When I committed to writing daily and then blogging, it never occurred to me that this might entail writing in the middle of the night after hosting a dinner party and then cleaning up. Some people just go to bed and clean up in the morning. Yuck!!! Who wants to wake up to a big mess with bits of food solidified to plates and remnants of red wine looking like dried blood in the bottom of wine glasses. No me. So here I am fulfilling my commitment to write daily.
Usually, I invite a lot of people over and work like crazy or give up and do potluck. This time I decided on something simple for six friends (three couples). One friend is a vegetarian so everyone ate vegetarian. The menu included homemade refried black bean casserole–the favorite of two of these friends. The recipe for this dish is on a previous blog post. In honor of my former exchange student son, Gaston Luis Zulaica del Sueldo, I made one of my best salads ever. When he lived with me, he made salad almost every night, spectacular, colorful salads. I made a mixture of Jasmine and several other kinds of rice and the following casserole which has no name so guess I will need to invent one.
Vegetarian Casserole with Soyrizo
Pour enough olive oil into the bottom of a heavy casserole dish to cover it. Thinly slice purple potatoes (I think they are called blue, but they look purple to me), and cover the bottom with a layer of these. Cover the potatoes with a layer of chopped onions, then a layer of coarsely chopped poblano peppers–I added a few halved and seeded jalapeños. The next layer is soyrizo crumbled to completely cover the previous layers. If you are not vegetarian, use chorizo. Repeat the previous layers. Combine 3 T of flour and 1 cup milk. Pour over the top of the casserole. Bake until the potatoes are done. You can make all this several hours in advance and pour the milk mixture over it just before it goes in the oven. I actually used the grill outside on low to bake it this time–warm day and did not want to heat up the house. We finished off dinner with chocolate chip mint ice cream with Chambord poured over the top. We also enjoyed a while dessert wine called Electra.
Salad a la Gaston
This marks week one of my commitment to write for at least twenty minutes every day. A good way to “force” myself to do this is to blog daily. In this past week I have heard from new people and received more comments than usual. I had something already written out and then decided against posting it. Because I am at least one hour behind on what I planned to do when I arrived home from work, this blog may be a bunch of trivia, depending on what you consider trivia.
I had not planned on cleaning my barn in preparation for fifty 100 pound bales of hay, but when they told me they would deliver Wednesday instead of Friday, it changed this evening’s plans dramatically. I had to move the remaining hay from last November’s delivery to a different spot because I do not want “old” and “new” hay mixed. 100 pound bales do not weigh all that much less than I do so moving them is not all that easy. Once moved, I sweep the loose hay up, lay down pallets, and sweep up everything. I do not like hay to lay directly on the cement floor of the barn. All that took over an hour. Then it dawned on me that I should probably eat something. Time mandated simplicity so I made a salad. Suddenly it reminded me of salads Gaston used to make. Gaston lived with me for six months–a handsome exchange student from Argentina, who rode horses, played the piano while I cooked dinner, and then when I gave the word, made beautiful salads, kaleidoscopes of color, orange, red, green, yellow, purple. Tonight, in a rush, I finally managed to make a salad as beautiful as Gaston’s. In addition to his other assets, Gaston’s name is a song for the ears and the heart: Gaston Luis Zulaica del Sueldo. I love his name so much that it is the title of one of the poems in my new book of poetry, “On the Rim of Wonder”. His counselor at school here loved it so much that she insisted on practicing it over and over and over to get it right when she announced it at graduation.
Salad eaten, once this post is complete, I must finish the baby blanket I promised today to deliver tomorrow. More than eight years ago, I taught freshmen English. One of my students, who has since gone to college, graduated, and now works for the school district where I work will soon be a father. His wife, through her work as a neonatal ICU nurse, became a good friend of my daughter’s. Their baby is due in a week or so. I am running out of time. I MUST finish this tonight. Since I have to get up at 5:30 to get to work on time–I work 25 miles from where I live–it would seem that since it is now 7:49, I had better quit writing this and get to work. Tomorrow I promise more exciting material.