Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter and Hero Husband

With no family in town, Ben and I were forced :) to spend an Easter meal with other friends without family. So we, the budding Episcopalians, had a splendid meal with our Lutheran and Catholic friends. We seem to mesh pretty well despite our denominational histories. I was sad to have to return to work on Monday after a luxiourious 3 day weekend (3.5 if you count post-call) and didn't have time to shop for the week's groceries before getting home late Monday evening. Ben to the rescue! Home smelled like tropical heaven with his simmering mango chicken. I felt lucky indeed.
Then, after slaving in the kitchen all afternoon, he had to put on his plumbing hat as his dear wife forgets that the garbage disposal is not a magical place where leftovers disappear - especially when those leftovers are artichokes.
I felt very well taken care of this gloomy post-Easter Monday.

Earliest Spring Kitchen Notes

The ingredients of this stew are not particularly spring-ly but it is nearing the end of cold weather and time to squeeze in one more hearty dish before all the delights of spring vegetables make their way into the farmer's market and our plates. (By the way I dreadfully miss the LR farmer's market; we have no river nearby ours and not a single fiddle player). This dish comes straight out of an Italian cookbook called The Silver Spoon. Both the cookbook and the dish were introduced to us by way of one of Ben's fellow grad students. Her endless bottles of Pellegrino have helped us drink less diet cokes; sparkling water is our "transition drink," sadly. The cookbook was recently translated into English and the directions are sometimes rather vague, but the stew is forgiving and worth the guesswork.
Vodka alla Agnollo (lamb with vodka)

meat stock (I used beef)
1 3/4 lb leg of lamb cut into pieces
12 prunes pitted
2 tbs strained tomatoes
1 onion chopped
1 garlic clove chopped
1 celery heart sliced
bay leaf
1/4 cup vodka
1 cup arborio rice
boil stock. add mutton (lamb) and simmer for 40 minutes. Place prunes in a bowl, add warm water to cover and soak for 30 minutes, then drain. Melt 1 tbs butter in a pot; stir in strained tomatoes, onion, garlic, celery, and a bay leaf. Cook 5 minutes. Pour in vodka, add salt paprika, cook for a few minutes more. Stir constantly. Add hot stock, a little at a time, stir constantly, then add lamb, rice, and prunes. Stir constantly for 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Yum! (my addition). Goes well with yeast rolls.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Ben and I attended our first-ever murder mystery party over the weekend. We were "Cassandra and Cash Steal" and our objective was to avoid revealing "Cash's" true identity at the grand opening of a new "speakeasy club" called "The Four Deuces" without getting whacked. The scene was set in the mid-20s and was complete with flapper dresses and white suspenders. I am REALLY sad that my camera on the fritz but it will have to do until the budget allows otherwise...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Time Away

It was time to get away, to leave behind our little house and our quiet streets with its familiar comings and goings, and most namely, anything to do with Wake Forest. I finished what seemed like endless weeks of every other day call in which I was unable to leave town and Ben has been locked away surrounded by books, breathing in their much-gathered dust. We sought refuge at the sea. I have always had a penchant for cold beaches; perhaps this stemmed from my first experience as a 7 year old exploring a Long Island beach. But most likely it began the summer after my graduation from college where I spent several lone hours contemplating the largeness of life perched on a Welsh cliff huddled in a sweatshirt I bought at a local thrift store, not realizing beforehand that summer in Wales generally means merely a change in the name of a month more than impending sunburns. In any case, I was not impeded by the cool temperatures surrounding the Atlantic; it did not interrupt the quiet peace of my solace.
Ben has been fortunate to endear himself to the lively friendship of his colleagues, and since one of them happens to be renting a house that directly faces aforementioned ocean, this worked well for our place of refuge.
To assume that my need for refuge was associated with work is on the right path; it has been particularly draining of late. I think this is likely a natural rhythm of things that can be related to a myriad of careers. Despite an irregular schedule I felt as though I was meshing with my role and gaining ground as a respected physician but over the past few weeks my patience had, like the last grains of sand in an hourglass, drained to very little.
So we drove to Ocean Isle, near the S.C. border, dumped our belongings into a cottage whose windows afforded a view to the Atlantic and allowed its waves to wash our stresses away. Oh, and we visited a lighthouse. (see top)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Beagle Ballet

Sophie has been taking ballet lessons. These are some of her refined moves. Probably best to void out the sound to ignore my giggling. My apologies for the poor quality-our camera needs a little fixing up.