16 August, 2007

of bargain lunches and such

Avery's grandfather is napping, Avery and her grandmother are lying on the trampoline far down the lawn between the pond and the stream, John's deep in Exile, by Richard North Patterson, a good political thriller, he reports. We're all slightly comatose from a mammoth lunch that hit all the right buttons for me: it used up leftovers so my conscience is clear, it cost almost nothing, and... everything looked and tasted delicious.

Club Sandwiches
(serves four)

1 leftover barbecued Cornish Game Hen
sliced red onion
sliced avocado drizzled with lemon juice
sliced heirloom tomatoes
goat cheese
Buffalo Wing Cheddar
toasted white bread, crusts cut off

I have to tell you: my dear mother in law offered to get the meat off the hens for me, and while it was a sticky, messy job, there is a lot to get, so do go for it. And I don't know if you can get the super-spicy Cheddar where you are, but it's delicious in a slightly processed, borderline junk food way. Here's a source for super-hot, and here's a source for a milder version. I love it that there is a blog devoted entirely to hot things to eat.

Then too we had:

Instant Game Hen Salad
(serves four)

1 leftover barbecued Cornish game hen
half a red onion, sliced (the half you didn't use for your sandwiches)
half an avocado, sliced (same as the onion!)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp horseradish mustard
juice of half a lemon

Toss all together: it's light, delicious and... practically free.


Let's see, we've been finding that our vocabulary these days is greatly enhanced by... little Jane. She has a way of holding out her hand, palm up, when she talks, which lends an old-fashioned, earnest air to everything she says. "Aunt Kristen, I can't stand on one foot in my Crocs. I'm not big enough, and it makes me very wobbly." This she demonstrates by hopping wildly from one foot to the other, "Whoa!" Then a couple of days before her birthday party here, she saw a pile of present all wrapped up, on a bench. "Uncle John, are those packages for me?" "Of course, Jane, for your party on Monday, when your mommy gets back from her business trip." "Oh." Pause, then, "Uncle John, I'm thinking about opening those packages and do you know what? I can't wait." Hand outstretched in appeal. "Oh, we can't wait either, Jane!" Another pause. "No, I CAN'T WAIT." Avery observed sotto voce, "She's not saying that idiomatically. She means she literally CAN'T WAIT." And she was right. Every afternoon finds someone saying, "I can't wait," about something.

And she's obsessed with things being "automatic." Joel explained that this all began when she was exposed (quite literally, which was the scary part) to an automatic toilet at a shopping mall. Scared her to death, naturally! So now she is understandably a little skeptical of unfamiliar toilets, which do unexpected things that she hasn't asked them to do. Things she's not in control of. So over the weekend as she was seesaw-ing with Avery, the end she was on went too high, and she said suddenly, "Aunt Kristen, is this seesaw automatic?" We had to reassure her that no, Uncle John was in complete control (ish) of every movement it made. The dear girl.

And she pronounces "banana" "bahnahnah" after her favorite Kipper video! And according to her (and Kipper, apparently), people mow the "grahss." And eat "tomahtoes." Too funny to hear Avery switch to her full-on Queen's English at that point!

Then we're all finding ways to deal with the inexplicable influx of flying insects on our terrace. Whether it's the watermelon rind we're leaving for Gary the Groundhog, or the out-of-date pickles we threw behind the fence for the skunk, I don't know. Oh, side story: I came home from the grocery with, among other things, a jar of pickles. "But Kristen," my long-suffering husband objected, "we already have SO MANY pickles." "No," I said, "Avery says we're out." Silently he went into the kitchen and brought out... THIS MANY jars of pickles. How did that happen? I guess every time I shop I think we're out. Eeek! But I digress. My point was, there are a lot of perhaps bees, in particular, flying around and neither Jane nor Avery likes them one bit. Why did it so crack Jill and me up to hear Jane say, "It's too buggy; it's not a good idea to eat outside." She sounded so adult! I tried, "Don't worry, Jane, the bugs say. We won't hurt you." But she wasn't buying. "Bugs do not talk, Aunt Kristen." "But if they did, they might say that, Jane." "But they don't."

Now I see Avery and her Nonna have moved on to catching minnows in the pond, so I shall go join them before tennis lessons. Is there anything sweeter than a child and her grandmother playing together? It warmed my heart so to see Avery with my mom, discussing the infinitesimally tiny paper doll clothes Avery was designing and cutting out at the birthday party on Sunday. There seems to be a special brand of patience that comes with the generation gap. Or more likely, Avery's two grandmothers are unusually nice people. Or maybe it's grandparents in general: my sweet dad thinking of teaching her to play cribbage so he can send her a set for her birthday, John's dad specially packing a bag of Butterfingers to give her for her treat drawer. I feel incredibly lucky to have had all four of them with us this summer.

Enough sappiness: minnows beckon. Really, Jane, they DO.

1 comment:

Shelley said...

Oh Kristen...you are having a wonderful summer...how delightful!!

When are you heading home?? I'd love to pop over to say hello before you do.

...and that salad from 15 August looks mouth-watering!!