Top 5 Fabulous Things of the Month

Time for a fabulosity update!

1. I got to see my grandmother at a family wedding in Temple. I’ve really missed her, and it was so nice to be with her for a few hours.

2. My family and I went to Galveston for our family vacation. It was a lovely part of the shoreline, and the condo was lovely. My favorite part, though, was the pool. You can SEE the beautiful beach but not be bothered with the sand and salt water. Win-win.

3. I grew potatoes! I gave up on my backyard garden for the most part because when it got over 100 degrees every day, nothing would grow. I’m watering enough to keep the plants alive so that they may start producing in the Fall, but I’m not out there much these days. I did go out long enough to tear down the chicken-wire barrel around the dead potato plants, though, and I dug around to see if I had anything. And voila, tiny little potatoes! I don’t think they were really worth the water and effort, but at least I know I did it right this year, for the most part. I’m going to fry them up in some real butter and some salt and pepper, and enjoy the only fruits of my Summer labor. I’ve still got some carrots growing, but my six workhorse Swiss chard plants are pretty much done – although goodNESS they were prolific. The jalapenos never fruited, nor did the TEN zucchini plants. Annoying. But I will enjoy my potatoes and wait for Fall.

4. I threw an awesome party for Beth and Deanna! It was a combination of engagement/Deanna’s birthday/wedding shower/bachelorette. My brother offered me his extra grill, and although it was nice of him, it was totally rusted out inside, and it fell apart trying to get it out of my car. The old propane grill wouldn’t come off of the hose, and my dad diagnosed it as unusable. He cut the hose, took the tank to dispose of it, and it will be my offering to the landfill on bulk trash day. So without a grill, I had to make due with my two George Foremans and my two grill pans. One is fancy and non-stick with a handle, and it worked really well, but I also got to take my estate-sale find for a spin! A while back, I got a cast-iron grill pan that fits over two burners, and this was the perfect time to give it a try. My mother came to the rescue and helped me grill enough chicken, hamburgers, and veggies to feed 20 people in my kitchen – she was such a party-saver! I got to meet some women who knew Beth’s mom, a bunch of Irving teachers, which was neat. And there was even a former student of my mother’s, who is married to a GP teacher who taught my sister. I also got to know Deanna’s attendants, Stacy and Susan better, which was nice – they’re so sweet!

5. Restaurant Week! I’ve wanted to participate many time but just never did, as it’s $35/person anywhere you go. I won the food lottery this year – I got to go twice for free! Mom and I went to Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen, which specializes in local, seasonal, and organic food. I had a wedge salad with a very powerful green goddess dressing, Paula Lambert cottage cheese, and bacon, which I picked off. This dressing made my breath bad for two full days, but man, was it good! I had the Dr. Pepper BBQ chicken – it didn’t taste like BBQ, but it was yummy. I’ve never liked cottage cheese, but this stuff was so fresh and awesome – it made a fan out of me. I also tried the fried oyster that came with my mom’s salad – oh my goodness, it was good. I’ve never tried any kind of oyster – I’m kind of theoretically opposed to them. But I went to try one tiny bite just to get the idea, and I ate the whole thing. Just more proof that if you think you don’t like something, you probably would were it made correctly and with fresh, wholesome ingredients.

My second Restaurant Week outing was to Central 214, culinary home of Chef Blythe Beck. I’ve been wanting to eat here since seeing her reality show The Naughty Kitchen (so named because she uses cheese, butter, and big hunks of meat with abandon) on Oxygen. Barry and I went with his mother and brother. The starter was a mushroom and spinach empanada with a chimichurri sauce and pico – excellent! The brisket was really fatty, but the meat I got off of it was really nice. It was served with what looked like gravy in a small bowl but turned out to be a sweet dipping sauce. Strange, but it worked. Desert was banana bread pudding, which was awesome, but far too large of a portion to eat all of, even for a big eater like me. The cake pictured below was Barry’s – chocolate peanut butter – he won the dessert course for sure. The best part of the whole meal for me, though, was the bread that came before the food. It was served with English butter, which was really, really good, and cayenne pimiento cheese!! I ate all of the cheese and far too much of the butter. But, you know, most of my meat was left on my plate encased in fat, so it all worked out. We got RW gifts of naughty cookies to take home, and they were yummy. I can’t wait to go back and try the chicken fried kobe!

I hope you’re having a fabulous month of your own!