So . . . the fruit of all that Animal, Vegetable, Miracle reading. Our book club decided to do a practical application of the book. Saturday morning, Graceful met me at my place and we drove up to the Redwood City Farmer's market. We bought 10 pounds of tomatoes (recipe called for 30!), 5 bunches of basil and sundry other items.
Animator and Big Smile met us at the apartment when we returned. A vat of pasta sauce, tomatillo salsa and 3 ice cube trays of pesto later, we were ready to make cheese. Yup. We made our own mozzarella. 30 minutes start to finish. (You can find kits/directions at cheesemaking.com) While doing all that fun and games, we roasted a chicken that Big Smile had pre-assembled. Graceful assembled a mozzarella and tomato salad with fresh basil and balsamic vinaigrette.
As the chicken finished, while we were debating whether to make an apple cobbler, Quirky Asian Woman showed up with a lemon tart. Dinner turned into a progressive affair. The chicken and salad were done at 5:30 and the five of us were starving. We started eating. Jrex came home at 6 and we grabbed him a plate. At 7 pm, Hamilton showed up with marinated steak which Jrex cooked (slow oven roast on low heat for 15 minutes then seared on high in an iron skillet). When we finally got up from the table it was 9 pm. We don't have enough chairs for that many people, so two of us were perched on one chair together. It felt really cozy and familial. Old fashioned in all the right senses of the word.
The foods were all locally grown (except the steak. Yes, it was grass raised and free range, but from Uruguay). Jrex bought us wine, but failed the mission. With all the local wine sources, he bought a box wine from Italy. Hey, it's 3 liters of wine that stay good for up to 3 weeks, and its a great drinking wine.
At the end of the night, every one left with pesto, a Ziploc bag of pasta sauce, salsa and cheese.
One funny realization for me was how weird it felt that Animator, a white guy, was helping in the kitchen. I'm used to Jrex helping out, but Graceful and Big Smile are both Asian women and somehow, in a kitchen of Asian women, it felt 'wrong' to have a guy in there. When Mom K is here, Jrex hangs out with his Dad and it's a women-only kitchen. I adjusted quickly, but was surprised to have even had that moment.