My family is all trickling away from me.
First, today: we met my in-laws for Father's Day brunch, and according to plan, the Jellybean went with them for a two-night visit. By the way, I'm considering revising my theory about the supplemental dining-out tongues that I suspected the in-laws to possess, because the excruciatingly mediocre restaurant where we ate met with their vocal and enthusiastic approval. I'll just disclose now that I have decided on a matter of policy: not only do I hate every food containing portabella mushrooms, but on principle I hate every restaurant that has anything with portabella mushrooms on the menu. And I double-hate (doubleplusungood! bad restaurant!) a restaurant that advertises a food as containing 'wild mushrooms', and said food instead contains that insipid* cultivar, the egregious portabella. You know, not only are they not wild--they're not even a distinct variety. Portabellas are just big crimini mushrooms--and criminis are just darker and slightly denser than white mushrooms, and more or less identical in flavor. The Wonder® Wheat Bread of the mycological world. I know I increasingly sound like a food snob--but really, I'll bet you a Chick-Fil-A® sandwich I'm not.
That was a digression.
So, Howie and I left the Jellybean with her grandparents and waved as they drove off, with my daughter urgently and repeatedly reminding me that I should call her 'at 7:55.' Which was rib-tickling to me, and also was making me cry. It may sound like a good thing for me to have time away from my girl (or, more to the point, for her to have time away from me), but candidly I like having her around. For instance, I like doing stuff like this with her: After the goodbyes were said, Howie and I took an hour or so for a walk in the cutesie open-air-mall town and then drove back home so that he could start preparing for his trip tomorrow morning.
Yeah--he's leaving me for the whole week. Coming back in the wee hours of Saturday morning, so that he can party up with a bunch of his ultra-specialized colleagues (Homo technocranius) at their Special Conference in northern California, and so he can make me pant jealousy over the endless supply of cheap, delicious Mexican food that he will no doubt be eating whenever he can duck out of the conference long enough.
The Jellybean will be back home with me for two nights before making another trip to visit her other 'Grammy,' so I'll be on my own for a total of three nights over the next five.
So that will unofficially make me a Single Girl, just briefly, won't it? Somehow it doesn't feel the same (at least in anticipation) as it did in my twenties. I don't know if it's the house in the suburbs, or ... or what! But I suspect that 'being single' is not going to have any other effect than not having a regular dinner, or going out for an hour or two without having to account for my whereabouts. Pretty dull stuff.
In other news: I am now baaa-ing politely in the wake of the Netflix bellwethers. Ohhhh sweeeeeet Netflix. My queue beckons with its DVD releases that were never, ever available in the local Blockbusters. I contemplate my future leisure opportunities, my ass growing ever-larger and lumpier now that I have the incentive to spend an increasing number of hours gaping at the television, watching The Triplets of Belleville or Standing in the Shadows of Motown or, heck, Guys and Dolls. Something sedentary to do on days the Yankees aren't playing, or when they are indulging in the occasional (accursed) day game!
I will leave you with the recipe of the cake I made for breakfast in honor of Howie's paternity. It's an adaptation of an almond cake in Deborah Madison's The Savory Way.
Blueberry Peach Almond Coffeecake
3 oz. almond paste
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 c. sour cream
1.5 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
yet more almond paste [optional]
1/2 c. blueberries
1 small peach: peeled, quartered, and sliced crosswise
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
1 oz. almond paste
2 Tbl. unsalted butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 325°F ; grease and flour an 8" square pan.
First make crumb topping by combining ingredients in a small bowl and blending with fingertips until it forms large, cohesive crumbles.
For cake: In food processor, combine 3 oz. almond paste with the sugar and process until thoroughly combined. Add eggs, one at a time; then sour cream; then flavorings, processing after each addition. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the moist in three batches, stirring gently with each addition. If desired, break up some additional almond paste into little pieces and fold it into the batter.
Put about 2/3 of the batter in the prepared pan. Distribute the peaches and blueberries over the batter. Drop remaining batter on top, trying to cover all; use a spatula to increase the coverage, but don't get obsessive about it. Sprinkle the topping over that, and bake in center of oven about 55-60 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean near the center of the cake.
*two posts in a row with the word 'insipid.' Let's see if I'm on a tear! In fact I wish I could find a way to include the word 'vapid' in this one, too. And now that we're on the subject, Howie might object since he's the gardener in the family, but 'aphid' would look very nice somewhere around here ... if you can think of any other '-id' words, kindly leave them in comments because this is quite suddenly an intense interest of mine.