Sunday, as holidays go, sucked. But, Easter of all holidays is most certainly not meant to be all about Susie. First, I filled my watering pot to douse my plants since we’ve been away. The cat, ecstatic to have company wound around my legs and put me off balance. As dominoes will fall when in line, I then knocked over the water dousing my other half’s cell phone which was plugged in and charging. Water poured over the counter on the cat, who freaked out knocking my Easter lily over depositing dirt all over my floor. Oh-oh. As my mind was exploring the prospect of booking a flight to Bermuda before my other half discovered his cell phone possibly totaled, he walked in find me trying to dry it with a blow dryer. This was not going to go well I felt. Needless to say, as happy campers go, he was falling considerably shy of goal on winning his Mr. Sunny Personality Badge. Sigh. Is there a place I can go to trade myself in for a new model? This one just is not serving me well anymore. It appears following the soaking, the phone has developed a shadow beneath the lens which I’m told is water. Not bad enough, when you dial a number it screams like a cat with its tail stuck in the door and will not stop. I’m no phone tech, but my guess is this significantly diminishes its value to the owner, and mine to my other half. We have removed the battery and put both the phone and the battery in rice. If this doesn’t work Bermuda is just a phone call away.
After the cell phone debacle, family issues began to pop up early afternoon like bubbles on a griddle cake. One after the other to the point that I seriously considered dousing the house phone as well in the hopes it too would become dysfunctional.
To add to my other half’s rapidly diminishing good humor, I’d left the refrigerators virtually bare before we left as there was no point in shopping for an empty house. So, beyond what I’d bought in the Bay Area for Easter dinner, the only option for a snack was a catsup and Dijon sandwich between a couple of pieces of stale Swiss cheese. Also, we had no veggies in the bin so I had to ask my grumpy honey if he’d mind trekking to the store for some asparagus spears or perhaps a zucchini or two. In the event of a mood flare I took the cattle prod out of the junk drawer before I asked him and kept a small baby and a kitten between us for protection. This wouldn’t have been such a big deal except that I’d forgotten that most of the stores nearby were closed for Easter so he had to schlep down the hill to find one open. Finally locating one, he bought a lovely bunch of asparagus, yes it was, Sweetie, almost exceptional, and at $4.20/gallon for gas I was reminded it brought the total cost for the vegetables to nearly a ten spot. In the end the asparagus was delicious and the prime rib out of this world, so his happy face returned and all was once again good with the world.
While at my Mother’s house I needed to do some quick shopping as it was my granddaughter’s birthday and I hadn’t gotten her present yet. After some browsing in one of the large discount stores, I took my purchases to be paid for. The cashier rang them up and asked if I wanted a bag for them. There were about fifteen items so somehow I felt I’d look pretty ridiculous trying to juggle them in the air until I got them to the car, so confused I nodded my head yes. Once bagged and back in the cart my mother informed me that I had paid for the bags. Really? It seems in their area you either take your own or cough up a nickel or a dime per bag. Undoubtedly this will be happening here down the line as well. As often as I go to the store after a month or two I could amass enough bag charges to put a down payment on a new car. For the price of groceries these days, I feel they should be throwing in a latte, a bagel and cream cheese, and a puppy rather than charging me for the bag. One market I shop at I pay less for the privilege of bagging the groceries myself.
My mother was on a roll about pink slime. Last month it was salmon. All her life she’s eaten that fish and preferred it above others, but last month she purchased a salmon steak that had a worm in it. Salmon has been crossed off her list, perhaps I’d think twice myself, and now with pink slime oozing all over the news hamburger (unless not processed with the stuff) has been added below the fish. In my mind if I took to heart everything they say about the food we eat, I’d be whittled down to home-grown vegetables (which I prefer anyhow) and water (although from what I’ve read that might not be a healthy choice either). The reality is there are hidden things in what we put in our mouths. Sometimes I think ignorance is bliss because unless we all stand up in unison and shout “NO MORE”, there will continue to be hidden things and I like to eat way to much to stop doing so any time in the near future.
So tonight I am going to have my tilapia with its probiotic additives, my creamy and delicious scalloped potatoes laced with lingering pesticides, and enjoy a nice spinach salad which hopefully is not loaded with salmonella. On the side I think I’ll have some fat laden tartar sauce.
Truthfully I cannot dwell on these thoughts as life is too short. It does not mean I bury my head in the sand, but that I chose to be as selective as is reasonable without going completely off the turnip truck, so to speak.
Warning: These potatoes are just plain delicious, loosening of belts may occur.
Creamy Au gratin Potatoes
6 russet potatoes, peeled and thinly slices (a mandolin is great for this)
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup water
Bechamel sauce (recipe follows)
Bechamel (White Sauce)
4 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3/4 cup hot milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
Heat butter and onion in med. saucepan. Do not allow onion to brown. Whisk in flour to make roux over low heat. DO NOT BROWN FLOUR. Gradually whisk in hot milk stirring constantly and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue cooking on med. heat until mixture is smooth and thickened. Whisk in heavy cream and cooking 2 more mins. Remove from heat. Yield 1 1/2 cups sauce.
Mix cheddar and Gruyere cheeses together in mixing bowl.
Place single layer of potato slices on bottom of prepared pan. Sprinkle with part of the cheese, onion slices and salt and pepper. Continue layering in the above order ending with a layer of cheese. Mix the sauce with 1/2 cup of water and pour over casserole. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Top with a dusting of paprika if desired.
Bake uncovered for 2 hrs. or until potatoes are tender and cheese is bubbly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray deep dish 9″ square glass pan with cooking spray. Peel potatoes and place in cold water for 10 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and pat dry with paper towels. Slice very thin.