Sunday, January 22

Dinner Party

Things have been quiet around here, but we have been busy. We had a dinner party this weekend. I never seem to get pictures of the food because when dinner is ready, JJ and I are like traffic cops telling people to get in line--no one wants to go first--and where we want them to sit. 

I did get a picture of the main dish (beef short ribs) mid-cooking.

They were absolutely delicious! Tender and moist. The secret is low and slow cooking. I have been making short ribs for dinner guests for at least a decade, because all the work is done the day before--there's no last-minute fuss, and because who doesn't like tender, fall-off-the bone meat? Save for the vegetarians, that is. 

In the above photo, I have browned them (I used the oven broiler because there are 7 or 8 pounds of ribs) and put the mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery) on top. I only season them with salt and pepper. I pour beef broth and red wine (white wine is okay too) over top, cover them and put them in a slow oven, about 300° for 3 hours.

After they cool enough to handle, I remove the meat to a smaller baking dish (this is a turkey-sized roasting pan and they will shrink) and drain off the liquid and solids into a bowl, discarding the carrots and stuff. You could eat them, but in this case I was done with 'em. Then I pour the strained liquid back on the meat, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Something about them sitting in their juices overnight makes them even better the next day.

The next day I can skim off all the fat because it's solidified on the surface. I put them back in the oven for an additional hour or two at 300°...they will wait for you. I remove the ribs to a serving platter, thicken the broth, and that's it.

Here are some of the guests. 

This is JJ and Steve. Looks like I caught JJ mid-sentence. 

Cliff and Marilyn.

Barbara, Cliff's wife--our next door neighbors. We love 'em. 

Bud, Marilyn's husband and a real cut-up. His personality shows in the photo.

The fun thing is that Barbara and Bud have friendships in common from their school days, and we discovered that Marilyn and JJ have friendships in common from their school days! 

It's so much fun. We love throwing parties! 

Thursday, January 12

Frankly, Not a Lot

Well, the 2016 holiday season is finally behind us--the decorations are all put away, the parties in the history books. It seemed like a long season. But our festivities started in late October when we went on that transatlantic cruise.

I haven't posted in a while because honestly there isn't much going on. We have gotten down to the serious business of being retired homebodies.

You know that AT&T commercial where the guy walks away with his new iPhone 7 and crashes into the door? "Hey! I want that phone!" To qualify, you must be a DIRECTV customer, which we are.

So we went to the AT&T store and I walked out with this. Totally free. And we save $80/month over the next two years because we bundled everything with them. Man, I love this thing. I don't want to go anywhere, because the whole world is right here in this powerful little device. My old android phone was a real dinosaur.

The slick and clever salesmen (plural) managed to talk us into sell us a security system for our home, and we will save an additional $10/month because we got it. So the security system was also free, as was the installation. Not that we'll use it much, but we are dedicated skinflints.

We also scored a new wifi modem in the deal, and it is much stronger than the old one, so I no longer need an enhancer to get a decent signal to the front of the house where my studio is.

We were in the middle of booking a trip when the internet went down, so we had to cross our fingers and hope the last hotel room wouldn't get booked. I was worried. Why?

Did you know there will be a solar eclipse in the US in August? I did, I have been waiting for this. For my whole life, actually. It's a really big deal to me. It's on my bucket list.

This thing will traverse the entire country on August 21.

We studied the map and decided on Oregon, because we could drive there, and see friends along the way. But it turned out to be less expensive to fly. Skinflints, remember?

I chose Albany, which is just below the red central line and in the path of totality.

I am geeked! I just hope the weather is clear.

Around here, it has been raining. A lot, and often. Big squalls. It's hard to take a picture of rain, but this is our street today. I sure hope that hillside holds.

It's really cool to see the hills turn green. It's so rare, we're all buzzing about it.

The only problem (well, aside from potential floods and mudslides) is that all that fresh grass portends increased brush fires in the fall.

All is well! We're both feeling fine!