Sunday, June 29, 2008

Miscellany: Le Petit Prince Edition

B&c is back from Jordan, where he took the opportunity to hook up every night, and on some nights twice. But he hooked up with some of the guys more than once, so it probably averages out to only one new guy per night. I haven't seen the official statistics yet, so it's hard to be more precise. I was thinking of giving him a HazMat suit for his birthday, but then I realized that doing so would be tacky because it would be more a gift for me than for him. Maybe I'll just give him socks.

When he set this trip up, he arranged the dates specifically so that he could be home for the last series of concerts that Leonard Slatkin is conducting as principal conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra. We drove down last night for the concert. The drive was uneventful until a friend called him on his cell phone, and b&c took the call. B&c is not the world's most gifted driver (go ahead and make the obvious joke: I would if I were you) and the thought of him driving and talking on the cell at the same time terrifies me. I was very agitated until he got off the phone. He thought I was overreacting, but I said what I always say when he thinks I'm overreacting: "Cornwall." A few years ago, we went to England, and he insisted on renting a car and driving from London to Cornwall. I thought I would die. Several times. He just harrumphed, and then two minutes later he slammed on the brakes when a light turned yellow as he was about to enter an intersection. When he said, "I guess I could have made that, after all," I was too busy trying to reattach my head to my neck to comment. People often fail to realize how much easier it is not to be injured by a sharp stop when you know that it's coming because you're the one stamping on the brake petal.

The concert was good. The NSO played Beethoven's Leonore Overture, Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 2, and Copland's Symphony No. 3. It was mostly a very pleasant concert, but b&c found the Shostakovich boring. I was intrigued by the percussion, but I will allow that it was long. The Copland was really very nice, and it was a good way to end the evening. To be honest, it is not a big deal to me that Slatkin is leaving. I rarely pay much attention to the conductors because their backs are to me, and their tails make it so I can't really tell whether they have nice asses. Besides, there's always the bass section to stare at. By the way, in case anyone ever asks you, Sol Gabetta is a woman.

This morning we had a brunch in honor of the birthday of Antoine de Saint Exupery, the noted French author. For reasons that I cannot quite understand, Saint Exupery's birthday has not caught on as a major holiday in the United States. Americans are historically and recently annoyed at the French, so if your friends blanch at attending your Saint Exupery brunch next year, you might try telling them that it is also in honor of Fred Grandy, the former Republican Congressman from Iowa, who was, earlier still, Gopher on the long-running television series The Love Boat.

I very much wanted to make a variant of eggs Benedict, but with the Canadian bacon swapped out in favor of a faux crabcake made from canned tuna. (I would generally prefer not to make a faux anything, but I cannot easily get good crabmeat these days. The recipe I used is one from Paula Deen, but I made some adjustments because I am nearly incapable of making a recipe without fucking around with it. In any case, the tuna cakes were very good.) But, despite the fact that I can make puff pastry with ease, I have never learned to poach an egg. So earlier in the week, I got in front of a pot of simmering water with several eggs, and it was a total disaster. I regard this as a personal failure of Biblical proportions, but even Noah had to move on, so I came up with an alternative method that involved the use of heavily buttered nonstick muffin tins. I started with a toasted whole wheat English muffin half, added a dab of cilantro-lime Hollandaise, topped that with a tuna cake, then a shirred egg, and I finished up with more Hollandaise. The eggs were a little overcooked, but it was a hit all the same.

I also made some cold minted pea soup with fennel, some blueberry muffins, a cucumber and tomato salad, and a large batch of Bloody Marys. I had some very nice strawberries around, so for dessert, I quartered enough berries to make two cups, then I macerated them for an hour or so with two teaspoons of granulated sugar. I took clear plastic cups, put a scoop of lemon sorbet in the bottom of each, followed up with some strawberries, and then poured Prosecco over the sorbet and fruit. One bottle was just enough for eight servings. It was delicious, and if you serve it in something other than a plastic cup, it's very elegant, too.

B&c and I were trying to figure out when we could squeeze in a vacation this year. He had just told me that he'd accepted another job, this time in Algeria. I have so much trouble keeping track of his comings and goings that I finally went and grabbed the wall calendar and asked him to write down when he was going where. He's going to be in Colombia, Nicaragua, Haiti, Algeria, and Jordan in the upcoming months, and the times when he's going to be home for more than a week are times when my work schedule is very busy. It looks like we might be able to find ten days in early January, but I'm not sure. Now that I've been successful in my push to get four weeks of vacation, I might have to take some of it alone.


Lewis said...

But I want to go to the National Symphony. Boo hoo.

franck said...

Phew, I was worried you had forgotten about the one item that defines brunch, but then you listed the Bloody Marys.

Jack in Sydney said...

I'm with Franck... I nearly got upset at the lack of proper form here, but you did finally mention the arses of the conductors and then said "Bloody Mary." All was then right with the world...