Day 189: Still going, maybe not strongly, but we’re going

July 8, 2007

Having spent the morning debating where we could safely both avoid the heat and entertain a somewhat tantrum-prone toddler, we settled on the Mall of America.

Did you know?

  • 258 Statues of Liberty could lie inside the Mall
  • If Mount Rushmore was divided into individual monuments, a president could reside in each of the Mall’s four courts
  • Mall of America is big enough to hold 32 Boeing 747s
  • Seven Yankee Stadiums can fit inside Mall of America
  • If a shopper spent 10 minutes browsing at every store, it would take them more than 86 hours to complete their visit to Mall of America

But, more importantly, there is a bookstore with both a cafe and a train set in the play area, meaning that we can caffeinate and read magazines, while the little one hoards trains. It buys us almost an hour of quiet time, and what we spend on coffee, we more than compensate in sun screen savings. This afternoons’ entertainment, meeting with friends for coffee and a trip to the park, was postponed due to a very out-of-sorts child at our end and a ridiculously dramatic thunderstorm. Fortunately it is now 20? cooler, which makes life that bit more pleasant. To celebrate the fact that the house was finally cooling down, we thought it would be a great idea to introduce Baby A to the joys of cooking, so we baked some cookies. She was not so keen on cookie-cutters, being more of an artiste, evidently, so she free-formed her own creations. I made rocket ships, and she made 3D lunar landscapes, it was perfect. And the kitchen got back up to its usual unbearable summer temperatures. Superb.

This evening, we set about making Veal Scallopine with Dijon Sauce, Asparagus, and Avocados,which was certainly quick and easy. The veal is dredged in flour, salt and pepper and fried in a mixture of olive oil and butter for a couple of minutes on each side. Once it is set aside, more butter and some flour are added to the pan and whisked together for a minute before adding the wine and then chicken stock. Thyme, salt, pepper and Dijon mustard are mixed into the gravy, and it is finished with a swirl of cream or half and half. The veal is served on the plate, topped with asparagus tips boiled with some lemon rind, and sliced avocado dressed in lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. The sauce is poured down the center, with some chives sprinkeld on the top for good measure: a very fancy restauranty presentation.

I have to say this meal is good, despite being in the mood for anything but it. Grumpiness plus hormones are making me a treat to be around this evening, no really. (I just had a complete meltdown, in the style of my daughter, because I didn’t want to write an entry tonight. When L started typing, I realised I’d far rather be typing than clearing up after dinner. So here I am again, being placated with copious amounts of ice-cream and tea brought to me by L from our now-clean-again kitchen. Good man.) The overall impression of this dinner is of a very rich and decadent meal; the sauce is strongly flavoured and satisfying, balancing all the elements very well. Generally I don’t like avocado too much, but this was actually remarkably good- the strong sauce meant that the texture of the avocado stood out but the flavour was a masked complimented. The veal and asparagus were both cooked well and the whole lot looked very impressive. However the meat really could have been anything- pork chops or chicken cutlets or steak- so it needn’t cost $4 per person. In terms of impressing, I would agree with L that this would be a good meal to serve friends- it has a good impact for minimum effort. I’m not entirely sure that I would agree with Ms. Ray that the Spring flavours are so sexy that there might be some “serious birds-and-bees action”. Ahem. Yeah right. [See grumpy and hormonal, above.]

Tomorrow I will endeavour not to be so sour-faced about this whole venture, and to try and enjoy Crunchy Japanese Fish with Vegetable and Noodle Toss. As far as I recall, the crunchiness will be coming from Rice Krispies. Tomorrow is also the day of my 6-month pregnancy check-up; I can’t believe how fast time is flying by on one hand, and how slow it is going on the other. We get the keys to our new house (hopefully complete with little dinosaur) in less than three weeks, and I have a major business deadline to meet by the first of August. L and I have a very important meeting on Friday for which we have enormous amounts of preparation work to get done in the meantime, and we need to maybe start thinking about this whole packing thing. Currently we are both so tired that we are perpetually grumpy. We’re a double delight. In the face of so much to do I can only really focus on two questions, both of which are elaborate forms of procrastination; what should baby #2 be called? And what colour should her room be? We tried asking the advice of baby #1: she should be called “ninnie” (A’s own special word for raisins) and the room should be painted purple (when pointing at red). Maybe we could write a cook book and she could contribute the commentary.

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