These last three mornings I have gotten up with the best of intentions; none of which have come to fruition.
You all know the type of day: first the phone rings, then the neighbor stops by, then this, then that, and before one can blink the sun is setting.
All of these little interactions take longer here.
Our elderly neighbor’s nephew was visiting them yesterday.
He teaches English.
Knowing that when I told them we had sold our house they would have lots and lots of questions/concerns/comments, I have been waiting for him to be around before I told them. I was right (of course) and it took well over an hour.
And, of course, everyone had to have an apéro whilst discussing it…. at 11:00 in the morning. One of the times I was very grateful for the ingrained ‘good old boy’ ways as I happily sipped my orange juice rather than the port the ‘men’ were having!
Next, the guy buying our house came to visit, again.
It’s wonderful the way everyone takes time to interact, really, it is. Always a coffee, a drink, something. It can really cut into one’s day, though.
Even the 4 kisses!
Here, in the Vendée, we do not do the 2 kisses upon greeting and leaving as in most of France. We do 4.
Yes, that’s right, 4.
I once watched a couple of teenage boys come to a neighborhood picnic to tell their parents something. There were about 30 people present. They had to greet everyone.
30 people times 4 kisses = 120 kisses to say hello.
They spoke to the parents for about 5 minutes, then left. Naturally, they had to say good bye.
30 people times 4 kisses = 120 kisses to say good bye.
The two kids were there for 30 minutes, 25 of which were in saying hello and goodbye.
To their credit, they not only didn’t shirk their duty, they did it smilingly and politely.
I have been with my own relatives in the U.S. when the kids came in, grunted, grabbed a soda and left.
Back to my little contest.
Can you guess what this wooden ‘thing’ is?
No one has come close yet.
It is not an umbrella stand or a boot stand.
It has nothing to do with potties, toilets or loo’s.
Nor is it used to milk goats or sheep.
It is not a ‘stock’ used to punish people or a guillotine used to more permanently punish them.
And it is in the position that it is used.
The contest will close tomorrow at noon (roughly) U.S. central time. I will fully describe it then.
The winner (should there be one… ) will get a Williams Sonoma Cookbook – Hors D’Oeuvre.
One more hint: It is more of a household, family item; not a farm implement.
Leave your guesses in the comments…..Wild is fine. More than one is fine.
Until then, let’s talk about something everyone is familiar with (although probably not the people that used the above device)…
First, let me say that I have no idea why I named this dish what I did. I fully understand that is probably incorrect in more ways than one.
That said: It’s my recipe and I’ll call it what I want!
If I could hazard a guess, I would say the original was probably more aptly named but with the tweaking over the years… Well, we all know how that works.
Caesar Pasta Salad with Flank Steak
1 flank steak, 10 – 12 oz (300gr)
1 tbs chili powder
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4os (125gr) mushrooms
2 tsp oil
1 tbs Worcestershire
1 1/4 cups of bite-size pasta – fusilli, shells, penne
1 tbs olive oil – the good stuff
1/2 cup (1.5oz, 45gr) cherry tomatoes, for garnish
Cook pasta according to package instructions. When done, drain, put into a large serving bowl and toss with 1 tbs olive oil.
Mix chili powder, Worcestershire and garlic. Slice flank steak into strips and toss with chili powder mixture. Set aside while you cook mushrooms.
Clean mushrooms and thickly slice. Heat 2 tsp oil and 1 tbs Worcestershire in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and stir to coat. Fry until soft and starting to brown, 5 – 7 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Cook steak on barbecue grill or quickly stir-fry in large nonstick skillet in 1 tbs oil over medium-high heat. Either way it will only take, 2 – 3 minutes.
To assemble: Cut and slice avocado. Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Add half the steak to the pasta. Add 2/3 dressing to pasta and toss to mix. (A tongs works great for this!) After mixing taste and add rest of dressing if you like. Put pasta in a large bowl. Spread the remaining steak in a circle on top. Add the mushrooms in the center. Arrange avocado slices around the edge. Add tomatoes and serve.
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs tarragon white wine vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 anchovy filets, mashed or 1 tsp anchovy paste (optional)
1/2 cup (4oz, 125ml) Greek or plain yogurt
2 tbs olive oil, the good stuff
1 tbs snipped fresh chives
3 tbs Parmesan
Mince garlic and put in small bowl. Add mustard, lemon, Worcestershire, vinegar and yogurt (and anchovies, if using) and mix well with wire whisk. Slowly drizzle in olive oil whisking constantly. Whisk in Parmesan and chives.
In our new location it’s only 2 kisses…. I checked. Just think of all the time we’ll save…