26 March 2010

Damsel in distress.

As luck would have it, a work project bought Sara to Detroit this week, and I managed to snag her Thursday evening. Plans were all set for a 7:15 dinner at Roast (Sara had booked a room at the newly restored Westin Book Cadillac), when I received a call from Sara. Long story short, there was a slight change of plans via an uncooperative rental car, and I headed down to Detroit to rescue Sara. But, as luck would also have it, Roast was able to squeeze us in early, and we managed to enjoy our dinner after all.

A very well-deserved glass of wine.

After some pre-dinner banter with our waiter, we finally made our decisions. And he pointed out the irony of a vegetarian at Roast. Yeah yeah! And then continued his not-at-all subtle attempts to sway me away from my choice.

Sara went with the pork chop -- waiter approved! She said that it had a good flavor, but it was a little rare for her taste and she would have liked a big more of the polenta ("it really is all about the meat!").

I went with the lobster roll, again, after the waiter's many attempts to get me to change my mind. But there was no way I was passing that up. Yum. I ate it, and liked it, and afterward asked him why he was so against it, and he had a valid point: it's more of a lunch menu item. Ok, yes. And was it worth $25? No. But considering it was one of three options I had, I was more than happy. I love a good sandwich of any kind, especially of the lobster roll variety, which you never see around here. There was a ton of lobster, it was the perfect amount of creamy, and the bread was fluffy and buttery. The waiter said the chef is getting ready to take it off the menu, too, so glad I got it while I could.

A word on the fries... They were delicious. Yum. BUT they smelled SO strongly of rosemary that I had to physically move them away from me so I could enjoy the rest of my meal. It was crazily overpowering.

A word on the "ketchup..."

(Don't even know what its deal was, but we both agreed it was terrible.)

Of course, just as we ordered dessert (we ended up getting it to go), our knight in shining armor appeared:

A VERY Adventures in Babysitting tow truck with a replacement rental car.
Time to deal with the drama that left Sara stranded in the D!

The ultimate good sport.
Ridin' in the tow truck.

Exchanging cars.
Fixin cars.
Where is Thor?

I have to admit, I would have been incredibly stressed out if I were Sara. And if either of us were alone to deal with all this (this being, of course, a dead rental car in the city and no response from the car company for four hours), it would have been very scary. But, we had each other, a good dinner, and a very amusing and friendly tow truck savior. And, in the end, Sara got a much better rental car!

So once the car situation was all straightened out, we returned to the hotel and Sara checked into her room, which offered a very beautiful view of the D.

Pretty... from afar.

Then it was time to eat take-out chocolate banana mousse cake in bed!

Never a dull moment when Sara is around. :)

21 March 2010

Not a mini birthday.

A very very special birthday wish to Miss Lady Lisa, who turns the big fat THREE OH today. I know I tease -- teasing is fun, silly! -- but 30 is great, and you will love it (even though I will still tease you!). Thirty spankings, my love, and can't wait to continue the celebration! Here's to the next 30 years of delicious food, delicious travels, and delicious friends.

Here's the birthday girl modeling her new Hotlanta Shawl (made by yours truly, of course). HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Ice cream and cake is great!

19 March 2010

Bon appetit!

So Mrs. Church, city girl to the core, spent this past weekend in the true boonies of West Virginia. My beloved aunt and uncle up and moved there (boo hiss!), so I better work on becoming a country girl, asap. For my first time, I think I did ok. Helped that it's not yet spring and the threat of poisonous snakes was less (or so they told me!). I eventually didn't get carsick driving on Aunt Sandy's road, trounced through the woods (with a giant walking stick!), rode a four-wheeler, and chased a baby deer around a cemetery. Next time we'll tackle all of the above without the constant "are you SURE there aren't any snakes" commentary.

Don't mess with West Virginia.

Proof it happened. Those are my feet!

Sandy and Danny's neighbors.

Oh, deer.

I miss them so much already.

So anyway, I was gone from Friday through Monday afternoon. When I came home, it was a mini-whirlwind (for me, who never has much going on), pounding out a last-minute editing project, knocking 'em dead on a phone interview, and getting ready for this month's Supper Club. Did I say "getting ready for this month's Supper Club"? What I meant was running out of time and finding myself unprepared for Supper Club. Alas, everyone was very understanding and didn't boot me from the club based on my contribution. Thanks, guys.

This month, Lisa and Brad were the Supper Club hosts, and they selected a French theme (hoooray!! [another reason why I am so sad I didn't get to really "make" anything]). I'd planned on making nicoise salad, but what can you do, right? At Lisa's suggestion, I opted for a mini-snack spread of French cheeses, olives, and sardines (yes, sardines!). I thought the sardines added an element of surprise and intrigue, right?!

See, you are intrigued!

As much as I do like to cook, I must confess I tend to be more of a putter-togetherer. I love when ingredients come together, and I love to organize and arrange them. Here we have the sardines, half in oil, half in lemon and garlic. Also two varieties of olives -- black olives cured in herbs de Provence and green olives with Provencal herbs.

And here we have the piece de resitance, the French cheeses. On the left is gabeitou, a half sheep, half goat cheese with a hint of hazelnut (said to pair well with young fruit wines). On the right is Pave du Nord, named for its shape, which is meant to resemble the cobblestones of a French street. According to Whole Foods, this is a quickly disappearing cheese, so "eat it while you can!"

I just need to give a quick shout out here to the crazy amazing natural light in Lisa and Brad's kitchen. The olive and cheese pictures make me SO excited. I am SO jealous. I WANT this light. (The light in my kitchen sucks and, as you now know from looking at all my pics, everything looks orange!)

I don't think anyone will be rushing out to stock up on sardines, but I think people found them less offensive then expected. Basically, they taste like big chunks of tuna. I would definitely buy these again to mix in with pasta or salads. And what can you say about olives and cheese other than YUM. Duh! Now, onto the dinner portion of Supper Club!

Our gracious hosts.

Our beautiful setting.

The work never ends with boeuf bourguignon!

Lisa DEFINITELY earned that glass of wine.

Justin and Jen's potato tartiflette.

Sadly, I could not eat the boeuf or the tartiflette, but they looked amazing, and everyone loved them. But I COULD eat Lisa's soup, which she so very sweetly made with veggie broth. Seriously, I definitely don't expect anyone to cater to me, this is my choice and no one signed up to be in a food club with an annoying sort-of vegetarian. But it still makes me feel smooshy. :)

Amazing carrot soup a la pumpkin soup in Paris!
(SOO delicious, and I hate cooked carrots!)
(PS the pic is of Brad's soup, so yes, that is bacon on top!)

Dig in!

That's right.... Lisa MADE French bread, too.
I ate five pieces.

Braving the sardines...
(She didn't die.)

Then it was time for dessert. Yum! Sarah and Mike pulled dessert this go-round, and Sarah decided to make Julia Child's favorite, a chocolate-almond cake (Reine de Saba).

Maybe I had two pieces. What's it to ya?

Again, another huge success for our little Supper Club. Vive la Francais! So glad Sarah finally pulled this whole thing together -- it's been a great three months. Next up, me and Brad host a Big Fat Greek Supper Club. Man, I do really miss gyros.... ha!

18 March 2010


Survived my short stint as a country girl. Road Trip '10 to West Virginia was a grand success. More to come soon!

09 March 2010

Nothing rhymes with sixty.

I didn't realize it's been so long since I posted. I guess we have a little case of the spring fever over here, too (just like Lady Lisa!).

Take that, winter!

Spring makes me want to go out, not stay at home, so when we stay home after all, I lack cooking motivation. Our meals of late have consisted of lots of pasta and sandwiches (mmm grilled cheese with tomato), although I did retry the tofu Parmesan subs and they came out MUCH better this time (hint, use pasta sauce, slice the tofu thinner, and throw on an extra slice of provolone, too). I also, on the tail end of a random Chinese craving, made some stir fry using rice cooked in coconut milk (I know this is not Chinese). I've had the coconut milk for a few months, waiting for the right time to try it out -- while Brad was gone, I went for it, and I was very pleased. The rice seemed extra fluffy and it had a delicious buttery taste. I would make this again -- I bought a replacement can of milk -- but, as is normal for me, the "Chinese" cravings are gone, so it'll be a while.

Anyway, the only real "news" over at the Churchy household is a newly 60 dad! My dad turned 60 on Saturday, and we threw him a little party. More evidence of my current food mood.... * sigh * It was all store bought. My name is Stephanie, and I served frozen lasagna at a dinner party. Here's the thing, though -- I'm still not eating meat. And I don't like making things I can't even taste, let alone eat. So partial quality control, partial, well, ok, laziness. But who doesn't love a Stouffer's frozen lasgana? (And I'll happily take any opportunity to eat Stouffer's mac and cheese, which Jordan and I split.) I DID make a nice salad, though, with fresh veggies and blue cheese (YUM). The worst part is that I didn't even make a cake. I love to make birthday cakes! Someone smack me. But my dad certainly didn't care, so all was well.

Jordan quickly tires of the paparazzi....

But is happy to pose with his pal, Heidi.

Dad checks out the photo collage -- 60 years of memories!

Time to eat!

Despite the fakie food, my dad had a GREAT time. And that's what counts, right? RIGHT? :)