Something Not So Dreary

Yesterday our daughter came home from college.  It’s not a huge thing as it’s only about 45 minutes (2 hours during rush hour) driving time to get home.  But still, it’s nice seeing her.

I did the stereotypical guy thing yesterday; cook meat on a grill.  Perhaps not so stereotypical, I also made up a fruit salad, a pasta salad and twice baked potatoes.

Our daughter is not a huge meat eater.  She likes a good steak, but like me, she wouldn’t want to eat that every day.  She loves the fruit and pasta salads, but the twice baked potatoes are special.  This morning, I got a text message from her,   “Dad.  I really wouldn’t mind if you made more twice baked potatoes.  I’d come home to get them.”

I have a red 3 ring binder that is full of my favorite recipes that I’ve found, created , heard about, or adapted to my own use.  I’d guess there are 50 pages in the book and they date back to my college days.  The twice baked potatoes recipe is among them.

I will need to make copies for her.

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It’s Done…The Car and Supper

The last part to fix the crash damaged Volvo 960, the (American) passenger side headlight assembly, has not yet arrived.  This part also holds the turn signal lamp in place and without these parts, I didn’t feel it safe to drive the car. I was getting as impatient as our daughter, so last night, after she went to bed, I went out into the garage to see if I could “make something happen”.

I took the two smashed headlight assemblies and three incomplete ones from junkyard finds and made one from the five.  It looks weird and the light beam is aligned at the very limit of the adjustment because I had to use parts from the extra driver side light assemblies, but otherwise it’s fine.  I installed it around 3am and decided to see how long it took our daughter to notice it.

About 8 this morning she took the garbage to big garbage can outside and as she was coming back in, we heard a “Oh wow” and then a “Dad, when did you do this? Can I drive it now?”

When I said yes to the last question, I got to see one of the brighter smiles.  I love seeing my daughter smile.

As soon as the part arrives, I’ll install it.

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And for my next trick, supper tonight was built around a roasted chicken cooked at 375F degrees, basted every 20 minutes with grape juice and turned over every 40 minutes.  When it’s done, the crisp skin is covered in caramelized grape juice sugar and has an amazing taste.  The temperature to do this is kind of fussy. 350F doesn’t seem to work well and 400F burns the sugar, so use an oven thermometer instead of relying on the oven’s dial.

It takes about 90 minutes to cook a 4 pound chicken, which is perfect timing for twice baked potatoes.  I use a toaster oven at 400F degrees for the initial bake and then toast the potato filling instead of a doing a second bake.  The add-ins for the twice baked potatoes are sour cream, buttermilk, butter, chives and cheese (along with the baked potato stuff).  I use about 2 fluid ounces of sour cream, an ounce of buttermilk and a tablespoon of butter per LARGE potato, plus chives, salt, pepper and cheese to taste.  I then put it back into the toaster oven and toast the potatoes on the “dark toast” setting.

All that and a salad too.