Happy Friday! Full disclosure, this is the second time I’ve used this title. I was pretty sure I had used it before, so I Googled it, and sure enough: Vol. 183, and it was August 30. So that makes me feel a little better about having served sandwiches all week long this week. This is clearly the time of year when that’s just the thing to do.
The funny thing is, I didn’t even notice that’s what I was doing until about Thursday. This is partially because my beloved menu blackboard kicked the bucket
I knew it was useful, but I didn’t realize until it was gone that I consult that thing about forty times a day, because if you know what’s for supper, at least you know one damn thing.
Anyway, I finally got around to making a replacement. I bought some finished wooden planks already stuck together and mounted with a little hook in back at Walmart for like $4, and then I added a line and the names of the week with hot glue.
Here I would like to point out that I could find two hot glue guns. One was full sized, and the part where the glue goes in was misaligned so it doesn’t actually heat up; and one was mini and low temp, and the trigger was broken, so you have to continually push on the end of the glue stick to feed it into the gun. Also I have a chronic hand tremor that gets worse when I try to concentrate. I was aiming for “basically legible,” and I think I nailed it.
So I went outside with this marvelous piece and a can of chalkboard spray paint, and when I started spraying, the ducks all came over to see what I was doing. I can tell who is EJ and who is Coin, but Fay and Ray are indistinguishable to me, and there I was with a full can of spray paint. I was tempted for a minute, but I pulled myself together, because sometimes you have to remind yourself that you’re at least theoretically smarter than a duck and you should act accordingly.
I let the thing dry in the sun for a while, peeled the hot glue off, and here it is:
Perfectly fine. I touched up the thready parts with chalk, and it seems to work just as I hoped. The chalk does not wipe away easily with a fingertip, like it would with a slate blackboard, but you can wipe it away with a damp cloth.
Oh, the “+cheese” is not a blessing from His Eminence, Bishop Cheese. It’s a nod to the time I got to the supermarket and discovered that Damien had added “and cheese” to every single item on my list. Makes me laugh every time I think of it. Marriage is about communication! And cheese!
Okay, so here’s the sandwiches we ate this week:
Buffalo chicken wraps
Damien and I did a quick getaway on Friday night, and got home Saturday pretty zonked, so I just did a quick shopping for just one meal. Flour tortillas, buffalo chicken (from frozen), spinach or maybe lettuce, shredded pepper jack cheese, and I think ranch dressing.
Frozen buffalo chicken is always about 40% more expensive than it should be (it’s just chicken tenders sloshed around in hot sauce), but I bit the bullet and got three bags, and it was a nice easy meal.
The little trip we went on was so nice! We rented a spot through HipCamp, which is like AirBnB just for camping, but by “camping” they mean everything from a spot to pitch your tent, to an RV, to a cabin, to a yurt, to what we got, which was a tent with beds in it on a platform, with a kitchenette, camp toilet and camp shower, and a little yard with a hammock and outdoor couch under a tarp with string lights, etc.
Here is my view from the hammock on Friday evening, where I lounged under mosquito netting while Damien prepared dinner:
And here is the dinner he made:
Baguettes and garlic butter, strawberries and cheeses, and some truly excellent grilled steaks. He also got gelato, but we were too full to eat it.
And here I am lounging some more the next day:
trying to figure out what bird it was that I heard at 5 a.m. in the yard. Pretty sure it was some kind of owl. (If it had been saying “who cooks for you?” I would have known it was an owl, and I would have said “my husband!” but it was just going “Ohhhhhhhhh!” in a tragic way; but I think it was still an owl.)
Anyway, this stay was cheaper than a cheap hotel and I loved it. Gonna be obnoxious and mention that you can get $10 off your next HipCamp stay, and I will also earn a $10 credit, if you use this code:
OR, if you want to become a host on your own land through HipCamp, use that same code and we both get $100 cash after you host your first guests.
We (okay I) briefly considered the fact that we Fisher own land, a full 1.25 acres of really quite beautiful property and could probably . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . mmmm, nah.
Anyway, we packed up our stuff (and checkout was at NOON, which felt quite luxurious) and drove to Spofford Lake, which has a tiny little island in it, which is NH’s smallest state park.
We paddled over in our kayaks and landed, walked all the way around the island and checked out its mushrooms and such, and then paddled back under a blue, blue, blue sky, and then drove to a place we’ve been driving past for decades, but never stopped into: Stuart and John’s Sugar House in Westmoreland. Damien and I are not big breakfast people these days, but we decided to go ahead and carb it up, so he had pancakes and I had waffles, and they were great. This place also has a dairy farm and a sunflower farm. We’re gonna go back on Labor Day weekend with the kids (the island and the farm). Just overall a lovely little time away. (More pictures here if you want to take a look.)
Oh, this is my pitch for you to look on Craigslist or FB marketplace for a kayak or two! If you live anywhere near a body of water, a kayak is a wonderful thing to have. You can definitely get better at using a kayak, but you can be competent at kayaking in about three minutes. It’s much easier than canoeing, and people are selling kayaks for about $100 all the time, at least around here. You don’t have to do anything in a kayak. Just get out on the water and bob around for a while, and then go home again. I got the book Quiet Water for NH and VT, but there are several editions for different regions, and will tell you where to go for easy kayak and canoe trips. Good stuff.
Saturday I also started this stupid pie that I saw a recipe for and decided I needed to make, for some reason. More about that in a bit.
Sandwiches and strawberry pretzel icebox pie
Sunday was the last day when everyone was on vacation. Some kids started school on Monday, some started Tuesday, and some started Wednesday, and I had been promising Benny we would do the “stay at the beach as long as you want and eat a meal and a lot of candy there” thing, so Sunday was our last possible day. And we did it!
First of course we went to Mass, and I had to go do the rest of the shopping, and it rained the first part of the day, but then the sun came out and we got there.
“As long as they wanted” turned out to be about three hours. We had chips and sandwiches, soda and of course candy.
And that was summer vacation. Fastest one ever, oh me oh my.
Oh, so when we got home we had this strawberry pretzel icebox pie. I’m only linking to it so you can know what recipe not to make. It was fine, and everybody liked it, it turns out I, a New England innocent, got suckered into making some insanely fancy-pants, labor intensive version of what is supposed to be a simple, quick, Midwestern potluck recipe you can throw together in a few minutes.
Here I am, ladling unflavored gelatin mixed with fresh strawberry puree over strawberry slices arranged on a layer of cream cheese and whipped heavy cream, which rests on a crust made of pretzels, butter, malted milk powder, and brown sugar.
It has you putting things in and out of the oven and in and out of the freezer more than once. Like I said, it was good, but in retrospect, you can get nearly the same effect with Kool Whip, strawberry Jello, and pretzels.
Also, I effed up the crust, because I was low on a few ingredients and had to make a 1.5X recipe, rather than a double recipe, and guess what happens when I try to do that in my head when I’m still exhausted from camping and kayaking and going to the beach! You are correct, I eff up the crust. Oh well! Everyone liked it.
Chicken caprese burgers and corn on the cob
Nothing to report.
I knew people were going to be a little down about school starting, so my goal was to make popular meals all week.
Monday was just the first day for the two Catholic high school kids, and Benny and Corrie were still off; so we fulfilled another summer promise: BARBIE MOVIE. It was pretty good. I felt they could have easily cut 25 minutes out and ditched the narrator and it would have been stronger, but I liked it fine. The kids liked it. That’s my entire review.
Steak and cheese subs, store brand Funyuns
Tuesday was the first day for the public school high schooler, and for the college guy (he is commuting, and living at home this year to save money). I also had my echocardiogram, finally, basically just to check all the boxes, even though most of my symptoms have passed by now. I think I had . . . secret Covid + unmanaged high blood pressure + anxiety + ???. But my heart looks fine! And it was super fun to watch it popping away like a little teapot for half an hour on the screen while the tech checked everything out. I guess your heart actually has its own internal pacemaker, and actually makes itself beat, which is exactly what it looks like it’s doing. It was lovely to see. Good old heart. You love to see something just . . . doing what it’s made to do.
Anyway, I celebrated with steak and cheese.
I had an big old eye round roast, which I sliced thinly and pan fried in oil with salt and pepper, along with sliced bell peppers and onions.
I toasted the roll lightly, then spread it with mayo, then piled on the meat and veggies, and then put some American cheese on top and toasted it again. Freaking delicious.
Vermonter sandwiches, watermelon
Wednesday the final two kids started school, and we had yet another sandwich: The much-appreciated Vermonter, which is roast chicken (or turkey), bacon, green apple slices, sharp cheddar, and honey mustard on sourdough (or ciabatta).
I have tried various methods for cutting up a large number of apples for this ssandwich, and there’s no good way of doing it quickly. I have one of those hand-cranked apple peeler-cutter-corer things,
which definitely makes it go fast, and it’s great for pies or cobbler, but it cuts the apples thinner than I want for this sandwich, and it peels them, and for this I prefer the peels on. I have used a pineapple cutting device, but apples are so small that by the time you get it situated and turn the crank, you’re through and need to set up the next one, so it doesn’t save you much work. So I just sliced the apples up and then cut the core bits out with a sharp knife, feeling very put-upon the whole time, even though, like most things in my life, it was my idea.
(I kept them from getting brown before dinner time by putting them in water with a little lime juice sloshed in.)
We were supposed to have broccoli on the side, but it had gone bad, so I cut up a watermelon.
Just an excellent sandwich.
Chicken, spinach, jalapeño quesadillas, chips and salsa
On Thursday, the novelty of school had worn off and certain people decided that getting up in the morning two days in a row was absolute bullshit and they just didn’t want to do it. (I am not talking about myself here. I knew it was bullshit from day one.) Nevertheless, we got there on time (we make five stops in the morning this year! Five!!!!) and nobody died.
I had a little extra time (by which I mean I was avoiding writing), so I pan-fried the chicken thighs in oil with lots of Tajin seasoning
and then shredded them.
I asked Corrie to be the waitress and take orders for dinner,
and this was when the penny dropped that the German word for cheese (Käse) is basically the same as the Spanish word (queso). I don’t know why I found that so amazing, but I guess I just never thought about it before.
(“Kasadea” is presumably Esperanto, but it gets the job done.)
Oh, here is my quesadilla:
Not strictly a sandwich, but not entirely not, either.
Bagel, egg, and cheese sandwiches
This was the plan, but one of my kids now works at the co-op, and she tipped me off that oysters are going to be 99 cents today, AND I happened to spill a can of seltzer directly into my purse (uhhhh some time ago, which is why the check I paid for lunch pizza with smelled kinda funky, sorry Nicole) and finally got around to cleaning it out last night, and I found a gift card to the co-op! So I think we are having bagel sandwiches for those who don’t like oysters, and then oysters and whatever else is on sale at the co-op for those who do.
In other news, ladies, if you have been taking 200 mg of progesterone two weeks out of the month to help even out your mood swings with PMS, and you feel like it’s probably not doing that much, and you forget to take them, and then you suddenly decide that you built this patio with your own two hands so you could sit in the SUN and whose idea was it to have this FREAKNG AWNING UP ALL SUMMER, and you do this?
Maybe take your progesterone. It may be helping more than you realize.
P.S. Having an awning up was my idea.
P.P.S. I also take Prozac, but it turns out Prozac + progesterone is the magic combination. Just telling you in case you, too, have been a little rampagy. I also decided Old Crow Medicine Show should be deported, and absolutely refused to compost anything this week. Also spilled some coffee and just kept walking. Insanely rebellious behavior, out of control. Somebody make me a sandwich.