Monday, January 12, 2009
The End of the Holiday Season
My oldest son turned 25 Saturday. He wasn't here, having had to return to South Carolina the previous weekend. Like so many in the financial world, he was laid off, but he found an opportunity to teach some Economics courses at a community college down there. It isn't much money, but it is a foot in the door. However, since classes start next week, he had to return for "new professor orientation" last Tuesday. So, he took his birthday cake with him, and drove his birthday present (sort of), a new exhaust system for his car. Not attractive, not fun, but expensive and useful.
Three of the kids returned to college Saturday morning. They drove my 4WD Suburban, and were grateful, since the first 90 minutes of the 5 hours were snow infested. I had to put my daughter on a 7AM plane Sunday morning, so I stayed up all night, and left 30 minutes before I should have needed to, because it snowed all day Saturday. Well, I needed that extra 30 minutes (imagine the fun of following 4 snowplows side by side across the interstate at 23 miles per hour for 15 minutes, and you'll have a picture of my joyous journey. Fortunately, my winter car is a 1995 Cadillac with front wheel drive, and I never slipped even a bit. Now, I admit that there are two 90 degree turns in my driveway, within 50 feet of each other, and I drove over the lawn to make them gentler. But still, I drove through 5" of snow like it was nothing, and over 30 miles of snowy/slushy/slick roads without incident. Gotta love the "winter beater".
Of course, my daughter's plane was cancelled, as were 3 after hers, and the airline provided buses to Philly so the other 3 planes could make their connections, but not for her plane, so she sat in our local airport for 5 hours, calling me and bawling me out. Do I run this airline? Where's my big executive salary? And when is the government going to offer me a bailout? Oh, yea, I don't run any airlines, airports, or even the weather. Silly me. I sent my other son out the door for his 5 hour drive around 1PM, after the snow had been stopped for 12 hours, so the roads would be clear. Now we just have the little guys and the talented son, who, incidentally, is taking apart my breakfast room so he can begin ripping out the floor. I may be in hiding for a week or two.
The last meal I served before the kids left was beef stew with "corn bears". Think corn bread, which everyone loves, turned into little tiny bear shaped pans. Jeffrey got me those pans for Christmas, because everyone knows Moms love cute stuff, and it turns out everyone loves corn bears, too. But the star of dinner was Focaccia.
I found this recipe in the newspaper a while back, and never got to trying it. I was bored while the menfolk were watching football Saturday, having wandered through the room and voted for the cute turquoise outfits, and then the adorable bright red ones, as the teams that should win. Yes, I know we don't vote for the winners, but it's tradition around here. I also periodically gasp with horror that they aren't playing in an orderly fashion, but cheer for them "slugging" each other. My sons laugh at their normally smart mother being such a football dope. I can, however, make a pretty good bread! So, without further ado, here's a great, boredom-eliminating Focaccia.
FOCACCIA - Italian Herb Bread
1-1/2 cups warm water
3 tsp (1 envelope) yeast
3-1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan
1-2 tsp basil
1-2 tsp oregano
1-2 tsp garlic powder
Sprinkle the yeast on the water, then stir in the remaining ingredients with a wooden spoon. This dough is really soft, so it will not be kneaded, simply stirred in a bowl (or mixed in the bread machine). When the dough is smooth, scrape it into a greased 13"x9" pan, and smooth it out as best possible. Let it rise about 30 minutes, until doubled in size. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the dough. Drizzle oilve oil ove rthe top of the bread dough, then sprinkle with the parmesan and spices. Turn on the oven to preheat to 375F, and let the dough rise another 15 minutes. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until browned nicely. Remove from the oven, let the bread sit 10 to 15 minutes to cool somewhat, then cut into 2" squares.
They tasted even better than they looked. There was none left.