than the time it took to prepare everything, the menu was really easy. Nothing complicated or overly time-consuming to speak of. And it all came out really good. The acorn squash was tender and juicy, the potatoes were bursting with flavor (probably all the bacon and sour cream), and the lamb wasn’t too rare, but rather the perfect temperature and just the right amount of garlic.
It was all ready by about 9, and I could already tell that the girls were getting tired so I was happy that I finished when I did. They were even able to stay awake for the coffee cake at the end, which was amazing straight out of the oven.
I’m really glad I was able to do something to show my gratitude to them, even though it doesn’t even begin to equal what they’ve given me. But there’s my dinner, overdue maybe, but done nevertheless. Maybe my next book, Wuthering Heights, will remind me just how far I really am from the insanity I feel from not being able to find a place to live. Until then, thanks for staying tuned.